For a singer-songwriter who grew up in the Noughties, the influences of Damien Rice and John Mayer cast longish shadows on one’s own music making. That’s neither here or there, in the final analysis, it’s what one does with your inspirations that counts.
Take Jon Chan (aka JAWN) for example. Listening to the songs on his debut EP, the weight of Rice and Mayer is inescapable but equally true is the fact that JAWN’s own unique sensibilities are on show as well.
In all my interactions with this young man, I found him to be multi-talented, humorous, generous & humble. His self-deprecating manner belies the massive creativity that resides underneath.
The five songs on this eponymous EP reflects all that I described above about JAWN. There is a maturity in the songwriting and performance that demands respect and commands admiration for its unwavering commitment to excellence.
“Gold” strikes the listener with its naked emotion, in “Fugue” a sense of despairing fog is conjured & for the atmospheric “Chase”, a melancholy beauty.
Much of the credit for this achievement goes to producer Roland Lim for constructing these dream-like soundscapes that make the best of JAWN and the stellar musicians on board. On the other hand, an observer might remark that some of the arrangements echo Lim’s previous work with Gentle Bones, though that is a minor quibble.
One might even argue that a distinctive Singapore indie folk sound is slowly but steadily emerging with JAWN, Gentle Bones, Jaime Wong, The Little Giant, Theodora et al setting the tone for others to emulate.
In this context, JAWN’s debut EP has set the bar high enough to keep this SG indie folk scene on their toes and stretching out for better things.
JAWN launches his EP on 13th November. Tickets available from www.jawnchan.com/mymusic.