Thank you MyPaper for the wonderful interview write-up!
Who would have imagined me releasing a piano instrumental album?
Not even me. Until Chester Tan broached the idea …and I was hooked. I love to compose songs, but in my windows of creations, not every song comes out a radio-friendly sing-able pop/jazz song. Some songs are meant to be without words.
The Piano Spa series has sold over 70,000 units in Asia, a remarkable feat for a pure instrumental album without vocals and largely, without a face as well. Unknown to most, the composer behind the Piano Spa series is Singapore’s very own Chester Tan. Yes, he is the COMPASS Young Composer of the Year 2011, and also the serial-winner of COMPASS Top Local Contemporary Instrumental awards from 2011 to 2014.
Chester has previously collaborated with other artistes for this series, but I’m proud to say that I’m number 7!! More information here.
It was a challenge, to compose 10 songs at one go (Chester composed the other 20 songs, imagine that!). But after hearing Chester’s arrangement to my piano melodies, it is all worth it. It was our first time collaborating, and it was effortless.
My personal favourites of Chester’s songs: Don’t Say Goodbye (my heart felt torn out when I hear the wistful melody) Moonlight Waves (trust me, it relaxes your body instantly), The Hesitant Road (minor tunes like this one is an art to write). Personal favourites of my songs: The Piccadilly Waltz (a france-inspired tune, with a british name haha), Dusty Road to Beijing (one of my proudest creations), and Hush Hush Birdland (another waltz, because I really love waltz).
This album is good for people with insomnia. Do not listen to it while you are driving. Well, unless you tend to be angry on the road. :p
I am super thrilled about this project – I’m the music producer for this serial drama! It fulfils many of my dreams just by taking this project on – to write songs for TV…. and musical! I shall not let (too much of) the cat out of the bag yet, but yes this project is what has been burning my time for most of this year.
I started conceptualising the songs in March this year… and with the tight-knitted production group, we made sure everyone is happy with the songs (luckily everyone seemed happy!). With 3 more months to go before the drama gets aired on Starhub’s 都会台 (E City) in March, I am….. working myself to the bones.
There are so many innovative ideas for this project…. I can only say that I like to work with crazy and positive people 😀
I also gave singing lessons to the awesome cast! And the children are SOOOOO cute!! (More photos to come in my next post)
Ok photo time before I get back to work!
And will be recording many artistes very soon, can’t wait 🙂
It was an honour to share the joy of local movie distribution company MM2 with its 6th birthday at Shanghai Dolly, the “mm2 and You” party. Happy I signed this board ^_^
Do you know that mm2 Asia is the first local movie producer to seek a listing on the Singapore Exchange? That’s a big WOW! They have distributed (and produced for some) movies, many of which are well-loved by local and regional audiences like, Ah Boyz to Men, Nasi Lemak 2.0, 23:59, Already Famous （一泡而红）, That Girl In PInafore (我的朋友, 我的同学, 我爱过的一切), The Journey （一路有你）, to name just a few.
I was also thrilled to meet Joanne Yew 尤鳳音 the goddess in The Journey 一路有你. Interestingly, the story in the movie reminded me of my own story. My husband is (also) British and my family is…. very traditional (nuff said!). Through my own journey, I realised that parents’ love for children are really unconditional, and with every tug of war with the hearts, everybody grows and mature, and grows closer to each other eventually. It’s a must catch story if you still have not caught it yet (not because it resonates with mine). Not convinced? it’s the highest grossing movie in Malaysia’s history 🙂
Wonder what’s up with mm2 for next year? For a start, they’re producing and releasing 1965. 🙂
Budweiser Made For Music 2014 must have been a great thrill for many singers and bands in Singapore, esp with the solo and band categories this year, more people get to walk away with prizes. It’s interesting to note that soloists can compete with originals or cover songs; each has its own merit, and I’m sure that the judges had a tough time deciding on the winners.
Isn’t it so great that everybody gets to have their photo on the poster!? 🙂
Getting ready to perform!
