What made you decide to pursue emcee-ing as a professional career?
I was talent-spotted for a hosting competition during the Freshmen camps at Singapore Management University because I was loud and shameless [laughs]. I had no prior experience, but thanks to the support of my friends, I decided to take a leap of faith with the competition and have never looked back since. I remember being so nervous for my first public show, but I really relish the adrenalin rush. I started hosting school events and slowly built my portfolio by expanding to external events, and after two years of freelancing I decided to launch my website (www.theroycelee.com) and Facebook Business Page (Theroycelee) to go full-force as a professional emcee. This is my 6th year in the industry and I’m thankful for all the opportunities thus far.
How do you keep an audience entertained?
There are no hard and fast rules. I’d say experience matters because you need to read your crowd well. A veteran would know the nuances in handling a formal, business setting versus a fun, celebratory party; for the former, you maintain a sense of poise and grandeur while injecting some life to grab their attention throughout the event, and for the latter, you pace the audience and slowly build up the party like a good story before ending it with a bang. In between all that, you have to showcase your personality to make the event memorable because that’s what’s going to get you hired again. So there’s actually a lot to consider!
What are some memorable experiences you’ve encountered as an emcee?
The greatest satisfaction as an emcee are the smiles on my audience’s faces at the end of an event. Even if just one person comes up to me to say “job well done”, I’d be the happiest person in the world because I’d know I delivered. One memorable experience has to be hosting the 28th SEA Games Floorball Women event. It was down to the final penalty shootout between Team Singapore and Team Thailand, and when Team Singapore took home the win the whole hall was roaring with pride. The privilege of announcing the winner of the match coupled with the dynamic energy of the crowd — that’s something I will never forget.
What advice would you give to someone who has a fear of public speaking?
Practise! If you have a fear of public speaking, you can begin by practising at home, in front of a mirror or camera. Get used to being viewed by a live audience. Once you’re comfortable with the mindset that it’s okay to be seen in public, it will help overcome your fear. Start with a small group — get your friends to be your mock audience — and work up to bigger groups. Slowly but surely, you’ll find yourself being able to present in front of the public with greater ease.
What sets you apart from other emcees in Singapore?
My greatest asset is my vivacious and real personality. I’m not afraid to be myself and I believe you should always be true to who you are; my motto is “You can never be too chocolatey”, because of my love for my own brand of chocolate [laughs]. People often get caught up in who they’re trying to be, but what I simply want is to be the best version of myself. Clients often tell me that my brand of wit and humour is why they keep coming back to me, which I’m grateful for. Of course, professionalism is key. And a never-say-die attitude is one of the best qualities anyone can have. Rejection will always be part and parcel of the industry, but it’s how you use each opportunity as a motivational tool to better yourself as a host and, more importantly, as an individual.