[Live Review] Calling In::Music Feat. Waa Wei魏如萱, Hello Nico, Boon Hui Lu文慧如 & More @ The Esplanade Singapore (9-10/6/18)
By Stella Soon
Photographs by Jenn Seah and Stella Soon unless otherwise stated
Kowen Ko (柯智棠)’s raspy, soulful vocals. Hello Nico’s throbbing rock tunes. And Waa Wei (魏如萱)’s hit songs that roused everyone to a head-bobbing, torchlight-waving crowd.
Those were the highlights of Calling in::music (呼叫好 in::樂), a Mandarin indie pop music showcase held at Singapore’s Esplanade Annexe Studio on 9 and 10 June.
A first-time collaboration between Singapore’s in::music and Taiwan’s Calling Music Festival, the two-night showcase saw eight Singaporean and Taiwanese musicians take to the stage for an hour each.
Day 1 - Kowen Ko, Hello Nico, Boon Hui Lu, Zooey Wonder
Kowen Ko (柯智棠)
Leading the night’s performances was Kowen Ko (柯智棠). The 28-year-old’s husky, soulful voice rang out tunes to crowd favourite songs and his new jams alike.
But while the Taiwanese singer-songwriter’s popular tracks, like “If You Still Wander 你不真的想流浪” and “It Was May”, were met with loud cheers from the enthusiastic audience, it was songs on his new album that got me excited. Look out for “Man Without A Mission” when it drops next month!
Zooey Wonder (黃玠瑋)
Hi everyone! It’s been a while since I last updated this blog, but as I write this, I’m sitting on a plane to Seoul, South Korea for a short holiday! Then I’ll be heading to Taiwan to work for a few weeks. All in all, let’s just say it’s been a busy six months for me. For the last 10 months, I’ve been working on my thesis, which is on the Taiwanese music industry and how it can be internationally successful by applying marketing strategy to the government’s policies. I’m so excited to share it with everyone, but there’s still a bit of red tape so I’m still unable to share it at this point in time! But the thesis is truly my baby! Although many friends and peers find my decision to do honours questionable, to me it was something I have always wanted to do. Essentially, I decided to do honours because it was kind of like an exercise in patience and discipline. I often have a tendency to work too fast and tend towards desiring immediate gratification. For example, this blog post may be done in under an hour and I’d already feel accomplished even though I didn’t put that much work in. I believed (and still do) that writing my thesis would truly be instrumental in teaching me to be patient when I embark on larger projects in the future. It also happened to be a huge time management and organisational feat which certainly enhanced my skills for the future too!
The second reason I decided to do my thesis was that I wanted to make an academic contribution to writings on the Taiwanese music industry. I’ve actually been studying and researching the Taiwanese music industry for about two years since my undergrad days (I was very lucky to have teachers who were supportive of my passion), and from that research, my main conclusion was that there weren’t enough writings on the Taiwanese music industry available. Pitifully few, I might add. Although many people have told me that they see very little value in academic work, I on the other hand find it to be immensely valuable. If you think about it, all knowledge comes from research. And all research has to be carefully handled so that it can lead to trends and those trends have the potential to eventually turn into facts and become part of history. Although writing opinion articles and news articles and dabbling in various formats of journalism has been especially helpful for me as I traverse the Taiwanese music industry, I’ve always felt that it just wasn’t enough. The question of how Taiwanese music (or Chinese language music) in general can be promoted to wider audiences has been on my mind for probably the last decade. And although I’ve desperately yearned for answers, trying every possible avenue I could and doing my research, there was nothing that could give me the answer I wanted. So as usual, I decided to create my own, in the form of this thesis. Suffice to say, it has furthered my knowledge and managed to an extent confirm my hypotheses for me (that Taiwanese music is indeed valuable and deserving of international promotion), but there is still so much to be done before I can find a full answer to such a question.
Nevertheless, I have learnt so much and pushed my boundaries so much farther with this thesis and I am proud of myself for it! So for those of you out there pondering post-graduate study, my advice would be-only do it if you’re truly interested! If you do, that’s when the work becomes fun and research just light reading. If anyone has any other questions about my post-graduate experience or would like me to expand more, feel free to let me know! I really look forward to being able to share my thesis, so watch this space! I've attached one of the songs I referred to in my thesis for you to listen to. Can you guess why I mentioned it?
Asian Pop Weekly Creator
Now back from my travels, I use this now as a blog to document any live reviews, and personal experiences related to our collective passion for Asian identity and Chinese music.