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Lyla HZN turns 2!

2015 May 19
by Eric Ng

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On the May 10 it was not just the day of the Love from the Stars Charity show, it was also Lyla’s second Bday!

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We had a quick lunch party as I had to rush to the Resorts World for soundcheck, but it was stilll a nice small super fun gathering of family and friends.

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Lyla sure is a lucky girl with loving brothers and sisters and some famous fans =D. A big thank you to our families and friends for helping us out and Sora + Ah Kan for the pics!

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and some overgrown kid friends! =D

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Here’s more pics from the party!

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Lyla’s homemade delicious birthday cake!

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#Superfuntimes!

And of course, what’s a 2nd birthday without cool pressies! To Lyla, even the boxes are fun!=D

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hmm, is this a bath robe or is this a blanket, or is it just a flattened bear? =D

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My fav pig!

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Oh ho ho…I’m gonna have so much fun with this!

Love from the Stars 真心英雄献爱心

2015 May 19
by Eric Ng

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Photo courtesy of Singapore Power

Love from the Stars 真心英雄献爱心 is a fund raising Charity Gala Dinner concert for three areas of need, care for the elderly, support for children with cancer and scholarship for tertiary students from low- income households.

The one night only event was presented by Singapore Power and many other generous sponsors. Being private by invite only, I must say the passionate organising committee of Chee Meng, Pauline, Simon and gang did a great job of making the event such a resounding success. It really takes much hard work, blood, sweat and tears to bring so many kind hearted people together for a noble cause. Of course, the three big brothers, Jackie Chan, Jonathan Lee and Wakin Chau who rarely perform together, was a very special star pulling factor to make the evening such a meaningful and entertaining one.

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For the rehearsal of the concert, I had the honour and pleasure of inviting the 3 big brothers and our Wakin band over to Leo Studio to have some fun!

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During the sound check, I shared with the committee that they had done something great as having both performed and attended events in the Resorts World Compass ballroom before, I’ve never seen it being packed with so many tables!

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Pre show backstage madness!

Guests started pouring in, dressed up to the nines with beautiful hearts. Guest of Honour President Tony Tan made his appearance and delighted Wakin much by giving him a thumbs up during his performance.

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Photo courtesy of Singapore Power

And so the show began! I had the honour of being guitarist of the backing band for these band of brothers.
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The show was electric as the chemistry of the 3 artists really shone through, with much jokes, laughs and bantering. From my side of the stage, I could see many happy faces totally engaged, singing along and lapping it all up.

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And of course there was surprise special guest Eric Tseng. He not only brought lots of laughter but also went around the tables with a huge fund raising box where I saw much generous donations being made as we were performing.

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Photo courtesy of Singapore Power

Of course, my highlight of the evening is when the 3 big brothers ’sabo’ed Eric to sing a verse of their hit song 真心英雄 =D

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Photo courtesy of Singapore Power

All in all, the special night was a fun filled heart warming success, with 6.3 million dollars of funds raised! Kudos to the team!

As a Singaporean, I felt proud to see so many people coming together for a good cause and am thankful to be part of this meaningful event!

Wakin《今天唱什麼》- Shanghai!

2015 May 15
by Eric Ng

Ahhh Shanghai, this will be the 6th time I’ve been to Shanghai in 2015. As we played 2 shows in Shanghai, we had a few days off so this trip has been quite a relaxed one!

The show was at the Mercedes Benz Arena in Shanghai, what a beautiful venue!

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In between chilling…

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We even managed to check out a great live band venue called the 288 Live house opened by a top indie band in Shanghai. The band sounded great and the house sound system kicked ass!

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All in all, playing shows in Shanghai is always a treat!

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Wakin 《今天唱什麼》2015 China Tour. 1st stop, Beijing!

2015 April 30
by Eric Ng

And so it begins! Wakin’s kick starts his《今天唱什麼》tour in China beginning with Beijing! And what a great sold out kick ass show it was!

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Many friends have asked me before, what is it like playing to thousands of people? (In this case, it was a sold out 40 000 strong crowd) Do you get freaked out?

Hmm, I never really had the time to get the nerves, most of the time I am having a blast watching the happy faces on the fans meeting their idol. And not being the center of attraction takes most of the pressure of me too.

However, Wakin always being one to gladly share the limelight with his mates, always makes sure whoever is having his instrumental solo moment has the spotlight all on him. And that include me when I get to whip out my 12 string guitar and play it like a Gu Qin madness =D

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But even then I’m too busy getting into it with the band to be thinking too much about anything else. And once again, I managed to get the 30 over songs drilled into my head so I need not stare at the scores and get to look at the crowd lapping it up.

