We get to know our favourite artists a little better with 10 questions.
Why play music?
Music is beautiful. I’ve always made music as far as I remember – it started from a karaoke set and cheesy 90s hits when I was 6, and then school choirs and a random band or so till my late teens. I started writing when I was studying overseas after being inspired by a friend who rapped the house down during a campus open mic event. I was awed by her freedom and creativity, and have been writing and singing ever since. Writing and making music brings me to another place – sort of acts as an outlet for me to express joy or frustration. It’s also a way for me to chronicle some very important lessons learnt during difficult times.
Who are your influences?
Eva Cassidy, Joni Mitchell, Madeleine Peyroux, Lisa Ono, Beth Orton
What is success?
Being able to give freely without expecting anything in return; not taking offense at anything; using what I have to empower and build others up.
Why should people buy your music?
I’ve heard that it puts crying babies to sleep! (Haha.) But honestly, I’ve had people tell me that it’s been very soothing, or uplifting. Maybe because a lot of the songs were written through difficult times – dealing with loss, love, pain – and I tend to write the perspectives I’ve gained through those times into my songs. My music also carries a range of influences, which might interesting to some: a mosaic of folk with elements of blues, soul, and old school jazz. It also has a huge dose of poetry, because I’m a big fan of words.
Who do you love?
My mom. She’s an absolute gem. She’s a perfect embodiment of unconditional love and patience, and she raised three kids as a single parent. I wish I had half her virtues.
What do you hope to achieve with your music?
I’ve gotten a lot of comfort and release from music of others, so I guess I want my music to do the same for people.’Do What You Have to Do’ (Sarah McLachlan) was on repeat at my first breakup; ‘One Love’ (U2) spoke volumes about humanity; ‘River’ (Emeli Sande) was reassuring for dark days. For some reason, songwriting opportunities that presented themselves so far have also been about supporting good causes – whether social innovation (Global Social Innovators’ Forum) or sports (SEA Games 2015). If my music can bring good vibes to people, I’m content.
Who comes to your gigs?
An eclectic bunch! Friends, people who’ve seen me gig around and those who follow me on social media, a range of people from writers and artists to homemakers to students. I guess anyone who digs this folk-jazz poetic thing!
Name five favourite albums.
Live at Blues Alley – Eva Cassidy
Is Your Love Big Enough? – Lianne La Havas
Let it Die – Feist
Bare Bones – Madeleine Peyroux
A Creation Liturgy – Gungor
Name five favourite songs.
Changes from time to time!
My current list — Dance me to the end of Love (cover) – Madeleine Peyroux
Light Breaks In – Charlie Lim
These Foolish Things (cover) – Ella Fitzgerald
Black Gold – Esperanza Spalding
Alpine – Linying
How did you get here?
Through a series of chance encounters! I’ve always loved and played music, but being able to do it for a while, and sustainably, has been a result of support from various people I’ve met along the way. They’ve believed in me enough to put me on platforms and support my craft, and I would’ve been far less without them.
PS – I’ll be releasing new music in the later half of this year, so do stay tuned!
Catch Jean Tan at Originals Sing @ Artistry on 13th April 2016 from 9pm. Cover charge – $10. Also featuring Sam Driscoll.
… still there’s more …