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STAGEFRIGHT X

 MUSIC  Comments Off
Jan 082014
 

Goes without saying that local original music needs more exposure and so I am pleased that STAGEFRIGHT @ Artistry is now into its 10th edition. Tonight, the lineup is –

8.00pm to 8.15pm Che Cereza
8.20pm to 8.35pm Hiroki Sunayama
8.40pm to 8.55pm Richard Philip
9.00pm to 9.15pm The Winged Butter Cats

Come on down and enjoy some mid-week refreshment. I will be playing a couple of new tunes from the upcoming #alpacablues ep at the end. See you there!

More info.

PoPINIONS

 MUSIC, PERSONAL  Comments Off
Dec 122013
 

IF YOU HAVE NOTHING GOOD TO SAY…

A good friend recently suggested that I should emulate the renowned music critic Bob Lefsetz and cut loose on music and bands that I did not like – the proverbial ‘take no prisoners’ kind of commentary. Not that I haven’t done this in the 20 odd years that I have been writing about music and pop culture. And this includes telling the ‘truth’ about the music of local bands and artists as well. However, I find that it does not serve any purpose and often the targets of the criticism are not able to benefit from those remarks – so why bother?

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Jan 242013
 

sf-flyer

 

Have been very excited by the many open mics/songwriter showcases popping up all over our little red dot in the past few months and I am glad to be involved in Stagefright @ Artistry together with Artistry Cafe and buddy Pat Chng. For February and March, yours truly will be curating this showcase. I’ll will be looking more at songwriting and the best way to present the song (usually acoustic) but ultimately am open to anything… drop me a line <kamcomusic@gmail.com> with all the necessary links…

 

Jan 032013
 

Simon Townshend released one of the more intriguing albums of 2012, the under-rated Looking Out, Looking In. We were fortunate and privileged to be able to pose a couple of questions to Townshend via email and we set out his responses below.

As a musician/recording artist, has being the younger brother of Pete Townshend been an advantage or disadvantage and why so?

I think it works both ways. I suppose I have a lot to live up to, especially when some people expect so much of me. Having said that my name has opened a few doors that would have perhaps remained shut. I am really proud of my brother and have always loved his music / lyrics – The Who are one of my all time favourite bands. However, I have many other musical influences and my sound is unique. I think once people realise that the sibling association takes a back seat they will judge me on my own merits. At the end of the day it’s down to me and my music to win music lovers over.

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Dec 152012
 

American songstress Rachael Yamagata returns to Singapore for a fifth time, in support of her new EP Heavyweight. Concert promoters Greenhorn Productions recently announced that Yamagata will be performing on 2nd March 2013 at the Esplanade Concert Hall and that tickets at $48, $68, 88 and $98 (excluding Sistic charges) will be available from www.sistic.com soon. Stay tuned for details soon at the official Facebook event page. In the meantime, check out the title track of her new EP below.

Official Site

Nov 282012
 

Singer-songwriter Maricelle Wong shares with us her thoughts on fellow singer-songwriters…

Kelly Clarkson who? We all know who she is, this power-packed girl has been singing her way up charts ever since she was the winner of the inaugural American Idol season, easily one of the most successful singers after that show ended. Since that victory, she’s had lots of her songs become chart topping hits, but her success took awhile to pop up infront of her. She had been offered scholarships but decided to make it on her own after high school, working several different jobs to fund her recording.

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Nov 092012
 

Singer-songwriter Maricelle Wong shares with us her thoughts on fellow singer-songwriters…

Jillian Marie Ambrose is a singer songwriter from Kansas, whose music is sombre like Christina Perri, yet has a slight pop-country vibe to the guitars, and about teenage love. With her album starting with “ever changing heart”, her album is full of love songs, reminiscent of Taylor Swift’s many teenage love songs, and some covers.

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Nov 042012
 

Greenhorn Productions are presenting Regina Spektor – LIVE with special guest Only Son for the first time in Singapore!

Date: 22 Dec 2012 Time: 8 p.m. Venue: Esplanade Theatre

Tickets at www.sistic.com at $68,$88,$108,$128 and $148 (excluding sistic charges) available from 3 Nov 2012.

Regina Spektor will be performing with her full band and will be supported by ONLY SON (Jack Dishel).

Visit www.reginaspektor.com

 

Nov 012012
 

Singer-songwriter Maricelle Wong shares with us her thoughts on fellow singer-songwriters…

This Californian girl has collaborated and toured with Moby many times before, and written the soundtrack for a HBO documentary ‘In a Dream’ which is about a particular artist who chronicles his life in mosaics. With her album Dangling Teeth, her inspiration from the radio on long drives between her separated parents’ houses definitely shows. Her album is both fit for a roadtrip on a hot summer’s afternoon, or for chilling by the campfire at night.

