By Jocelle Koh
Photo credit: Photos by Alvin Ho, Courtesy of Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay.
On a blazing hot Saturday afternoon in sunny Singapore, I was glad for a chance to duck into the cool darkness of the Esplanade Annexe Studio, where a sizeable, dedicated crowd eagerly awaited Asian-Australian R&B artist Julia Wu’s first showcase in the country. The singer-songwriter, who skyrocketed into visibility with her collaboration with rapper Kumachan and beatmaker rgry “買榜Mybong” and her chill, smooth R&B offerings was flanked onstage by an intimate band of MC (rgry) and keyboardist (Elin Lee).
Introduced through a witty selection of puns by MC rgry (See: Julia WOOO), the leggy 24 year-old took to the stage in a Adidas sweatshirt and jean shorts, and launched straight into “事後” mixed with classic “夜晚”; grooving and shaking with the best of them. Over the hour-long performance, the singer joked with her fans about how Singapore seemed so much like Australia to her (I think someone just misses home), and shared unique titbits about her experiences in Taiwan with the audience in English.
Not only was the intimate setting a new and valuable experience for Julia, but the chance to vary her set list and sing songs of hers she had always wanted to perform also presented itself with this showcase. Other than soulfully singing pared down versions of popular tracks such as “為你我受冷風吹” and “萬年”; Julia wowed with several lesser-performed tracks of hers such as one of her earliest works “H.E.N.R.Y” with producer Terry Lee; and even threw in an acoustic set, performing lesser-known work “Sea” and a song from her first album “Need U Now”.