Me N Ma Girls on their way to LA

By Nuam Bawi
Volume 32, No. 635
July 16 - 22, 2012

Stop the press! Me N Ma Girls (left to right: Cha Cha, Ahmoon, Wai Hnin, Htike Htike and Kimmy) are travelling to Los Angeles next month in search of global success.
Pic: Kaung Htet

LOCAL girl band Me N Ma Girls will take their first serious steps in their quest for international success when they travel to the United States next month to start an 18-month contract to work with a Los Angeles-based record production company.

The group signed the production contract with Power Music in Los Angeles, whose chairman and CEO Mr Daniel Hubbert has amassed two decades of experience doing promotion and marketing work for major US labels such as Columbia Records, Hollywood records, Epic Records and Capitol Records.

According to the contract, Power Music will take care of all aspects of preparing the band for international success, including writing and recording songs, providing dance training, booking concerts and promotion.

The five band members — Htike Htike, Ahmoon, Cha Cha, Kimmy and Wai Hnin — will travel back and forth between Yangon and Los Angeles during the contract period.

Me N Ma Girls released their first album, Year of the Tiger, in Myanmar in 2010 under the name Tiger Girls.

Following disagreements with their original producer, the band changed their name to Me N Ma Girls and self-produced their second album, Mingalaba, which was released at the end of last year.

Ahmoon said the band was “extremely happy” with the contract.

“We got this chance through our second album, which we produced on our own using money we earned from our own concerts. We didn’t have a producer like some other singers,” she said.

Ahmoon said Me N Ma Girls, with their combination of Western-style electro-pop and distinctive fashion sense, have something unique to offer fans around the world.

“We follow neither South Korean nor Western fashion styles. I feel like we are very different from the style of bands like Pussy Cat Dolls, Girls Generation or 2 NE 1. Our fashion is independent,” she said.

She added that she was confident that the band had the talent to present themselves to international audiences.

“We all have different talents that we have combined to create Me N Ma Girls, and I think that when we work as a group we have something special to offer our audience. If I was doing this alone I wouldn’t have the same confidence, but as a group I’m convinced we can do well,” she said.

Ahmoon said that although the band felt very excited and energised about their contract, they also knew they would have to take greater responsibility for their success, and they were prepared for the possibility of failure.

“We are already satisfied that we have been invited to have this chance, even if we don’t find complete success. But we have the opportunity to work on what we are interesting in, and we can observe how they work in the music industry at the global level,” she said.

“The only regret we might have if we don’t succeed is that we might feel that the opportunity should have been given to someone else who is more talented than us.”

Mr Hubbert told The Myanmar Times in an email interview that he believed Me N Ma Girls were a “unique creation”. He said he had first heard about the band from a friend whose brother had worked in Myanmar.

“I really like their story. In the West now there are a lot of manufactured talents, sons and daughters of wealthy people who are writing and performing just to acquire fame,” he said.

“Music has always been best when it is created from poverty, strife and suffering. I believe the best is yet to come from these girls when they start tapping deeper into their plight and its stark contrast to the lifestyles of the West,” he said.

Mr Hubbert said he has been working in the music industry since 1992. His company, Power Music, produces dance music, fitness music and original background music for film and television, as well as various DVD projects.

“Me N Ma Girls will be the first signed group to Power Music and we are all very excited in welcoming them to the family,” he said.

He added that the band will face a music scene in the US that has seen big changes in recent years.

“The market is very fragmented. Kids are finding new music in so many different places: YouTube, video games, friend shares on Facebook, radio, TV commercials, it goes on and on. If we are successful and have a hit song, we will find our way and the fans will find us,” he said.

Mr Hubbert said Me N Ma Girls will also have to work hard to avoid the many pitfalls facing bands as they strive for international success.

“The biggest issue is always filtering out all of the noise and opinions that come flooding in once you have success. There are many people who will want to jump on board the train once it starts to roll and sometimes these people prey upon young artists’ insecurities in an effort to ‘get close’ and end up inflicting damage and in some cases breaking up groups,” he said.

“If the girls can maintain their roots and stay connected in a small tight inner circle, they’ll be fine. The first year is always the hardest when it comes to this type of pitfall,” he said.