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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
Room service lunch in room with a view
Our cool backstage
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!
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;
Yeh Bing Ham from Taiwan;
Hitomi Kaji from Japan;
Lydia Lee from Korea;
and Jocelyn Chan from Hong Kong.
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!
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.
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)
And Korea’s Lydia Lee for being awarded the “Best Vocal Performance” AND the winner of the HKAMF 2017 Asian Supernova Contest as well!
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.
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.
And with that, Team Singapore headed back to Singapore.
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.
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!
I first heard of Joe Satriani in the early 90s. Around the time of my heavy metal craze. Before that I was already exposed to Metallica and I bought Steve Vai’s album just based on how cool the cover of his album “Passion and Warfare” looked. Like most rock guitar lovers out there, I proceed to devour every rock guitar instrumental album I could find. That’s when I chanced upon “The Extremist” by Joe and started to follow him as well. It was only later than I realised that both Metallica’s guitarist and Steve Vai were previously students of Joe’s students!
Years have passed and I haven’t listened to his stuff in a while. It was only when I bought his book “Strange Beautiful Music” in Melbourne when I really started rediscovering his albums again and have even greater respect for him. I learned that he was the man who really kick started the rock guitar instrumental craze. With 10 million albums, 15 time Grammy Award Nominations, he is the biggest selling instrumental rock guitarist of all time. From the book I also really started to understand and appreciate how he brought the instrumental rock guitar album to the masses, by being a songwriter foremost and a guitar wizard with all the chops second.
So I was very excited when they announced that he was coming to Singapore this time.
Just like Guns and Roses, watching this man pop up on stage in your face is like your childhood cartoon character come to life. Even though he’s 60 now, he looks like he hasn’t aged a day. For 2.5 hours, he played flawlessly, and I really mean flawlessly. I’ve watched quite a few concerts and even for the best of them, its always common for guitarists to have a little glitch here and there. But Joe’s playing was really note perfect. I was super impressed by that and his backing band were also super star instrumentalists in their own right.
After this gig, I have now even greater respect for him. Joe Satriani, you are a true guitar hero to all rock guitar heroes. Salute!
We’ve just completed another successful original showcase at Switch. As songwriters, we mostly compose in a lonely environment, so it’s always nice for us to get out there and perform for an audience now and then, share the stories behind our songs and see how our songs fare out in the crowd.
As always, we had a full house turn out of fellow songwriters and music lovers. This time around the song list was a little different from past showcases as we performed songs that Funkie Monkies Publishing exclusive writers composed and published (sold) over the last year. It was a nice audio ‘report card’ as our rocking in house band of exclusive writers performed hits by Stefanie Sun, 楊丞琳, 曾沛慈, 陳夢晨, 動力火車, 李琦 and Hebe.
We also had the pleasure of inviting Alfred Sim(沈志豪) to perform his own song《最美的時光》, a Jim Lim composition. Actually this time round, we had many other great songs to perform however they were in the midst of album release. As respect to the client we didn’t perform them.
All in all, the team had a great time performing to fellow music lovers. For the last song 《日常》the title track I composed for Hebe’s last album, I had itchy fingers and decided to play the guitar with the band!
If you have a passion for songwriting and wish to learn how to start. Do join us for our upcoming seminar this Sunday 12 March 4pm where we share more details of our professional songwriting courses!
Song Sequence and Performers Line up:
曲: LGF Seto, 詞: 盧宛芬
Performed by Kelly Loh(盧宛芬)
曲: NO NAME/余荃斌, 詞: 小寒
Performed by Regine Han(LGF Regine)
曲: 蔡健雅 , 詞: 小寒
Performed by Yun HuiLing(雲慧玲)
曲: Ken Chong, 詞: 默默多/盧宛芬
Performed by Joshua Goh(吳周爍)
5) 陳夢晨 Music In Me《跳起來》”
Performed by Regine Han(LGF Regine)
曲: Nat Wu 健豪/黄韵仁, 詞: 小寒
Performed by Pang Jia Cheng(龐家成)
7) Alfred Sim(沈志豪)《最美的時光》
曲: 林倛玉, 詞: 樂聲
Performed by Alfred Sim(沈志豪)
曲: 黃韻仁, 詞: 管啟源
Performed by Pang Jia Cheng(龐家成)
曲: 黃韻仁 , 詞: 藍小邪
Performed By Pang Jia Cheng(龐家成)
I’m often asked this question. Where do you get your inspiration? I’d say in this day and age, it’s really difficult not to be inspired. There’s really inspiration to be found everywhere. This is especially true for musicians as we are surrounded by great works, new and old all the time. In fact I’d say there’s way too much great music that I’m always finding a hard time to balance between being lost in great music and making music myself. This is especially so for the last few months where we took a nice break to get out there and enjoy good music. As I tour frequently with Wakin, being able to get out there and experience different surroundings and culture is another way for me to think outside of the box to create something new. Even the way you think will be different when you are in an environment that you are not used to. You don’t even need to go very far. I’d say if you’re staying in the east of your country, heading to the west and just hanging around that area might bring you new insights. Picking up a vibey instrument also brings me to another world, sometimes they might not even need to be really well made, an out of tune dusty piano might suffice. You can gather with a great team of like minded people and inspire with each other (that works for me!). Everyone has their ways and means to find inspiration if they look hard enough. Inspiration can be found anywhere even if it’s non music related! From your friends, family, that old man that hangs around your void deck everyday. If you want to get out your rut, just get out there. Out of your comfort zone. Feel uneasy, it might do you good. The world’s a great place to draw inspiration! Here’s a view of some of my sources of inspiration =D
We landed in Sg from Osaka at 2am and we met up with our folks at 730am to head to Phuket! Phuket is my favourite beach getaway place in the world and this year is special as i managed to get all my folks there as well!
We had a group of 11 and I had to rent a mini bus to drive all of them around! Here’s my grumpy bus driver look
This was the 2nd time Lyla had been to Phuket and she totally enjoyed it!
Our Thai steamboat MK reunion dinner!
This is the first time I had a family holiday trip during CNY
We headed to the beach with LJ’s 90 years old grandfather, we got him a chair to rest and I blasted 邓丽君 tunes on my portable speaker so we all had fun!
For our last dinner, LJ found a great restaurant in Phuket Town. The food was great and the ambience was very nice. We’ll definitely be back again!
What a great year to start the Lunar New Year! May all your wishes come true. Huat ah!