(Photos by Suthivas Tanphaibul)
Pavida “Silvy” Moriggi has made a comeback, reinventing herself and breaking free from the repressive limitations imposed on traditional Thai femininity and pursuing her ambition to redefine women's beauty standards.
The Thai-Italian pop star is already something of a veteran in the Thai entertainment industry. She has contributed her distinctive R&B vocals to numerous official soundtracks, musical stages, as well as appeared on hit reality TV shows, such as The Voice Thailand and The Masked Singer. Guru talks with Silvy, who is signed to Warner Music Asia, about her latest track dubbed XL – as the “New Silvy” and what she wants to share about body positivity and the possibility of inclusivity in the Thai entertainment industry.
What got you into music? Which artist inspired you the most?
Singing is my passion. I was so-called ‘outraged’ compared to all the nerds in my school back then. Singing makes me a standout among them. It gives me great joy to see audiences enjoying my song and even making me look smarter in their eyes. So, I have walked on this path since childhood and I do not doubt any steps taken as an artist. I was influenced by my mother’s playlist when I was a kid. Whether it be Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey, these iconic divas are who I look up to. And now, the artist who inspired me to be my true self, in terms of being weird-yet-talented, is Lady Gaga.
(Photos © Warner Music Thailand)
Who would be your dream artist to collaborate with?
If I could have a chance to collaborate with big-name artists, they would be Lizzo, Bruno Mars and Ashnikko. For the Thai side, I would be thrilled to join Sunaree Ratchasima on stage. We used to be a chorus for the legendary, Thongchai “Bird” McIntyre at his concert. I see Sunaree as my voice-killer partner in crime.
We have seen you in a couple of noted Thai musicals like Miss Saigon and Four Reigns, can you compare your experiences as a performer and singer?
It’s poles apart. Being a musical performer forced me to play-act instead of being my true self, while assuming someone else’s attitude. The way I talk, think and behave reflects on those characters’ personalities that I was assigned. A singer, on the other hand, gives me the freedom to be myself.
What’s something you learned early on in your career that made you a better artist?
Always improve yourself and be open-minded to new things. These are what I put on my self-development checklist. Since I have not achieved my goal or the best version of myself yet, I always remind myself that I can do more and be more if I keep pushing myself forward through various self-improvement activities. I would call myself ‘Jae-Dun’ [Miss Boundary-Pushing], who never stops herself from learning or fighting for opportunities. For example, I started learning video editing for my YouTube channel and for my own understanding when I had to be on a music video shooting set. I am also motivated by my passion for music; I never get tired of improving my singing.
What’s your songwriting process and why do you write in English?
Let’s go back a bit to the beginning. As a kid, I always thought that the way people went on the international stage or having their name on the top chart was easy. But when I grew up, I set aside that dream for a while because I could barely survive in the Thai entertainment industry. But last year fortune smiled on me. One of my dearest friends, Valentina Ploy, introduced me to the international record label in Thailand, Karma Sound Studios. After several talks, I got invited to make my debut single by their name. We decided to pursue my dream for the global stage and wrote our songs in English to create a more comprehensive fan base. The song I wrote is a story of mine, which is about the prejudice and bullying I faced in society. I want to inspire and encourage people who also face those problems through my music.
What message do you deliver through XL?
As I set my position pretty clear about embracing yourself and being who you really are, many people look up to me. I intend to encourage people through this song and my attitude about body positivity. The lyrics are about the insults I faced from this industry and the people around me, like ‘You are too fat’ or ‘Why do you look so manly?’. I also added how I overcame those mean words about my appearance. I want to show people that I don’t give a damn about them. My body is my choice. You should not be discouraged by judgy comments about your appearance either.
What’s your opinion on the repressive view of female beauty in the Thai entertainment industry?
It is not only the entertainment industry that sets its beauty standards too narrow but Thai society, too. For so long, we have been using this so-called standard to judge how good, beautiful and smart people look. White skin tones, long hair, smooth skin and a skinny frame are the checklist for society to characterise a woman’s beauty. Without ticking these boxes, you are too plain or worse, ugly. Nowadays, we are so lucky to have the internet to connect the world. It shows us diversity of people and beauty. I would be happier to see Thai television broadcasting the diversity of beauty, too. It would make everyone’s lives easier without having to look up to become someone else.
As a multi-racial Thai, what change would you bring to Thai entertainment industry?
I want to see plus-sized figures in the mainstream. There should be a diversity of beauty in the limelight. As for the darker-skinned actors and actresses, they shouldn’t be given roles only as bad guys, maids or even clowns for others to ridicule. If they are good at acting, there should be a better role for them. It is like the phrase, ‘Do not judge a book by its cover’, you might miss out on something amazing.
Check out Silvy’s latest track at youtube.com/c/SILVYmusicofficial.Internet Explorer Channel Network