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).
I must admit that I was positively seething after my set at the 6th and final edition of the Noise-Timbre Singer-songwriter Program. If it wasn’t for the efforts of Jack and Rai, there would really have been no response from that audience to my set whatsoever! I have found the audience getting gradually worse as the series progressed and as much I tried to ignore this state of affairs it has been slowly eating me up inside. The problem with our young people is that they do not even know how to give polite applause. They are so wrapped up in their own little worlds that nothing else matters except their own interests. Selfishness personified.
I was sharing with Sarah (from Noise) later how things were so different in the 90s. Back then, the young people appreciated original Singapore music and cheered whenever they heard a new song. And this appreciation was demonstrated as well – we have certainly regressed from those heady days.
The objective of this Program was to showcase original Singapore music and on that note, it was successful. I think we were realistic enough not to expect young Singaporeans to suddenly go gaga over Singapore music but even I did not think that the audience would simply ignore what was happening on stage. An eye opener.
I was sorely tempted to throw in the towel, so to speak, and just give up completely on performing in our moribund music scene. But then I reconsidered that position and decided to go the other way. In fact, from now on, I will only play ‘protest songs’ that is, songs only about Singapore – no more love songs whatsoever – and be in everyone’s face!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Noise/NAC and Timbre for giving me the opportunity to work on this special project. Kudos especially to Danny Loong whose belief in and passion for Singapore music continues to inspire me. Danny, you’re my hero! Hopefully, there will be more opportunities to crack our heads on the wall of ambivalence that is the Singapore music audience.
So. The road ahead is simple. No more free gigs. No more love songs. What you see is what you get. Thank you and good night!
Sing us a love note! Timbre Music Academy, by Timbre Group, and the Singapore Writers Festival (SWF) bring you Poetry of Song! Win a chance to work with professional singer-songwriters from Timbre Music Academy, who will work with you to turn your poem to a song.
The theme is ‘Love Notes’, so write one to your special someone, your evil ex, your mum or your BFF – as long as it’s a poem - and email it to HYPERLINK “mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org” email@example.com with your full name (as in NRIC) and mobile number.
Five shortlisted poems will be turned into songs and showcased on the SWF website. The most popular song will be performed live at SWF in October. Better yet, there’s $1,500 worth of prize money at stake for the most popular song!
Submissions open on 27 July 2011 and will close on 5 September 2011.
You may dismiss my next statement as mere hyperbole (won’t be the first time!) and music snobbery (guilty as charged!) but I believe that the upcoming Timbre Rock and Roots Festival is probably the most substantial music festival ever seen on our shores! Not only have the organizers managed to provide a fairly eclectic lineup but have also made the list of artists/bands relevant to its core concept i.e. ROCK and ROOTS. Almost having your cake and eating it!
There is a welcome lack of hipster posturing, commercial pandering and inconsequential filler that plagued the recent SINGfests and Laneway Festivals. There is just no arguing with the stature and substance of artists like Bob Dylan, John Legend, Imogen Heap, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Trombone Shorty and Toots & the Maytals. Each one is a leader in their own musical field, besides selling millions of records as well, if one needed to convinced any further.
So, Timbre Rock and Roots receives my highest recommendation, if there’s one music event that should not be missed this year, THIS IS THE ONE! Tickets are still available, so get yours now!
Another packed crowd at Timbre at the Substation witnessed the 2nd edition of the Noise-Timbre Singer-Songwriter Programme. In truth, the majority of the Timbre patrons may have been present for the excellent pizzas rather than the Programme itself but the whole point of the Programme is to expose Singapore songwriting (and songwriters) to audiences unfamiliar with it and so on that count, the Programme has certainly achieved its aim, thus far.
There have been a couple of drummers in rock history who have vacated the drum seat to step up in front to take the lead role – most notably Don Henley (Eagles) and Phil Collins (Genesis). Well, Deon is probably previously best known for drumming with S-ROCK outfit Flybar but has now well and truly put himself out there as a singer-songwriter in his right. And on this debut ‘demo’ EP, Deon demonstrates that he has made the right decision in doing so. Indeed, the S-ROCK scene has been made richer as a result.
It’s interesting that Deon has labelled Letters as a ‘demo’ release – perhaps to scale down expectations somewhat (?) – cos to these ears, Letters can be easily considered a ‘proper’ EP release (whatever that means). So please don’t let that self-effacing manner fool you, Letters is a well produced, well performed and well written debut.
Since discovering he actually could sing (according to Deon, whilst studying in Berklee College of Music), it’s obvious that Deon has taken his new vocation (as a singer-songwriter) seriously and has applied his skill and talents in the crafting of these four tracks (five, plus the ‘hidden’ track, Higher). Simply put, Deon’s songwriting is of the pleasing commercial variety with strong references to the British soft-rock of Travis, Coldplay and Keane – in other words, radio-friendly alternative rock. There is a good balance between faux-classical piano dynamics and acoustic guitar ambience that certainly is reminiscent of Chris Martin’s songwriting choices.
