Siu Lui Shirley Choi

It might feel like it is too much to handle, but if we give up too easily, we can never accomplish anything. So keep trying and be open minded.


When it comes to creativity and versatility it is tough to beat Siu Lui Shirley Choi 蔡筱蕊, CEO and Founder of The Happy Diamond Music Studio. This creative dynamo is an author of children books, a writer for several international publications, she has a music column and is an award-winning songwriter, and musician.

Began playing piano at age 4, she received a piano diploma from the Royal School of Music in England. While still in school, she was entered into many piano competitions and won several awards as a musician. Siu Lui Shirley 蔡筱蕊 attended college at the University of San Diego and earned two degrees in business and classical music. She also studied music production and film scoring at UCLA through its extension program.

Siu Lui Shirley Choi 蔡筱蕊 launched The Happy diamond music studio in 2005. She is a very positive person. She wanted to provide a tool and resource for parents and teachers to have fun teaching values that promote fundamental concepts of faith, love, friendship, and courage.

The Happy Diamond Music Studio has created seven apps for children. The year 2017 was a monumental year for the company upon its release of Miniwalla The Forest Story. Miniwalla was recognized all over the world for its excellence. The Educational App Store in the United Kingdom gave the app a top five star apps rating. Miniwalla The forest Story also became one of the top five finalists for Best App Store Listing at the App Growth Award in Germany. Last month, Shirley released her latest app “Gulangyu The Musical Rescue” – free download on iOS and Android.

Where did the idea for your company come from?

I am a very positive person. Being happy is kind of my way of life. I want to send joyful messages to children. Diamond is the hardest element on earth. I want to send positive vibes to young children and people in general. I combined both ideas to create the name of The Happy Diamond Music Studio – be happy and be tough and resilient at the same time

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I wake up about six in the morning. I read the news. I have breakfast with my husband. I go to do my daily yoga glass. When I get home I start practicing piano or I begin to compose music. I may start writing scripts or articles for my music columns. That is my typical day.

How do you bring ideas to life?

It is a difficult question to answer. For example, if I have one hundred demos (some random tunes I recorded ) on my phone, I would probably use 3-5 of them. I will import my tunes from my phone into my computer and start composing them by adding layers, chords, drum loops and effects. If I were to write a script, it is a collection of my notes and research over days or weeks or months.

What’s one trend that excites you?

One trend that excites me is that anyone who has a niche or special talent can market yourself online. We would never have had a chance to market ourselves or publish original music and books if it were not for the internet. The internet allows us to upload our work and ideas and bring it to the world

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I am extremely disciplined as a musician. I trained as a classical musician so that was a critical part of my training. As a classical musician, you are trained to go for perfection. It might take me a thousand times to play eight bars in order to make it to perfection and I would do it just because I want my performance to be perfect. As a young child, I have had that discipline to have that kind of training.

What advice would you give your younger self?

The advice that I would give the younger Siu Lui Shirley Choi 蔡筱蕊 would be to stay open minded. I was a very strong headed child. I was not as chill as I am now. I think being open-minded is extremely important. Also, I would tell myself not to take things too personally. We can’t please all of the people all of the time. I use to be very sensitive as a child. Our emotions should not be determined by other people.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Many people believe that cultural differences no longer exist. I believe that cultural differences still exist. Globalization says all cultures are gone. We are Chinese, we are very positive thinking, hard working but can be loud at times. My husband is from Europe and they have a different way of looking at things from table manner to politics. I think we should appreciate our cultural differences and not to criticize people for being different.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Don’t give up! I am much older now. During the journey, it is so much easier for people to give up if thing gets too tough and challenging. It might feel like it is too much to handle, but if we give up too easily, we can never accomplish anything. So keep trying and be open minded. There are many composers who refuse to learn about technology. I got my music degree many years ago. But it was classical training where technology was not a very major issue. I went back to school to learn about music technology few years ago because I realised how technology can help me making my music more complete . I want to make my production more advanced. My peers tell me that as a composer, people should come to me and appreciate my work. I think that they are very silly. We need to continue to evolve with time and be proactive in bringing our work to the world and not the other way around.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

I want to find a strategic partner. I want to continue doing what I do best – to spend my time on writing stories and composing music. The marketing side and fundraising part are really not something I want to be doing all the time. I think I have to find an equity and marketing partner to do that part of the business so that I can put my efforts on what I do best. I recently signed a distribution agreement with a subsidiary of a multi-billion dollar gaming company in China. That is very exciting for me. I am looking forward to building a good relationship with them too.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I have made many mistakes, though the lack of knowledge of marketing. It was like throwing darts. I wasted a lot of resources hiring the wrong people. With the first app, I had no idea what to do or how I should price the app. I didn’t know how to allocate resources but I learned. I was able to stay under budget for the next app.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I think if people can create good unique content with a reasonable budget it would be a very lucrative business. Among my peers, many of them write music for somebody else. You just work under contract so you don’t have any rights to it. But the key is how to own the content. This is also why Netflix is creating more and more in house original content. Owning the content is a key to success in the world of streaming.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I spent a hundred dollars on my facebook advertisement. I get the best (ROI) return of investment with facebook. It is the best money well spent. It was on a focus group.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

As a composer, I use Apple logic which is a software for creating music. It is a very important software for me. I use it on a daily basis.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

I would tell everyone to read my ebooks. They are all about conservation. They are all factual and entertaining with catchy tunes.

What is your favorite quote?

“To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, and be nothing” by Elbert Hubbard

Key Learnings:

● Our emotions should not be determined by other people.
● Being open minded is extremely important.
● We need to continue to evolve with time.