Friday, January 29, 2010

Ticket sales have been slow for my Introduction to Songwriting talk scheduled for next Saturday, 6th February at the Esplanade Rehearsal Studio. I have been trying to figure out why. Not enough promotion? Not enough interest in songwriting? Or people hate my guts, pure and simple?


No, seriously, I don't think its the last thing I mentioned. I guess folks are busy especially on the weekend and may have other plans. Still, with my involvement in the local music scene (and certain profile), I was hoping that the response would be a little better.

Am I discouraged? Not really, I try not to analyse these things too deeply as I'm prepared to give my talk to one person if needs be. I'm still going to do the best damn talk as I possibly can. Main thing is to keep it fun and interesting for two hours! It's going to be a casual session - will be playing recorded and live music, so hopefully its not going to be dry or boring to anybody.

In any case, tickets are still available at SISTIC, so grab yours ($15) and I'll see you all there.

... and there's more ...

Monday, January 25, 2010

Here's an event all aspiring singer-songwriters should consider attending. The event is called "Chillax on the Green" and is organized by Musical Theatre Limited.

I will be performing two songs - haven't decided what yet - and the other guest performer is Jack & Rai, you can be assured will be a blast! So I hope to see you there...

... and there's more ...

Friday, January 22, 2010

New challenges. Gotta love 'em. I'd been tasked by NAC to programme the Noise Mini-Showcase over last Friday (22nd Jan) & today (23rd Jan) and I found it to be a enjoyable and fulfilling experience.

Maybe because I love dealing with young talented singer-songwriters. The event was conducted with relatively few hiccups. I was particurly proud of my mentees Narisa and Celina for putting up impressive performances.

Narisa assembled a group to present her songs and I enjoyed the country-folk vibe of her piano ballads The Necklace and I'd Rather Be. The inspirational Fight was also trotted out though regretably not sung by Narisa. I must confess there were technical flaws here and there in the performances but overall it came together nicely enough. Still work to be done though...

Celina, backed by Edwin on guitar, demonstrated her range in emotional intensity as well as vocal ability. Managing to move from heartfelt plea in Alcohol to the angsty Cinderella in the space of two songs displayed uncommon versatility in terms of songwriting and performance. Still a little jittery in the performance and more control in dynamics is required but Celina's potential is exciting to behold.

Over the course of the two days, I was most impressed by Julian Kwok who wowed the audience with his brilliant guitar work and highly distinctive songs. Showing a fret dexterity and deft songwriting skills that belied his relative status in the local music scene, Julian quite frankly was heads and shoulders above everyone else. Despite some technical problems with equipment, Julian managed to rise above the limitations and deliver an intriguing performance. Certainly a singer-songwriter to keep a close eye (and ear) on.

I'd like to thank all the singer-songwriters who performed at the Noise Mini-Showcase viz. Rebecca, Deborah, Jeremy, Zahidah, Julian, Narisa, Seyra, Crystal, Cindy, Celina and For This Cycle. I appreciate your sharing your music with us.

The selection has been made for the Noise Showcase to be held in early March. Stay tuned for more details.

... and there's more ...

Monday, January 18, 2010

About 16 years ago, Odyssey Records released Watchmen's Love EP in early February 1994, to exploit the popularity of My One and Only and also to 'celebrate' Valentine's Day. Anyhow, Rachael and I will be performing on February 18th as part of Esplanade's Valentine's Day 2010 celebrations. Actually the brief is that they want performers to be "real life couples". Hilarious!

Not sure how it applies in the case of Rach and yours truly...

Stay tuned for more details as they come in.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

An eventful week has passed since that last day. I did what I could to assist Celina and Narisa as they put the finishing touches to their respective tracks for the Noise CD. Overall, I must say that all things considered the results are promising.

Celina's "Cinderella" is a modern rocker that should appeal to fans of 90s alternative rock. It's got a bit of everything and Celina really threw herself into the emotive vocals, breathing life into her angsty lyrics.

Narisa's "Valentine's Day" is an intriguing lookback to 70s/80s pop-rock, with obvious nods to the Electric Light Orchestra. It is blessed with a catchy hook and clocks in at 2:32 for good measure.

I am extremely proud of both of them and they more than held their own despite my not being able to spend as much time as I would have liked with them in the last 10 weeks due to my work situation. It was fortunate that we pre-planned the song arrangements beforehand because I believe it truly paid off.

Credit also to Adrian of Backbeat Studios for his expertise, know how and amiable personality in bringing the girls through the experience as well. Always a pleasure to work with him!

Stay tuned for more of Celina and Narisa in the weeks to come...

... still there's more ...

Monday, January 11, 2010

I hate American Idol with a passion. Should I be bothered? What bugs me most is the marginalization of creative talent. Judges with dubious qualifications pontificate on singing and performing, reducing the music industry to a face, a look and a voice. What about artistry? Not important, of course.

Unfortunately, the Idol syndrome permeates throughout our own music industry here in Singapore. Thus, everything related to music somehow becomes a competition with judges and voting systems. Competition? How can you pit one song against another in competition? What is the criterion?


What you then get is a popularity contest, which is often determined by "popularity", not in the real sense of the word but how well you can muster your troops in ringing in the votes. All very self-serving and absolutely nothing about talent.


Saturday, January 09, 2010

I have resolved to write and record as many new songs as possible. So I came upon this songwriting competition for the Youth Olympic Games, to be held in Singapore this year. I was struck how as usual that rather than assigning such an important task to the many fine songwriters we have, it's a "free for all" contest with judges and a voting system (curse you, American Idol) - the complete dumbing down of our noble artform, if you ask me.

Of course, that meant that I had a submit a song (which I lose all rights to, if selected) and I did. It's called Game and its filled with tongue-in-cheek lyrics about how its not about fortune or fame or even riches or gain but "playing the game". Yeah, right...

All quite a lark really but let's see how it does. If you wanna listen, you can do so here and vote accordingly, if so inclined.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

This is the TV series in which I make my "acting" debut which I found challenging, to put it mildly. When I mentioned it to Ric, he remarked - "I didn't know you wanted to act?" Well, actually, I don't - I rather be involved in putting the music together. Anytime.

Anyways, the Band begins this Wednesday, 6th January at 8pm on okto. Tune in to watch the misadventures of Wei Wen, Joakim and Lucas (who are the Band) and Glory (their manager).

What does a new year bring? For me, I end a season of my life on 8 Jan - my last day of present employment. The future seems uncertain and undetermined. I only have the words of Jesus to comfort and assure me.

"If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met." Matt 6:30-33 The Message

Would appreciate your prayers and good thoughts for me in the days ahead. Exciting times indeed.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Thank God for Garageband! It's so easy to lay down musical ideas for future development. Take the new song "So In Love", something I actually composed on Garageband, laid out the backing tracks - motown drum loop, electric piano, jazz organ, bass - last night and wrote the lyrics this morning AND recorded the three vocal tracks this evening.

Anyways, it's uploaded to MySpace so please listen in and let me have your comments.

... still there's more ...

Friday, January 01, 2010

2009 is over but I will treasure the memories of these great collaborations...hope you enjoyed them too.

With the magnificient Jack & Rai

The fabulous Recidivists

With Chris Collingwood (& of course Desmond, Eugene & Alex)

The Groovy People (James, Brian, Esther, HQ & Thomas)

With the one & only Rachael Teo

With the great Jon Chan (and Jon Hemsley and Iain Tham)

... still there's more...

Have a great 2010!!!!