All told, Letters is an excellent debut – although probably more variation in styles might have expanded the palette a little. But taken as a first effort, Letters is ample evidence of Deon’s potential as a singer-songwriter of note.
You can listen/download the EP below.
Deon will be performing his original songs at the Noise-Timbre Singer-Songwriter Programme at Timbre @ Substation on Wed, 23rd March, together with Saiful (of the Great Spy Experiement) and yours truly. Don’t miss it!
You’re coming back to Singapore! What was it like playing in Singapore 1st time around?
Well, it was very brief sadly. We didn’t really see much of the town but looking forward to coming back this time and spending a little bit more time there. It was one of the most beautiful concert halls I’ve played in, no doubt I really saw that but it was a flying visit. But on this occasion I might come a couple of days early on my own. The band will join me the day before the gig. I’m also coming back to do a concert called Music Matters on the 26th of May, so I’ll probably spend a few days there then as well. I’m doing a talk and a workshop.
You could say that this event was almost a year in the making. Having spoken to Timbre co-founder Danny Loong about a dedicated programme for Singapore singer-songwriters in March 2010, it was very satisfactory to finally stand on the Timbre stage and host this event. Happy to say that the venue was packed and particularly so to see my RP students (viz Bryan, Linqi, Emily and Peiqi) turn up as well! In addition, the support of Noise Singapore has been invaluable to the cause.
Here we go! Top of the must-see musical events coming up in the schedule packed months ahead is the Timbre Rock & Roots festival to be held on April 15th & 16th at the Marina Promenade. Co-organized by Timbre Music and Bluesfest, the lineup is probably one of the most credible for true-blue music lovers ever seen on our shores – Bob Dylan, John Legend, Imogen Heap, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Toots and the Maytal, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue (and our very own Raw Earth) – *whew*!
As you might expect, Power of Pop will be there in the trenches to bring you the lowdown on the festival, interviews with artists and perhaps a couple of choice reasons why you should be attending. First up, we will be talking to British singer-songwriter Imogen Heap soon, so look out for that interview at the Power of Pop.
I am counting on all you Power of Pop regulars to be at Timbre @ Substation in force to support this landmark event – let’s show everyone that Singapore songwriting is worth the time, effort and $$$! Not forgetting also the Noise music showcases. A good S-ROCK week, all told!
Come up and say hi – take a photo with me and I will post it here on Power of Pop!
Well, that was the year that was 2010. Time to put it all behind and look forward to 2011.
What is there to look forward to? On the local music front, we can expect albums from The Cheating Sons (above), Caracal, King Kong Jane, Cove Red and Lunarin. In addition, TypeWriter will be playing Esplanade Recital Studio on 28th Jan.
A couple of days ago, I was interviewed by The New Paper regarding the Noise-Timbre Singer-Songwriter Programme and was asked if I had any tips for aspiring singer-songwriters to be noticed in this Programme. Well, one tip is of course to watch, listen and learn from people who write good songs and perform them well on youtube. Alright, I have made this process a little easier for you – check out the examples below.
Why do I believe so strongly that the development of songwriting in Singapore is crucial to the “saving” of the Singapore music scene? There are many reasons but chief amongst which is the idea that in order to establish a unique Singaporean culture and identity for Singapore music, we must have our OWN songs! Makes sense, doesn’t it? What about the homegrown Chinese, Malay and Indian songs that already exist? Well and good, of course, but we do business in English, we teach in English and by and large we converse in English (or Singlish, same difference) AND we are entertained in English, so it’s not enough. We need our OWN English songs!
This programme is an excellent collaboration between the Noise Singapore and Timbre Music Academy and a good opportunity for aspiring singer-songwriters to be heard. Not only because I have been fighting for something like this for a couple of years (and thus I am deeply involved) but also because this programme is a welcome shot in the arm for the S-ROCK scene! Kudos to National Arts Council and Timbre Music for sticking their collective necks out to invest time, money and effort in our music scene. So my message to all singer-songwriters out there, send a strong message to the movers and shakers out there (whether on the government or commercial side of the fence) that this is the sort of programme YOU want and submit those songs and videos now. We will be waiting for you…
SINGAPORE, 13 DEC 2010 – What do Zee Avi and David Choi have in common? They were both made famous thanks to YouTube. The phenomenon that is the video-sharing website has paved the road to fame for a rare, talented few and has inspired many others to upload their own homemade videos for a chance at making it big.
