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Lyla is 4!

2017 May 20
by Eric Ng

Time flies! Lyla is 4! Every birthday is a fun filled family event, however this year is a little different as Lyla now goes to school! We had 2 parties, one for family and one with her new found friends in school.

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We had so much fun!

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And for party 2, We celebrated at my aunty’s house where I grew up with DIY party decorations!

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I don’t remember being this happy everyday when I was growing up. Lyla is sure one lucky girl!

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And of course, presents overload!!!

In a flash, this funny chickadee turns 4. Thank you for cracking us up everyday! =D

Da Nang and Hoi An Vietnam

2017 May 16
by Eric Ng

I’ve always loved seaside resorts so this time I decided to take a short getaway and check out Da Nang Vietnam for the first time. Previously, I’ve heard many nice things about Da Nang from my Vietnam friends. When I arrived it did live up to my expectations! Da Nang is such a laid back and pretty place. This is the view from my balcony.

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My mission this time was to have a nice retreat and try writing some songs. There’s something romantic about creating in a new environment. With surroundings like these, it was very hard not to be inspired.

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We had 3 days there and I managed to write 4 songs, but of course it was not all about songs. We also found some time to walk around Da Nang, which is mostly about quiet beaches with good and cheap massage places!

A 30 minute taxi ride will take you to Hoi Ann. Hoi Ann is a quaint laid back little town with many colourful French Colonial and wooden Chinese shophouses. Any photo you snap there will look like a postcard.

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We had really good food at the Morning Glory restaurant near the Hoi An river.

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Four songs and two nights later, I’m back in Singapore. Fully refreshed, looks like Da Nang will definitely be on my mind in future for a quick, affordable beach getaway!

Warner Chappell Songwriting Camp in Penang

2017 May 15
by Eric Ng

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Straight off the Wakin show, I was invited to visit the first songwriting camp hosted in Penang. Organised by Warner Chappell Taiwan, they had 26 songwriters from Singapore and Malaysia out of which Funkie Monkies Publishing sent two representatives. I arrived on the last day as they were wrapping up, just in time to hear the songs they’ve written!

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Being involved in organising in the Funkie Monkies nationwide talent search songwriting camp last year, I know how much work it takes to organise a camp like this. Kudos to the organising team from WCM!

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However once you get to witness the joys of creative collaboration when you put the right songwriters together. The efforts are worth it!

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Jason and Joshua from Funkie Monkies sharing their thoughts on their songs and their experience working with their Malaysian team counterparts.

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After listening to the 25 works created by the various teams of writers, I was asked to speak a few words of what I felt about the camp and the quality of songs I’ve heard.

Having met and worked with many Malaysian musicians, I’ve always respected their work ethic. Once they realised that their passion is in music, no matter it’s a less travelled path, they go all out to realise their goal. This hunger to succeed is definitely commendable. I also highlighted some of the newer generation talents whose works I thought were cool. Guys like Tux18121444_1382849081776316_3706218799069769879_o

and Jia Wang 18193290_1382857825108775_2485452193552537987_o

It’s new hot blooded guys like these that makes me not stop wanting to improve myself!

When I arrived, Monica Lee, President of Warner/Chappell Music (Asia Pacific) shared with me that all writers fell silent when she casually asked them whom among them had works that they were satisfied with so far. She wondered jokingly should she be worried or is it that they are just too humble.

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After the sharing session, we both knew it was definitely the latter. I brought up what Monica shared again and advised the writers that the Mandarin music industry is getting bigger all the time. Naturally more and more talents are creating great works out there. I can say that over the years, Malaysia and Singapore have proven ourselves as a force in the music industry. It’s time we stand up and not be shy of our achievements, otherwise we might be lost in the huge sea of talent in Asia. In which my good brother 阿管 quipped in, ask 黄韵仁 if he’s good he’ll say “I’m good!”. To that I said Of course! And everyone cracked up. I added I’ve been active in the music industry for almost 20 years. If I’m still here I have to be good at something or something’s really wrong here. Finally, jokes aside, I shared with the writers that writing pop music is a business. We have to stand behind what we do, not be afraid to sell ourselves when needed or no one will bother listening to us. We all have our own strengths and weaknesses, so don’t be afraid to sell your abilities.

And of course with that, after three days of non stop songwriting, when we work hard, we play hard!

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And so I left the camp with newfound friends, an itch to write and headed to Da Nang, Vietnam for a songwriting camp, by myself =D

**Nice Photos by Kitoki Tan and team.

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Wakin at the MasterCard Theatre, Marina Bay Sands Singapore

2017 May 15
by Eric Ng

Time flies, the last time the Wakin crew came to Singapore was more than two years ago. Everytime they come, we have lots of fun. This time LJ and Lyla were swamped with presents from the team!