And finally I took a selfie with the other Khoo, Daphne Khoo! 🙂
The NEA has been organising one of the biggest nationwide songwriting competitions, the Eco Music Challenge, for the past few years. As part of the judging panel for 2014, I was excited to hear the final entries.
And they did not fail, in fact the panel (Jack Ho, Clement Chow, Danny Loong and I) had quite a tough time deciding on the winners!
Congratulations to Michael Kek and Relyne Ban for winning the top prize with their Mandarin original “手牵手” (mentored by Ruth Ling):
The rest of the contestants did a great job with their originals, really. There were pop, slow rock (even reminding me of U2), and funk! The standard was much higher than I expected, and I’m comforted that Singapore is grooming a great talent pool in songwriting. Hooray to all the contestants!
I was psyched to perform at Bangkok with the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra as part of an ASEAN event on 24 Aug 14. You probably won’t believe it… but the last time I went to BKK was…. close to 13 years ago!
It’s no wonder that 13 years after, I feel that BKK has had a facelift. So many shopping malls to trawl through… and the mrt is so clean and wonderful!
To be honest, the rehearsal with the orchestra was a bit nerve-wrecking at first. It wasn’t my first time performing with an orchestra, but it does take some warming up to get in sync with each other, on top of the fact that they were performing my songs for the first time too. I had the pleasure to perform Singapore’s national song ‘HOME’, and my original 《我认识过的人》(The People I’ve Known). Luckily the singers from the other ASEAN countries were SO COOL to hang out with, it took a lot of stress and tension away! L-R: Asmidar (Malaysia), Ladine Roxas (Phillippines), Kong Sothearith (Cambodia)
I’m not sure when the video will be ready, but here’s a cheeky sneak peek 🙂
The saddest saddest thing was, I fell sick once I got off the flight. It was a nightmare swallowing Telfast + Panadol for cold/flu relief + medication from the local doctor. I was practically taking them almost every hour just so my nose would stay dry. I didn’t perform my normal best at the performance for sure, but it was the best I could for the state I was in. But everyone, the conductor, orchestra members and the organisers were so hospitable and nice, and I was again reminded of the Thai people’s warmth and hospitality.
After the performance, I had a day to shop around, had massage, and EAT to my heart’s content. I love this MRT station because it sounds like ‘Ratatouille’:
And this is the best local thai food (side coffeeshop):
Before we left for the airport, we were chatting with Vietnamese instrumentalist who played this wonderful one-string instrument. You’ve got to check it out:
I hope that it doesn’t take me another 13 years to go back to lovely BKK!
#1) “Playlist Comes Alive” – National Day Celebration at Tampines Central Park (01 Aug 14)
I was RAMBLING when he came up to say I sang very well. I really rambled. This was what I said:
Me: “Thank you Minister Heng! I’m so happy to meet you! I’m a fan!!! (??)! Thank you for all your new policies. Because of you I have confidence for my children to study in Spore!’
Heng: “Oh! How many children do you have?”
Me: “…Not yet…”
Heng: “oh ok..”
Me: “No but maybe you don’t understand but it really means a lot to us (??! who?) that you really do what you mean with the new policies and not pay lip service. So thank you!
Heng (visibly happy, shook both his fists slightly): “Thank you!”
I was simply too excited to have met and spoken to my idol. And of course, I was very flattered to lead everyone to sing《家》(Home) , which in my humble opinion is by far the best contemporary national song for Singapore!
#2) National Day Sighting
My family and I were at this air-conditioned zichar place.. We soon noticed that there were 3 tables of foreign workers beside us and we didn’t think much of it at first. 2 tables of Chinese, 1 table of Indians. I had no idea they know one another until towards the end of their dinner, one Chinese took his mug of beer and went over to the table of Indians to give a toast… Soon more toasts and mingling amongst the tables of people followed. I’m not sure if it’s weird but somehow this scene reminded me of our forefathers…. camaraderie occurs regardless of race, language or religion. Then it dawned on me that it’s National Day and they have such a nice boss who give his employees a well-deserved 9-course dinner treat. Thank you to all foreign workers for being a crucial part of our nation-building.
