By Jocelle Koh
Graphic Design by Allison Sun
We fell in love with Taiwanese R&B outfit Sugarcat back in 2017, back when they were just a two-person unit composed of A-lan (lead vocalist, guitarist) and Gao Zhen (lead vocalist, drummer). Releasing songs in a familiarly cheerful vein of R&B but with a new twist, the guys were a hit with me, and continued to be as they toyed with different iterations of East-meets-West fusions within their amiable sound across a myriad of singles.
So when their debut self-titled album ‘Sugarcat’ came out earlier this year, seeing the boys debuting this time with a full band, I had to get in on the action and pick their brains. I was particularly curious about what it was which led them to experiment with East-meets-West R&B that felt very much like a revamp of the early works of Jay Chou, David Tao and Khalil Fong; and it seems that our guesses at their musical influences weren’t far off the mark at all.
“We didn’t consciously try to emphasise East-meets-West in our music, especially since this style has been done before (Khalil Fong, David Tao, Jay Chou…), of course we have been deeply influenced by them. I think you could say that since we grew up nurtured by Mandarin music while exploring overseas classics as we grow; through listening discovery and practicing our instruments, this has slowly had a big influence on our musical logic.”
By Jocelle Koh
Graphic Design by Allison Sun
Mulling over things after concluding my phone interview with singer-songwriter Diana Wang, I realised that the alternative R&B darling is (to the best of my recollection) the only artist whom I’ve interviewed three times*. Multiple interviews are a rare occurrence for various reasons, but the most pertinent one being that we only write features when we feel there’s a story there that needs to be told.
Wang is like a cat with nine lives; constantly reinventing, constantly reimagining and constructing new possibilities for herself as an artist. As a result, with each new body of work it seems there are always new stories to be told and new perspectives to be unearthed. So I was particularly looking forward to chatting with the Netherlands-born artist and diving deep into the experiences that lay behind her latest mini album ‘Moon’.
If her last album ‘Poem’ with FU MUSIC was a curated reintroduction to Diana Wang, Wang’s latest body of work ‘Moon’ reveals a deeper, more introverted side to the demure diasporic artist.
As the inaugural Taiwanese Waves showcase at New York City’s Summerstage draws close for the fourth year, this year’s line-up is spectacularly and regally feminine in nature. Nicknamed ‘Taiwanese Baes’, the event has chosen to feature some of the most unique and empowering female artists the scene has to offer, including unique up-and-comer 9m88 and Aboriginal powerhouse Abao, as well as pioneers in the indie rock and pop scenes respectively; Tizzy Bac and OneFang (Wanfang).
All with their own stories to tell, the four acts come together in the city that never sleeps to bring a diverse audience a new sense of what it means to be a female artist who is part of the Taiwanese music scene in this day and age. Read on to hear more about their thoughts on New York City, and what to expect from this years’ festivities.
1: Impressions of New York
Hui-Ting (Tizzy Bac): City of the world (laugh)
9m88: A really big, smelly, and culture dimensional city that a lot of fun things happen.
Wan-Fang: My impression of New York is that many people go to New York to find his or her true-self, searching for dreams and search for who they really are. When we throw ourselves in New York, it’s like we are nothing so that we can feel the true-self and the most original stage of ourselves. By seeing people from around the world, I think it’s a process that you can understand some things.
ABAO: It’s a fashion city.
2: How many times have you been to New York? What are you looking forward to do in New York?
Hui-Ting (Tizzy Bac): This is my first time going to New York. I will go to MOMA and the Metropolitan Museum of Art first, and then the next thing is to go to "Sleep No More".
9m88: I've been to New York a lot. It's a bit nervous for me to come back to New York because it's my first time coming back ever since I left at the end of last year. I feel a bit of resistant. Don't know how my feelings will be, but I have a lot of good friends that I miss in New York, really looking forward to seeing them.
Wan-Fang: I haven't counted how many times. I will stay a few days longer, but I'm not sure what I will do, I want to see what is happening in this city. I want to see what would happen if I just throw myself in New York. No special plans to do anything.
ABAO: This is my first time going to New York. I want to go find some elements that is related to Soul music, go see some performance and street dancing parties.
By Jocelle Koh
Malaysian singer-songwriter Evangeline Wong has always been full of surprises. After the critically-acclaimed release of her debut album 'Wilder 框不住的艷薇', the limitless vocalist and songwriter seems to be continuing on her path of self-discovery as reflected in her latest single 'Already Forgotten 其實我們都忘了’. We had a hard-and-fast Q&A session with the budding artist , going deep on the theme of 'remembering' which she touches on in this experimental and hard-hitting new single.
1. Your new song “Already Forgotten” is really different from your past works. Can you share the inspiration behind your lyrics?
Empathy is something that my mother has taught me since I was young. This empathy and responsibility to speak out for others is something I wanted to put in this song. Putting my life, from owning nothing to something and my feelings about others into this song.
2. This song is about forgetting to treasure every moment. Can you share with us three things you think people shouldn’t forget?
One-Don’t forget about yourself
Two-Don’t forget the good in others
Three-Don’t forget to be grateful for everything you have