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As this time we were invited to perform two nights at the Mastercard Theatres at MBS meant that we had more time to hang.

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This show was different for many reasons. As with shows in Singapore, I had my family entourage in the audience.

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We also had requests to do more English songs. I had fun doing rock versions of “Eternal Flame” and “Knocking on Heaven’s door”

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I’ve watched a few shows here before but this is the first time I’ve stepped foot on the stage. I must say its a cool place to perform.

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And of course, having friends in the audience also meant they’ll take cool pics and send it to over!

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There’ll be another encore show for Wakin in August at the Indoor Stadium, so watch out for it!

Always have some time off to chase the birds

2017 April 19
by Eric Ng

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I based this blog on this pic because I like it a lot! Lyla told me she wanted to catch some birds, I knew she wouldn’t be able to catch them of course but I decided to entertain her. We waited patiently, hidden by the corner as the pigeons gathered together. The moment about 5 or more came, off she went! And she ran around laughing, chasing them around the grass field. Though she didn’t catch any, she was still very happy and we repeated this hide, wait, run like crazy process a few times.

As we stood there waiting quietly I was thinking, this is how life should be. Life is not all about working hard till you have no time for family and friends, or having so much of a good time till you’re have no idea of how you build for your future. It’s about the balance of it all. I used to always hear people say “Busy is good!” but I’m hearing less of that nowadays. Maybe it’s because being busy might not be the best solution. I do work hard, however I do not support working so hard till you lose touch of the other things that you enjoy or value in life. Being busy productively with effective results, that I support.

Maybe it’s because I’m turning 42 this year? However, looking back I’ve always tried my best to work hard and play hard. I’m lucky that my work is also my hobby, so my ‘play’ also include just sitting in front of my hi fi and allowing the turntable to wash great music over me which is happening as I’m writing this blog. Last time play also involved a lot more partying, however now that I’ve got a family and a cute kid, play includes hiding in a corner, catching birds.

And that’s what makes life great!

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Co-writing a song

2017 April 18
by Eric Ng

Songwriting can be a lonely activity where I come up with a melody and hand it over to a lyricist who will flesh it up with the words. Since the inception of the Songwriting camp we organised last year, I’ve been spending some time co-writing songs with my team of writers. With the right like minded partner, co writing can be a rewarding experience as you can bounce ideas off and the other person can be seeing things in different angle from you and strike you with another idea.

I’ve encouraged my writers to collaborate with anyone willing and not just pick collaborators on their skill level. This is as you will never know when will you hit the right chemistry with the right song at the right time.

Here are 2 of the songs released from my co writing sessions last year, and I am sure there’s more to come!

老九 2017

2017 April 16
by Eric Ng

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The last time we staged Lao Jiu was in 2012, I hopped off the plane from Taipei and went straight to the Drama Centre to catch the opening show.

I still can recall when I was in secondary school and I heard my dad tell my sister after she performed in a singing competition “Aahhhh you like to sing for fun ok ahhh, don’t think of making it a career Ahhh. You are not Micheal Jackson”. I don’t think anyone would have imagined I ended up with “the puppets”. What makes this musical so powerful especially with those with a passion for any form of art is that it’s a timeless tale, the story of chasing your passion vs the rat race is still as relevant as ever and the choice has always been in your hands.

Back to the show, the production, the stellar cast, the music arrangements and the band really made our songs shine much brighter and bring that classic tale of choosing art Vs doingwhatisexpectedofyou much closer to the heart. I’d say from the feedback I’ve heard from friends and the media so far that the show is still as well received as ever.

Lao Jiu is in the midst of it’s run, do catch it before the 23rd of April! Tickets are selling fast so go grab it!

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Wakin Macau 2017

2017 April 16
by Eric Ng

Macau never stops amazing me with all kinds of new casinos sprouting up everytime I stop by.

This time Wakin was invited as the first performer to grace the stage at the Grand theatre in the newly setup Wynn Casino.

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The band stayed at the spanking new establishment and I must say the rooms were very large and luxurious looking. But what impressed me most is that everytime I left the room, the room service staff will make extra efforts to make the room super neat. Up to the point of coiling my loose cables lying around on the table! I’ve stayed in many hotels around the world and that’s a first!
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Room service lunch in room with a view

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Our cool backstage

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The Grand Theatre looked well, very grand and an old European theatre kind of theme where there are private booths for the more exclusive. When Wakin plays in a casino to an audience of hundreds, you know that the audience is not just VIP, it’s more like VVVVIP! So we expected the audience to be very formal, prim and proper. However we were pleasantly surprised when the crowd was wild throughout the concert and they looked like they were having a great time!