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You really need to have something in you that commands the response of 40 000 people screaming your song back at you. And I’m certain it’s not just about luck. Wakin works harder than most singers I’ve met however it’s also evident that he enjoys his work and I think that’s such a luxury in any career.

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And so we move on!!! Next stop, Shanghai!

Record Store Day 2015

2015 April 19
by Eric Ng

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18 April 2015 was Record Store Day! RSD is an annual event that promotes independent record stores. Participating record stores across the world sell a limited supply of records released just for the day.

Local record store Vinylicious at Parklane was the host to RSD in Singapore, so I headed there at 115pm (they open at 1pm) only to find a queue already forming as the shop was too packed!

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And so I waited.

When I got in, it was endearing to see so many people in a music retail shop in SINGAPORE. Unfortunately, the record that I was there for, which was the Foo Fighter’s limited RSD release, was already nabbed. However I managed to grab this limited RSD version of an album that I grew up with .

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This was the 1st punk rock album in which I heard the F@#$ word on a record. Released in 1977, it made a strong impact on popular culture during that time, and of course it was banned in Singapore. I remember buying some copied pirated casette version of it with a photo copied cover during my school days and listening to it secretly in awe.

Now of coz you can easily get on the web and watch MVs of half naked people swearing their ass off. But back then it was a big deal. And also just like many many other musicians all over the world, I suddenly realised, you didn’t really need to know too many chords or play guitar super fast to be able to express yourself and make a statement.

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Ahhh, as for these 2 singles, I don’t think I need to do too much introduction on these songs or the band in question as no matter whichever next big thing or genre comes along, their songs can still be heard in live cover band venues all over the world. My musical upbringing and guitar sensibility owes too much to this band and their albums that I was too happy to grab these singles!

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Aerosmith is a truly amazing band that has been able to keep themselves relavant over the years and is still considered cool at their age. I finally got to watch them live 2 years ago at Gardens by the bay and their stage energy was ridiculously high to put many young upstarts to shame.

So there you go, my 1st Record Store Day visit, will definitely not be my last! Looking forward to RSD 2016!

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Life & smiles of Lyla Ng!

2015 April 15
by Eric Ng

With smiles like that since she was born. It’s hard to be unhappy no matter what each day brings! =D Enjooyyyy…

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Is it easy to learn the guitar?

2015 April 9
by Eric Ng

I’ve been asked this question frequently, and I’d say to pick it up and start strumming a 4 chord song is really not that difficult as long as you take some time to practice it. I started playing guitar when I was 17 and that’s considered quite late to pick up an instrument however as I had not much friends then and not much of a social life, I had a lot of time to practice and play around it and started to do gigs within a year of mucking around.

That being said, to start pick up an instrument is easy, to master it, is another monster all together. Though I rely on guitar playing to make a living now. I still cherish the times where I can spend time just fooling around with it, playing stuff just for fun. And as I decided to reward myself during my birthday last year, I bought quite a few of my dream guitars and that has inspired me to actually start practicing guitar all over again. That’s something I haven’t been doing for many years =D

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So I shall leave a few tips here for those who are thinking of picking up the guitar.

1. Find a good reason

Find yourself a good enough reason on why you want to learn the guitar. Typical reasons include impressing girls/guys, fitting in, realising your rock star dreams, impressing your friends or just a genuine love of music. No matter what the reason is, you have to feel strongly about it, otherwise I’d say don’t bother. You’ll be one of those who waste money on the instrument and leave it as furniture.

2. The instrument

Once you have a strong urge to want to pick up the instrument. Get one that doesn’t hurt you. Many tend to think that the guitar is meant to torture your fingers when you first start. True, you will have to build up calluses on your fingers for the notes to sound clearly on your fretboard, that takes a few months, however it’s not supposed to hurt that bad till you get turned off and don’t even enjoy it. When I first started playing the guitar, I started on an electric guitar. As electric guitar strings are softer and easier to press, I spent a lot of time playing around and enjoyed myself while discovering the instrument. Further on, about a year later, I decided to get myself an acoustic guitar and I got myself a crappy one. It hurt so much that I got turned off by it, it was only much later when I got myself a decent acoustic guitar that’s comfortable to hold and press that I started playing much more of it.

Nowadays there are a lot of choices for guitars out there that don’t neccessarily cost a lot to sound good and more importantly, are comfortable to play.

3. Open your ears and eyes

Listen to everything, and try to use your ears to disect them apart. I know with Youtube nowadays, it’s easy to just type “how to play XXXXX” and there’ll be 10000 people out there trying to teach you. That’s great, however being able to learn by ear improves your hearing, which will be essential when you start forming a band or group.

