By Jocelle Koh
Design by Allison Sun
Upon interviewing her, we found that Yoyo Sham’s personality is just like her music; mellow, comfortable, and always thoughtful. Although the end of 2018 saw her just releasing her second album, the Jazz/Folk/Pop artist has already made her mark on the Mandarin music industry in more ways than one; boasting a lengthy track record as a professional backing vocalist for the likes of Khalil Fong and Eason Chan, and showing her apparent flair for blending genres and languages into her easy songwriting style.
“I tend to look for comfort in music. I also look for stimulation and inspiration, of course... But I seldom use music to…I wanted to say I seldom use music to express anger or frustration, but I’m learning to as well… I think I tend to like music that makes me comfortable … it’s just natural for me, it’s not something I try very hard to achieve, it’s just how I am.”
Yet her latest album ‘Nothing is Under Control’ sees an evolution of Sham’s uniquely chilled sound; sometimes into more lively, cheeky, territory; whilst reprising and improving on her relaxing jazz/folk offerings. Riding the highs and lows of life, Sham takes us on a journey of the unexpected-no matter how we perceive the latter.
“Nothing is under control is something I find true in many, many circumstances (laughs) ... And I actually took this out of one of the lyrics in the song ‘Ride’. So the whole line was ‘freedom is simply seeing, nothing is under control, gotta learn to let go’… it’s like … something for everyone to reflect on. So when you see the title ’Nothing is under control’ , how do you react? I wanna throw that out there for people to react and reflect on themselves…it’s a neutral concept for me…I like throwing out things to provoke reflections (laughs).”
‘Ride’; as one of the core songs on Yoyo’s album has a bohemian feel à la Corinne Bailey Rae, and skilfully penned lyrics that delicately capture the vivid beauty of letting the chips fall where they may.
“I’m really happy to have a song like that, I’ve always wanted to have a song like ride that kind of…is kind of comforting, and it’s like a reminder for me, the things that’s said and its positive, I like the vibe of the song, its earthy, keeps going.”
By Jocelle Koh
Thumbnail Design by Allison Sun
Photos Courtesy of Esplanade - Theatres By The Bay
When asked what it is that inspires him to create; Mandopop dark horse Khalil Fong’s answer was succinct, but universally meaningful.
“There are various reasons but I guess primarily a sense of responsibility to the art itself.”
Khalil's position in the Mandarin music industry has always been unique. Whilst the likes of Jay Chou and Wang Leehom are crowned Mandarin pop royalty, the title sounds a little off when applied to Fong, who just seems to be legendary in his own way. In fact, his thoughts on responsibility seem to echo in the path of a certain arachnid superhero.
Indeed, the 35 year-old musical mastermind has fought an uphill battle ever since his debut almost a decade and a half ago; first pioneering the incorporation of R&B, Soul, Funk and Blues into Mandarin pop music. But even now, Fong continues to incorporate an attitude of diligence and social responsibility into his ever-growing body of work.
“I’ve always considered myself a world citizen and my musical tastes are quite eclectic. I think I’m always working my way towards the blending of ideas and cultures whether consciously or subconsciously.”