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Oct 272012
 

(Sprout Entertainment Press Release)

After serenading a record 3500 crowd at the Sentosa Coliseum, YouTube Superstar Jason Chen returns to Singapore for his 2013 Asia Tour! Sprout Entertainment has confirmed that he will be back for a one night only stop in Singapore on 12 January 2013 at the SCAPE Warehouse.

Catch this living legend in action as he performs a mix of originals and covers of our favorite artists such as Maroon 5, One Direction, J J Lin and Wang Lee Hom.

Since his debut 3 years ago, Jason has wowed fans with his wide vocal range and expressive renditions of pop favorites; he has garnered over 500 thousand subscribers and more than 130 million views on YouTube. His all time record hit cover songs include “Just a Dream” by Nelly, “Tong Hua” by Guang Liang and “Payphone” by Maroon 5. His originals are no slouches, with Best Friend receiving more than 6 million views and Just For A Moment coming in at 5 million views.

Come 12 January, Jason will be rocking out with his fans, accompanied by his 3-piece band. As a special thank you, he has thrown in 50 VIP concert + meet and greet tickets, priced at $83. Grab yours before they’re gone!

For more information updates: like https://www.facebook.com/sproutentertainment?fref=ts and follow @sproutentertain

Date: 12 Jan 2013
Time: 7pm
Venue: SCAPE Warehouse
Concert Tickets: $58
Concert Tickets + Meet n Greet: $83

Get your tickets from SISTIC now!

Oct 052012
 

CAN’T GET THERE FROM HERE

It’s the first week of October 2012 and the new album – Emo Fascism – is done. Well almost. The fact is that the songs were all built up from foundations established in the last couple of years, from basic Garageband files. These GB files were imported into Patrick Chng’s Logic software (at the Neptune) and we tweaked the sounds, added new instrumental backing and recorded new vocals (in many cases, numerous harmony and backing vocals) in order to arrive at the ten main tracks to be found on Emo Fascism.

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Sep 232012
 

GETTING CLOSER

You could say that I’ve been following the career of Inch Chua for quite awhile, since 2007, in fact. And it has always been heartening to see the tremendous strides this young, talented, driven lady has made in those five years. Her latest achievement? Hitting the target of her crowd-funding album project with time to spare. I can safely say that I have not been too surprised by any of this – I have always believed that Inch could achieve virtually anything she put her mind to and her hard work and creative enterprise has borne fruit.

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Sep 102012
 

Just in case you missed it the first time round, singer-songwriter Charles J Tan is working on his new album and is undertaking a crowd funding campaign over at  fundcharles.com – hosted on IndieGogo.com.

Check out the video below and FUND CHARLES! Preorder the new album get the exclusives before anyone else out there – limited edition t-shirts, CDs, mp3s, chords sheets (yup!), concert tickets, house concerts!!!

Aug 192012
 

We just got an email from Oz-based singer-songwriter Charles J Tan.

My new album is launching in a few months’ time! I am very excited to be doing a crowd funding campaign.

Very few asian musicians have started crowd funding and I am elated to be at the forefront of this new movement.

The album will be titled, Maybe Somewhere North, releasing around October/November 2012. We are in the final stages of recording, mixing and mastering the album to be ready and cannot wait for it to be out!

While waiting for the album to be ready, I am raising funds through a fan funding site for the release.

The campaign has an easy to remember URL – fundcharles.com – hosted on IndieGogo.com

Check out the campaign video below.

Jun 232012
 

A satisfying week for all concerned at KAMCO Music (meaning yours truly!) as the first edition of Indie Solo Live ran smoothly with a attentive group of family, friends and fans packing the Soho Coffee cafe. After the success of SING A NEW SONG, it was gratifying to put on a show on a smaller scale but once again with the focus on Singapore singer-songwriters sharing their original music.

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CHARLIE LIM

 MUSIC  Comments Off
Apr 122012
 

OLD SOUL

Now, the introduction to “There Is No Love” swept me literally off my feet, my heart melted and chills ran down the length of my spine. No mean feat. I’m talking about the second track on Charlie Lim‘s amazing debut eponymous EP that was released sometime last year. Better late than never eh?

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Mar 022012
 

This coming weekend (Friday 2nd to Sunday 4th March) marks the end of yet another NOISE Music Mentorship Programme with the NOISE Music Showcase at the Esplanade viz. The Concourse and the Outdoor Theatre. For me, I have been very fortunate to form relationships with my two mentees, Ming See and Maricelle.

Ming See is a quiet and reserved person, someone who chooses to shun the spotlight. So for her, performing can be a bit of a challenge, with handling stage fright a major issue. But this is probably true for all performers. However, what is really special about Ming See is her songwriting. Literate concepts and classic UK folk influences make Ming See’s music a bit different from the usual singer-songwriter fare we might get here in Singapore. Her music is rather quiet and spare, with a voice to match. So the Concourse surroundings will be suitable if everybody simply focuses and listens carefully.