4. Listen out of your comfort zone

Some people like to rock, some prefer r&b, some just like to listen to tragic love songs. As a guitar player, I’d say all these different genres and styles have their own strengths to draw from to apply to guitar playing. So I’d listen to r&b to draw their grooves, the tragic love songs for the sense of melody and rock to make fun noise. And it doesn’t mean I’m only just listening to the guitar parts of those genres to draw their strengths into the guitar, you can try pick out the piano, drums or bass parts and apply them on guitar. That itself creates a different dimension and the sounds you make.

5. Learn another instrument

To further elaborate on that last point where you can pick out grooves or melodies from other instruments to guitar playing. Learning and understanding another instrument will instantly allow you to do that. I started my musical discovery by picking up the guitar, drums, bass and keyboard at the same time. I found that playing piano in a guitar way, or vice versa allows you to create different textures and grooves to make your playing more interesting to maintain your passion for the instrument. And I find understanding drums especially useful to tonal instruments like bass, keyboard or guitar as groove is important in modern music making.

To end off, all these are pointless if you don’t have a strong enough pushing factor for you to pick up a music instrument. But if you do, pick it up, you won’t regret it! 23 years on into playing the guitar, I’m still discovering and learning new things everyday. Coupled with the fact that this pushing factor turned into a career for me, that’s the biggest reward.

So, for those about to rock, I salute you!

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Career in Hit Songwriting Batch 2 graduation showcase!

2015 April 2
by Eric Ng

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We had a really fun showcase last Saturday at Hood as a graduation party for our trainees from the batch 2 of our Career in Hit Songwriting course.

During the showcase, we gladly announced the outstanding recent results we’ve had for our trainees penning songs for local, Taiwan and China artists, winning songwriting competitions (Lee Ting Hui for NUS XQRJ 心情溶剂 songwriting competition, Lee Chin Sin chosen among the Top 3 in the “Gift of Song” SG50 songwriting competition), performing successful songwriting showcases around Singapore, touring in Taiwan (Evoker), involving arrangement for 中国好歌曲 with me (Tan Kah Yong), involving with music productions, launching EP/Albums and of course our first ever “Best Lyrics” nomination for the 933 Singapore Hit Awards from a trainee by Kenny 邱峰泽.

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We selected some of our graduates’ works to be performed during the showcase and what was nice was that we had friends of the trainees coming in to help each other with the performance including the Batch 1 graduates of our course resulting in a really kickass performance.

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We were glad to see the full house crowd very receptive even though the performers were mostly fresh new faces and these songs are unfamiliar brand new potential hit songs. We’ve also observed similar turnouts and response to FM songwriter showcases recently. I’m very happy to see the FM team of writers really striking a chord to the local Mandarin music audiences, forming their own fan bases as songwriters. And I can see why as the songs are really good, with some that even brought tears to one’s eyes =D

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After the Batch 2 graduates had a chance to perform their songs, we also had Chin Sin and Jin An from our batch one perform their own songs which included “These are the days”, one of the top 3 song in the SG50 “Gift of Song” national songwriting competition.

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I must say throughout the showcase, I felt this overwhelming sense of pride of how far our trainees have came. They did exactly what we urged throughout the course, which is to treat songwriting as a vehicle to move to bigger things. Using the networks and friendships formed among their like minded trainees. The guys forged new production, songwriting teams and in some case form performance groups and bands just like we did when we 1st started. And in the case of our Batch 2, we even found ourselves a passionate writer who sidelines as a hilarious host =D Power to the Pew!

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This team work will only strengthen their overall growth as a songwriter, musician and amplify their passion for music. And this group of new blood coming together to start their own army to face the music is exactly what makes me so happy as a teacher and continues to push our team to bring FM to greater heights.

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Well done guys! We can’t wait for the next batch of potential melody and lyrics hit writers to come!!! (To be announced ;) )

* Nicer showcase photos kindly provided by Anders Ong

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Testing testing…test recording for Leo Studio begins!

2015 March 17
by Eric Ng

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Been thick busy having the time of my life running around at my latest playground, Leo Studio (look us up on FB at Leostudiosg). Running things through with my trusty team and putting myself in the position of the client who wishes to get nothing but the best of both sound and comfort to create the soundscape of their lives.

Thankfully, having visiting and renting recording studios for the last 20 years of my life. My experiences in the best and worst of them came in very handy! :)

And also thankfully, I’ve always been blessed to have good friends who’ll support me if the need arises. What better to test the recording studio than to get some of them in to come join me whack up a storm? So I called on Gary Gideon.