To help aspiring local musicians be heard amidst the clutter of the massively crowded YouTube, Noise Singapore and Timbre are launching a platform to provide young, talented singer-songwriters in Singapore with the first step to becoming the next big thing. The Noise-Timbre Singer-Songwriter Programme, which opens on 14 December 2011, aims to uncover unknown gems on YouTube and have them trained by top musicians in Singapore before giving them the chance to perform live at Timbre @ The Substation.
“The Noise-Timbre Singer-Songwriter programme provides young Singaporeans with the rare opportunity to perform at a popular music venue, and at the same time receive training by music professionals. That is essentially what Noise Singapore aims to do – provide youths with opportunities to learn and showcase their talent,” said Ms Chua Ai Liang, Director, Arts Engagement, National Arts Council.
We (Pat, Ray, Tim and I) will be POPLAND for one more time tomorrow (21st Nov) night at the Timbre @ The Substation from 7.15pm to 8pm. It’s been an absolute blast jamming with the guys these last three weeks and I think it’s going to be a grand old show, loud and bittersweet at the same time. For us, it’s been about catching up, talking nostalgically about the gigs we’ve done before. So I am hoping that it’ll be the same for anyone who has seen POPLAND live from 1995 to 2002. Come on down and share with us your memories. If you have any of THE CROWD or POPLAND CDs (or even WATCHMEN!), bring them along and we’re gladly deface them for you!! Come down armed with cameras to record us for posterity (videos even). I will probably bring with me a couple of Groovy CDs in case anyone does not have a copy yet. See me after the show – $10 cheap! Then we’ll autograph it for you. Yes, boys and girls, it is going to be a special reunion for us all.
I just want to take this opportunity to thank Danny Loong and Edward Chia (and Seow Yee) for allowing POPLAND to hijack Timbre’s 5th Anniversary celebrations in this manner! If that was not enough, we also have great S-ROCK bands like the GREAT SPY EXPERIMENT, ZERO SEQUENCE and B-QUARTET on the bill as well!!!! What more could you ask for, music lovers?!
Let me get this off my chest right from the get-go. The best way to enjoy J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek Into Darkness is to watch it in IMAX 3D, switch your brain off and simply enjoy the ride. The visual spectacle should be able to remove all your concerns about plot holes, character motivations and […]
Will be in England with TypeWriter for the next two weeks. Back on 20th May. In the meantime, come and visit Power of Pop as often as you can – there’s still loads of content here for you to explore. Cheers, Kevin […]
This is special. I’ve first came across Esther Lowless back in 2007 as the frontperson of the now-defunct Indus Gendi and was duly impressed by her vocals, songwriting and keyboard playing. With respect to the last matter, enough to have her on board as part of The Groovy People and she contributed amazing vocal […]
The 90s alt-rock revival continues apace with singer-songwriter Sam Page weighing in with a knowing album of edgy melodic rock n’ roll numbers that bring to mind the likes of Dinosaur Jr, Gumball, Sebadoh and Buffalo Tom. There’s little doubt that J Mascis weighs in heavily as a positive influence on Page’s work as evidenced […]
Iron Man 2 was only half a movie, in my humble opinion. The first half was quick-paced and exhilarating but then the wheels came off and the movie came to a tired conclusion. The sequel did well at the box office but one sensed that director Jon Favreau had lost interested in the franchise that he had […]
A promising sign of a developing indie music scene is the ability to embrace different styles of music where the key factor is not ‘genre’ but an appreciation of ‘good’ music. Melodic pop-rock quartet Tricks & Cider is a wonderful example of this. I first met singer-songwriter-guitarist Victoria Ho (above, far left) a few years […]
Last Friday (19th April) Fred Perry launched a vinyl exhibition at the Fred Perry Laurel Wreath Collection Shop, held in conjunction with Record Store Day, which is curated by #vinyloftheday and record store Vinylicious and showcases over 100 exclusive vinyl editions alongside all-time favourites. For me personally, it was a strange experience to find vinyl […]
Thursday’s (April 18th) S-ROCK gig at Night & Day Bar was significant for two things. One, it was the debut performance of Bored Spies (Cherie Ko, Sooyoung Park, Orestes Morfin & Adel Rashid) and two, it was the final performance (before a short hiatus) of everyone’s favourite spector-gaze band, Obedient Wives Club. Of course, most […]
Multi-platinum selling singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles has revealed the title to her highly anticipated third studio album, The Blessed Unrest, which is set for release on July 16th through Epic Records. The album’s first single, “Brave,” was co-written by Jack Antonoff from the band fun. and will be released at all digital retailers next Tuesday, April [. […]
“Beyond the Ashes” is the second teaser off the upcoming album, EMO FASCISM – due in August. Catch Kevin Mathews/The Groovy People play “Beyond the Ashes” next Friday, April 26th at Identite 9.3 – KAMCO MUSIC at Home Club from 8pm. Cover is $12 (one free housepour and free entry to Kicks! afterwards). Also on […]