Early Connections at Bangkok Patana Lead to a Life in Music
Paul Sirisant, Bangkok Patana Alum 1995-1998
Although Paul was at Bangkok Patana for just a few years, he credits the Music Department for instilling in him a deeper connection to music. That connection kept him active in the music industry despite pursuing degrees in Law – he studied for a Bachelor of Law at Macquarie University in Australia, and at the same time, earned a second degree in Media and Arts. He continued on to obtain a Master’s in International Business Law at the University of Technology Sydney. Now he is the CEO of Universal Music Thailand.
I have always known music is a big part of my DNA.
I started playing guitar and writing music when I was 12 years old at Bangkok Patana and I have been DJing now for 25 years.
Writing music and jamming with friends in the Music Department was one of my earlier connections to music that has stayed with me since. At Bangkok Patana, I felt we could be free to express ourselves, moreover, we were encouraged to go after our dreams. When I was 15 years old, I negotiated a deal with a music venue for us to use during the day (as we were not legally allowed to be there at night). I gathered a few international school bands together and promoted the event which also involved me holding up a large sign on Sukhumvit 24 for many hours! In the end, 10 people turned up. Eight of them were parents of the bands. I was ecstatic !”
“But funny enough, I never pursued an education nor a career in music until much later. I studied film and law through the years in university. I spent over 14 years in multinational companies in innovation, sales and marketing departments. I wholeheartedly loved every job I had, but there was not a moment that I traded my passion for career advancement. I am a big believer that passion and career can co-exist even if they are different. You don’t have to give up your individuality to be successful in business. In fact, the opposite has been true for me.”
“When my career progressed and I was stationed in New York City and Shanghai, I kept on DJing in clubs and events in those cities. This was a way for me to discover new cultures and their histories. It made me more ‘in-tune’ with what was going on and consequently it made me a better marketeer. I approached DJing with pure passion of discovering and sharing music, it was never about the partying side of it. I am and have always been a morning person, in fact, I don’t like to go out unless there is a good show or DJ gig going on.
The years outside the music industry have tremendously groomed me for my current job at Universal MusicThailand; they gave me the foundation to manage a company. When a headhunter approached me, it was a natural move. I became the youngest Managing Director of a multinational music company in this region, but it was as if I had spent my whole life working towards this role without ever realising it. Having said that, I admit there is so much more that I do not know in the music business that is constantly and rapidly evolving. I am lucky to be able to do what I do because of the people and my team around me.
At Universal Music Thailand, we focus on breaking underground musicians and making the underdogs tomorrow’s superstars; finding unknown artists that may change the world. Streaming platforms have broken all borders in music and trends in lifestyle. What’s popular in Bangkok, could be popular in Berlin or Beirut in an instant in the digital world. If the song is good enough, it can travel.
In future, whatever I do and I’m pretty sure music will be at the center of it!