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Gary is a renowned session drummer with touring and recording credits too numerous to mention. Among the acts that have been under his groove include Air Supply, A*Mei, Jacky Cheung, Jonathan Lee, Harvey Malaiholo (Indonesia) etc. He is also the very first session drummer I have ever recorded back the famed Form Studios back in the 90s(later renamed the Audioplex). He was cool then to save my ass by helping me write his own chart for the drum parts (as I can’t write or write music, I can only play it) and he’s still cool now to come onboard to whack some thunderous grooves so we can start discovering the sweet spots in Leo Studio!!

And of course, drums have to come with…bass. That’s where Clement readily jumped onboard. Apart from wearing that gold suit as the bassist for our band, the AMPs and jamming “Jit Pat Ban” with me in the local movie 12 Lotus. Clement Yang Xi is much more well known nowadays as a multi instrumentalist, multi music biz man (Hood, Guitar77, The Music Academy) and plays in multiple bands(Ugly in the Morning, Smells like last Friday)

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And of course, helming the Leo Studio SSL Duality SE mixer is Frank Lee, Leo studio designer and renowned sound engineer who’s balanced the hits and worked with so many successful local and overseas artists. Stefanie Sun, JJ Lin, David Tao and the list goes on and on…

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And what better day to do our test sessions than on Friday the 13? It was a fun crazy sounding day where we broke out all our stops, allowed ourselves to let all things that could go wrong, go wrong so that we can fix it right up for our clients to get the best out of Leo Studio for their dream session! So far, the visitors that we’ve invited over to the studio have been giving very positive and at times, overwhelmingly nice comments over this work of passion but we were very prepared to hear the bad ones as well so we can improve over time. Thankfully the sessions went very well, again with the help of many friends who decided to pop by to lend Frank and me a helping hand. You know who you are. Thanks guys!!!

Here are some more pics while Frank and me play around with the tracks. Will be posting up the session soon! Stay tuned!!!

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Eddie Van Halen Smithsonian Interview 2015. Be deeply deeply inspired!

2015 March 12
by Eric Ng

I chanced upon this after I decided to search “Van Halen” on Youtube after listening to their classic album “1984″ on vinyl (that cute baby cover on the bottom left) which I bought from Melaka from Inverno Music at Mahkota Parade. (It sounds stunning by the way).

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I can say I totally identify with the Youtube generation as I myself have a very short visual attention span. Which is why ever since I discovered music 20 over years ago, I rarely watch TV or even Youtube for more than 15minutes without moving away to do something else.

This video interview was 55minutes where Eddie Van Halen spoke at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History on February 12th, in Washington D.C., about innovation as part of the national “What It Means To Be American” program in a sold-out event. This video contains no glam high production value filming, quick fancy angles, or cutaways etc. Just moving, inspiring, very real dialogue from a true living legend.

Now I know some of you might not know who Van Halen is but you have might heard of this song by Micheal Jackson called ‘Beat It’ and heard this crazy guitar solo in the interlude, or danced to the song “Jump” during some 80s Mambo gathering.

However if you are a inspiring musician/artist/songwriter or band. What you can draw from this interview has nothing with with Van Halen’s music.

Instead it digs deep into the ‘do or die’ mentality that I have always
respected and admired when I see musicians, new or experienced, willing to push so hard for their art no matter what environment they are from. Especially in some cases it borders on the basic essence of survival (and by that I don’t just mean not having internet access). I mentioned previously of Ed Sheeran running around homeless for 4 years. And in Eddie Van Halen’s case, where his family went for the American Dream, a family of musicians, immigrating over from Holland with 50 bucks in their pocket. And yet, he has made so many incredible innovations against all odds.

I was glued to what he said from beginning to end. All I kept repeating in my mind is…”Wow”. And especially if you are an electric guitarist, I think you’ll be “Super duper quadruple Wow”.

Having making music myself for almost 20 years as a career, I’m nowhere even close to what this man has accomplished. This interview really kicked me in the head to hurl myself way deeper than I already am into this passion of music making and hopefully be like him in future. Standing strong at 60 years old and still continuing to inspire three generations of musicians!

If you really really think music is what you want to for a living. I strongly urge you to watch this. Eddie Van Halen didn’t just live the American Dream, he lived the dream for everyone out there with an undying passion.


PS : Oh and speaking of passion ;) I’ve almost completed the playground of my music making dreams. This truly has been a crazy journey of realising my passion for making music and hopefully allowing others to do the same. For those of you who’ve been following me, you might have heard me raving of Leo Studio. Do search, follow and like us on https://www.facebook.com/LeoStudioSG?ref=hl . I’ll be posting more dream pics and the story of Leo Studio soon =D

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