And with that, we move on to our next stop. Wakin at Singapore!

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Hong Kong Asian-Pop Music Festival (HKAMF) 2017

2017 March 20
by Eric Ng

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Just got back from representing Singapore as an adjudicator (judge) for the HKAMF2017 by kind invitation by IFPI (Hong Kong) and RIAS (Singapore). The festival promotes music culture, with top recording artists from all over the region taking part in a song contest for the Super Nova Awards. It’s a great gathering of talents from different cultures including “Self-Portrait” from the Mainland China;

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Yeh Bing Ham from Taiwan;

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Hitomi Kaji from Japan;

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Lydia Lee from Korea;

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Alfred Sim from Singapore;
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Hanz Koay from Malaysia;
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Pannawach from Thailand
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and Jocelyn Chan from Hong Kong.

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Organised by the IFPI (Hong Kong Group), other than the contestants, there were celebrities from the eight participating countries and regions as members of the adjudication panel for the awards. Namely – Jiang Dunhao from the Mainland China; NICKTHEREAL Chou from Taiwan; LOVE PSYCHEDELICO from Japan; B1A4 from Korea; Jocie Guo Mei Mei from Singapore; Joyce Chu from Malaysia and Hacken Lee from Hong Kong

My fellow adjudicators were Andy Ng from the Mainland China, Benjamin Lin from Taiwan, URU from Japan, Professor Lee Kyung Nam from Korea, Tan Vui Chuan from Malaysia, Danai Thongsinthusak from Thailand and Elisa Chan from Hong Kong.

This is not the first time I’ve been to HKAMF so I knew what to expect from the trip. That being a friendly gathering of talented individuals coming from various countries coming together to make friends more than anything! It was a great chance for me to catch up with my personal 恩师 and a true friend, Benjamin Lin 老师. If you don’t know what he does, he’s written and produced Mandarin hits that are “kinda famous” for e.g. 爱是永恒? 你最珍贵? Not sure if anyone has heard of those =D Jokes aside, this is the man who back in 1998, gave me first shot at music arrangement and personally guided me in many of the tips and tricks of the trade (including tapping me on the back of my head and asking me “Hey! What you doing?!?!) that I apply up till today!

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Other than that I got to make new friends from the other countries as well! We were having too much fun laughing and hanging at the hotel lobby every night that I didn’t get a chance to take photos with all of them.

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I could have ended this blog here as the theme of HKAMF 2017 being “Music In One Asia” was already met with great success with our gathering and exchanging of culture. But of course there is also the HKAMF 2017 Asian Supernova Contest as well. I’d say the fact that these newcomers from the different regions were there makes them all winners already. All performers were very entertaining and show great promise. To me, the awards given were just a formality, and for us as judges to have a reason to be there =D.

With that being said, I’d like to congratulate our Singapore representative Alfred for bagging “Best Stage Performance” (FYI the country’s representative judges were not allowed to vote for their fellowmen)

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And Korea’s Lydia Lee for being awarded the “Best Vocal Performance” AND the winner of the HKAMF 2017 Asian Supernova Contest as well!

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I’d like to give special mention to the runner up of the contest Yeh Bing Ham from Taiwan as he really does have a very unique vocal style and his cheery persona is a great throw off the moment he opens his mouth to sing. I watched him perform at EZ5 in Taipei previously with his guitarist and they are really good at putting up a great show.

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I’m also a fan of LOVE PSYCHEDELICO from Japan way back when they had their first hit “Lady Madonna”. They really wowed me with their performance in their super casual cool laid back style. Pure music at it’s finest. LSW_2942

And with that, Team Singapore headed back to Singapore.

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I’m glad to have been part of it and now have cool new friends who I can hang with in China, Malaysia, Korea, Thailand, Japan and HK! And finally I wish all the participants the best of luck. I hope this experience has given them a nice boost of inspiration to create more great music! That to me, is the main spirit of the HKAMF!

*Photos provided by HKAMF 2017.

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Guns and Roses in SG

2017 March 17
by Eric Ng

As mentioned in the previous post, the show at Osaka was so good that we decided to catch their Singapore show. I think there’s more written about the organisation of the show than the actual fact that Guns and Roses actually came to Singapore so I shall skip that. This time the band sounded even better! Axl Rose’s vocals this time was top form and the band seemed really pumped up watching a whole sea of 50, 000 people screaming for them.

As expected, I bumped into many old friends in the crowd. The band really did make an impact in many of our lives growing up and this show is truly a landmark event even though we’ve watched so many great rock bands come through Singapore.

Now I can’t wait for their concert Blu Ray, and if this band does another tour again (If), I’ll definitely be there!

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