Happy National Day Singapore.
I just came back from the 30-Hour Famine Camp organised by World Vision Singapore. A few hundred children volunteered to participate in this 30-hour programme (14 – 18) where they fast for 30-hours to gain better insight of starving children in developing countries. Honestly, I am someone who cannot take hunger. Once hunger strikes, I become a moody, incoherent, dysfunctional b****. Witnessing these children holding it out to the full 30 hours at the farewell concert really made me feel immense respect and pride for them.
And here are the rest of the performers: Me, Jean Tan, Gareth Fernandez and band, and Nathan Hartono:
I was also looking forward to this concert because Jean and I had known each other 10 years ago, but we lost touch after some time. We were hopelessly catching up until the stage manager had to pull us apart for sound check. Check out her music here!
Did you know that you can adopt a child for only $45/mth? You can even communicate with the child via handwritten letters! I was in tears after listening to a staff – she was a sponsored child, and knowing that someone in another part of the world was watching out for her made her feel so special, and it definitely changed her life around, financially and spiritually. Is $45/mth something within your means (I was told that some friends do share the cost among themselves)? This just might be the meaningful thing you’re next looking out to do.
I honestly thought that I’d be taking a breather this year after《我认识过的人》’The People I’ve Known’ was released last year. I couldn’t be more wrong. Things are stacking up for my record label The Storyteller Waves. I’m happy that we’re telling more and more stories through original songs!
The first thing to come my way was Channel U’s info-documentary “Songs Of Who We Are”, which featured me writing a song out of the experience I had during the shoot . The song 《白日梦的美》was composed in between the gruelling 10-hour shoot (for 7 days!), and I’m so glad that… I survived! (Listen to the single from 40mins 42s here:)
Immediately after, I wrote the theme song for one of Mediacorp’s kids comedy serial drama (to be aired sometime in July), and this time round, I was happy to record Juni Goh (lead singer from Micappella)! He is one high-energy and fun person to be around with!
I was also honoured to produce a song for a good friend of mine, who wanted to have the song as a surprise 10th-year anniversary gift for her husband. Now, this song was actually composed by the husband for her in the days of courtship… but she turned the table around by recording her vocals as a gift to him. That to me is sooooooooo sweet! (Guess what, we even managed a conspiracy to have the husband record guitars for the song without him suspecting anything. LOL)
Crossing the production time path was another single which will be released very soon by Wenzhou-born indie singe-songwriter Eve Su. The meaningful song (in collaboration with her super adorable 4-year-old brother) really warms my heart. Watch out for its upcoming release!
(Mixing Eve’s single at YellowBox with maestro Frank Lee, and I love this tag ‘Imagine’ on the wall!)
I have a super HUGE music project coming up for the second half of the year, and I wonder if my jaw would break from trying to devour the delicacy! We shall see. I am so excited and vibrating in good energy. 🙂
Yes I was from Hwa Chong JC. It was a brief 2 year for me but I learnt many things non-academic. For a start, I joined PA/AVA wanting to learn more about things behind the stage (or on-stage, before the show). Ironically, PA/AVA was also the one who organised the annual Talentime. As a member of the club, I couldn’t participate, and I was…. so disappointed!!! -_-
Coming back to Hwa Chong as a singer hence was a full-circle thing for me. I was joined by veterans in the Xinyao music circuit, and also Lorraine Tan (we were in the same JC class!), and The Freshmen.
(Eric Moo and I during sound check)
(With veteran singer Pan Ying & Intune Music founder Chi Sheng)
(With senior programming director Peng Huishi & MP Baey Yam Keng)
(The crowd as so high that night!)
(…and so were we!)
