On the 8th and 9th of June 2015, FM Pop Music School held a 2 day Music Workshop at Ngee Ann Polytechnic. Together with Jin An, the 2 day Music Workshop was held to help students and staff without any music background to pick up basic songwriting skills to write a song for their HMS 10th Anniversary Songwriting competition.
On the last day, I was invited to share my experiences in songwriting and being in the music industry. Being curious to check out the new generation of songwriters. I reached there a little earlier to watch Jin An prepping them for their songwriting presentation and sit in to listen to their freshly composed songs.
After which I had my sharing session, where I commended the students for their efforts as I liked what I heard. I personally only started writing songs when I was 20 years old, so these students already had a very good headstart! I liked it that in the short span of time learning during our workshop, they all understood the goal of simplicity in writing pop songs.
I also related my experiences of hanging around Ngee Ann around the late 90s as I was always eager to do my own recordings and the Film Sound Video department (as it was named then) had a cool studio and nice equipment that I couldn’t afford. Nowadays, it’s so much more affordable to have your own set up and get decent sounds recorded in your bedroom.
All in all, it’s always inspiring to share with the new generation as I believe there’s much to draw and learn from their enthusiasm towards their passion. Thanks for the invite Ngee Ann Poly HMS! I had a great time!
The last time I came to 哈尔滨 (Harbin) was about 5 years ago, and we didn’t have much chance to check out the place. This time I managed to go paint the town red and it was cool!
Recommended by locals, we got in a cab and headed to 哈尔滨中央大街. There was much sights and sounds all around. I liked the fact that every few steps we took, we could see arts and music acts scattered across the street.
After always listening to my friends talking about 大众点评, an app similar to Singapre’s hungry go where. I decided to download it and thankfully I did was we found ourselves some really nice food! It was some 石盘鱼锅 or something, hidden in a carpark somewhere near the main entrance of 中央大街 and it was really delish!
Good times at the 而罗斯酒吧
And I got Lyla a Russian Doll which she absolutely loves!
For some unknown reason, we could see 川菜 restaurants every few minutes. I am a great fan of 川菜, especially 重庆小面, which is a nice thick, oily, salty, spicy, unhealthy noodles soup, so I ate this for 2 days =D However it doesn’t come close to the real road side goodness we got at 重庆 last time.
Another day, another arena…
Yeah, that’s the last show…for this month! 哈尔滨 is a nice place to chill, with nice weather at this time of year. Glad we had time to explore a little this time round!
Yes, we’ve toured most of China over the last 5 years, however for some of the provinces sometimes we really don’t have much impression of the place as it’s off the plane, to the hotel, off to the show and that’s it. 郑州 was one of these cases as I had my own work to do at the hotel so didn’t have much time to explore the place.
Here’s me dressed for the void deck, playing an arena =D
Hua Jian is always amused when he sees my legs spread out when I’m playing guitar, so he decided to join in the fun as well!
Though we didn’t get to experience much of 郑州. This show was special as we had 大哥Jonathan 李宗盛 over as a guest artist and it was fun as he cracked us up at the backstage with stories of his production days back when he just started. Listening to all that he has been through, I felt honoured to be part of his production team when I first started out.
During the show, he started his hit song 山丘 by himself, with one guitar and it was really cool watching the 10s of 1000s of people fall silent and listening to one man and his guitar.
Next stop, 哈尔滨!
I thought I should just post whereever I go on this tour so I’ll be able to look back on the places that I’ve been in China. Having toured with Hua Jian for 5 years, I’ve lost track of the places I’ve been in China. So this will be a nice reminder for me .
So we hit Shen Yang! It happens I have a friend that I’ve lost contact for more than 10 years living there, so I caught up with her and her husband and they brought me around for some 东北特色 food!
Apparently, their cucumbers look and taste quite different from ours…
One of these dumplings is equivalent to 6 of our dumplings added together!
After dinner, they brought me to Asia’s longest night market, it stretched a few km and was so long that you can see no end to it!
This was the stall that I was most fascinated with, and there were many stalls selling these!
And so the show began
I got my friends a pair of tickets and they were overjoyed! I could see her hubbie whipping out the phone to take videos every other song =D
And finally, my friends gave Lyla a nice belated bday gift, a cute helmet for her new scooter! Thank you auntie TWZ and hubby!
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!
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.
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!
and some overgrown kid friends! =D
Here’s more pics from the party!
Lyla’s homemade delicious birthday cake!
And of course, what’s a 2nd birthday without cool pressies! To Lyla, even the boxes are fun!=D
hmm, is this a bath robe or is this a blanket, or is it just a flattened bear? =D
My fav pig!
Oh ho ho…I’m gonna have so much fun with this!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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!
In between chilling…
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!
All in all, playing shows in Shanghai is always a treat!
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!
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
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.
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.
And so we move on!!! Next stop, Shanghai!
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!
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 .
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.
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!
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!