I am looking forward to hearing Ming See at the Concourse tonight at 7.15pm. If you are interested in the exciting musical talents developing right at our door steps then I hope to see you there too.

Feb 152012
 

Thinking California (off Whiskey Farmer)

No ‘indie cred’ necessary here as singer-songwriter James Low spins a rustic yarn about a farmer desperate to escape his dead end life. The track is featured on Low’s new album – Whiskey Farmer – which will be released on 21st Feb. It’s straightforward country-folk with twangy melodies that serve the heartfelt sentiments. Check out the video below and also the preview of the upcoming album. Review to come…

‘Thinking California’ from James Low on Vimeo.

 

PoPTV – LAURA GIBSON

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Jan 102012
 

Milk-Heavy, Pollen Eyed

Talk about your cool one-take videos! Laura Gibson (aided and abetted by Aleksandr Karjaka on clarinet) proves that sometimes the simplest version of a song is often the best. The song is featured on Gibson’s upcoming new album – La Grande – to be released by Barsuk Records. Check it out!

Official Site

Photo Credit: Parker Fitzgerald

Jan 072012
 

January 2012 promises to be a busy month of gigs for yours truly as I try to find as much performance time as possible for my two Noise mentees, Maricelle Wong and Ming See, ahead of the Noise Showcase in March. First up on Friday the 13th at the Red Dot Design Museum comes MAAD Sounds (see above). The girls will be playing three original songs each to split their half-hour slot and I expect very much to try to fit in ‘new’ songs that have been spotlighted recently on Youtube by yours truly. Hope to see you there! More gig announcements to be made…

… still there’s more …

SINGAPORE ORIGINALS

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Jan 062012
 

Singapore Originals is a new series put up by Timbre Music to recognize independent original musical works by Singaporeans, for Singaporeans. Singapore Originals happens every last Wednesday of the month at Timbre @ The Substation (unless otherwise stated).

NICHOLAS CHIM

Date: Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Time: 8.00pm

Duration: 60 mins

Venue: Timbre @ The Substation

Admission: Free (minimum one drink applies.)

ZAHIDAH

Date: Wednesday, 29 February 2011

Time: 8.00pm

Duration: 60 mins

Venue: Timbre @ The Substation

Admission: Free (minimum one drink applies.)

PoPINIONS

 MUSIC, PERSONAL  Comments Off
Jan 022012
 

 

COPY AND PASTE

It’s strange that in 2012, we are still addressing the issue of ‘cover songs’ and ‘tribute bands’ in Singapore. Don’t get me wrong I believe that there is a place for ‘cover songs’ and ‘tribute bands’ – these serve a certain niche market worldwide. The problem is that in Singapore, it’s not a niche market but the only market! Whereas in the western world, new bands may be able to get away with playing cover songs early in their career, there will come a point where their success as a band will depend on the quality of their original music.

It seems almost ludicrous to have to discuss this issue at all. I mean, in the 90s, Singapore indie bands played original music and nobody thought twice about it. Radio and TV featured Singapore indie bands playing their original music and nobody demanded that these bands played familiar cover songs. I mean, that’s what you expected if you had the Oddfellows, Padres, Concave Scream or Stoned Revivals performing on stage. After all, these bands were songwriters and artists in their own right – it’s almost as ridiculous as going to a Coldplay gig and demanding that Chris Martin and company play U2 and Radiohead songs!

But visit any bar or club in Singapore nowadays and chances are that the band on stage will be playing cover songs. Again, I must stress that I am not against this per se but why must being in a cover band about the only way that Singaporean musicians can make a living from music in Singapore? So who is to blame? Musicians? Business owners? Patrons? Media? Government? All of the above?

Is the artistic voice of the Singapore musician not treasured at home? Why do Singaporeans switch off when confronted with unfamiliar Singaporean original songs? Lack of quality? I do not believe so as the acceptance of original Singapore music overseas proves otherwise. Lack of support? Ah, that’s a sticky issue. Especially when it relates to the question of the economic value and worth of music compared to other kinds of ‘products’.

Of course, these issues are not unique to Singapore indie music and apply across the board whenever one discusses the local arts & entertainment scene. But these issues must be addressed head-on by all the stakeholders (mentioned in my third paragraph) and the beginning of the new year seems like a good place to start.

But naturally, if you are reading this here then I’d assume that you are on board with my sentiments and the whole cliche of ‘preaching to the converted’ seems all too applicable. The real question is that do you, dear reader, believe in Singapore music (and musicians) enough to be evangelistic about the cause of Singapore original music? To put it bluntly, what are you willing to do?  For my part, as a music journalist, singer-songwriter, artist manager, mentor and teacher, I am fully committed to doing whatever I can in 2012 (and beyond) to raise the profile/support the cause of Singapore original music in any way that I can. Will you join me please?

Note: This is not meant as a personal attack on anyone within the Singapore music scene so please take this post in the positive and constructive spirit that it was written. Thanks!