And I also got in touch with a chemistry teacher who was the discipline mistress during my years – Mrs Lee (known as ‘Tiger Lee’ back in the days). I was a super obedient student, so she didn’t have any reason to ‘catch’ me. But I’ll always remember how stunned I was to know that she was really a very warm, motherly and kind teacher in class. Sometimes we really can’t judge a person by his/her cover; or in this case, the title. 🙂
(Below: with Diya & Mrs Lee)
I knew the author Brenda way back… gosh it’s probably about 15 years! In Feb this year, she gave a book she published, titled “Come Into My World” as my birthday gift. I knew that she had published this book a while ago but I didn’t have time to check it out. Receiving this book gave me a potpourri of feelings – ashamed, that I didn’t check it out earlier; and honoured, to have the chance to have a glimpse into not only her world, but 30 others, on autism.
I have to admit that despite being a psychology graduate, i find every single story fascinating, frustrating, touching and…special. I think that any textbook would not be able to match the level of emotions felt by the families, the details and the spectrum of symptoms possibly displayed, and most importantly, the unconditional love and hopes of the parents.
You’ll be drawn into Brenda’s personal experiences with her autistic son, and 30 other bite-size stories (including MP Denise Phua’s) that also provide deep insight into the various methods adopted by the families. Personally, it blew my mind to read experiences written by autistic people themselves. The book provided them with a voice that is rarely heard, read or known, and I think that the book fulfilled its utmost mission by that alone.
Brenda asked if I knew of anyone autistic when she passed the book to me. I only knew of a friend whose son has recently been diagnosed. But i went home and realised that I may know of someone in my primary school days. He was the ‘oddball’ in the class, as indeed, he acted weirdly and spoke incoherently most of the times, and was at times even violent to the teachers when he was scolded. I didn’t understand what was going on with him at all. But I did feel sorry for him that the boys around him teased him endlessly. I vividly remember the day we were supposed to have the BCG injection – he was so frightened of having the jab (probably fed scary lies by the boys) that he had a ‘meltdown’ and had to be removed from the class (‘meltdown’ – a term i learnt from the book). For years, I could not understand why he was behaving the way he did; the teachers did not explain anything, everybody was clueless. In fact, he resurfaced in my mind only when I was reading the book; it was almost like a loud ‘click’ went off in my mind. After graduation and even till today, I still think about how he’s doing, and with this new-found ‘answer’, I have high hopes that he is doing really well 🙂
If you know of anyone whose child has been diagnosed, please do share the book with them. It will definitely be a great mobile ‘support group’ and allow better and faster understanding of autism. Buy or order the book here!
This has got to be one of the really memorable things I’ve done in my life. I was given the opportunity to experience jobs/passions which I normally would not get the chance to experience… the filming was extremely tiring with 10-hour shoot a day for 7 days and because I had to write a song (for the experience) in between filming, I got to sleep only 4-5 hours per day -_-. But hearing the life stories of the coffee-shop boss, the fish market boss, and the car mechanic boss blew me away (You have to watch it to understand what I’m saying!).
There were many things that were not included in the final cut, but the one tip I really cherish was the one given to me by the coffee-shop boss David –> “不忘初心” , which means to never forget the passion and ideals you had at the beginning of the journey. Many people were passionate when they chase after their dreams; but after some time when they’ve made achievements or even conquered their dreams, they became bored and dissatisfied and forgot why they worked so hard for all these when they first started.
The other really interesting experience I had was with Stephanie and her friends who are Cosplay fanatics!
The team even shot an MV for my new single “DayDream” 《白日梦的美》(which was aired at the end of the episode)!
And I met the 2 national sports representative Anne & Yilin!
Catch the episode here:
What a concert!
I’m really not into concerts which feature the artistes showcasing different outfits, or … the troops of dancers making the musical thumps visually more enhancing (I love dances, but I love concerts for the music itself). Eric Clapton was totally engrossed in his music, in fact, he only said “Good evening” and maybe 8 times of “Thank You” throughout the 100min concert. He didn’t have to say more than that, he let the music do the talking and connecting. That kept the audience wanting more, like a child deprived of sweets and raving for some, and more. Loved his entourage – Chris Stainton on keys, Paul Carrack on rhodes (who was also on vocals for some songs), Nathan East on bass, Steve Gadd on drums.
My favourite song for the evening: Nobody knows you when you’re out and down