By Stella Soon
Jazz/Urban singer-songwriter 9m88 will be releasing her debut album, ‘Beyond Mediocrity 平庸之上’, on 8 August 2019!
9m88 (also known as Baba) has been active in the Mandopop indie scene since 2016, racking up collaborations with other Mandopop artists like Sodagreen’s Wu Qing Feng, OZI, and rapper Leo Wang. But her upcoming album drop will mark her first foray beyond these features.
'Beyond Mediocrity' is an independent release by Baba. She got her hands dirty in every stage of the creative process, from producing, marketing, to distribution.
“I wrote these songs under uncertainty about life ... ‘Beyond Mediocrity’ could mean a transcendent set of mind; it could also be moving beyond a goal in life,” 9m88 said on a Facebook post announcing the album release.
Earlier this week, Baba released the MV for 'Love Rain 愛情雨', one of the songs on her upcoming album. She busts out slick dance moves in the video, set to a track oozing retro vibes.
[MV Premiere] Experimental J-pop/World Music Drifter Aya Safiya Releases New Single '別れ歌 (Wakare-uta)'
Japanese-American singer-songwriter Aya Safiya takes a musical deep dive into rediscovering her heritage with new single '別れ歌 Wakare -Uta'.
Previously performing more in the World music genre - Balkan and Mediterranean music to be exact - the creative has often struggled to reconcile her many interests and diverse heritage. However on this latest track, Safiya shares that she feels she's hit some new ground.
"I perform in so many different genres and projects... I’ve been excited about this task because juggling them all has become overwhelming and disorganized...as I continued to brainstorm how I would best represent my music/brand I started to think bringing in the Japanese element actually might tie everything together since it’s singer-songwriter and pop like my music in English, but “worldly” like the Mediterranean and Balkan music I sing."
Karen Mok 莫文蔚 Brings Last Big Pop Concert To Singapore; Announces Future Forages Into Musical Theatre
By Jocelle Koh
Resplendent in a flowing red summer dress, Hong Kong Diva Karen Mok took to the stage at a press conference at Singapore's Capitol Kempinski hotel to chat about the upcoming Singapore stop on her 25th anniversary tour 'The Ultimate Karen Mok Show'.
Said by Mok to be the "last pop concert tour" she's ever going to do before moving onto new musical pursuits; as per the wordplay on the tour's name, the youthful veteran says that she's pulling out all the stops on her final hurrah.
As the creative director of this world tour, Mok says that she has always had ideas since she was a little girl, and the stage has always been her choice of platform to execute them on.
From including a fusion of western and oriental elements into her performances to incorporating localised elements into each stop of her tour such as noodle-pulling, Mok says: "everything signature, things that won't be done again in the future (will be included in this concert)".
As for what the seasoned world-class performer has planned for after what she calls her "last big pop concert", the hardworking performer says that she will never retire, and has plans to expand her career to creating a Chinese form of musical theatre.
When asked why this is something she's passionate about, Karen shared about her passion for challenging herself and for the artform itself:
“Well I think it’s the most challenging of all the different kinds of performing arts because musically you have to be able to sing, and dance, and dance, and do it live - every night (laughs), that is quite tough. And also because during my years in London i would go watch a lot of musicals and I actually even auditioned for Miss Saigon, so it’s kind of like something on my wish list."
As for why she's particularly interested in creating a Chinese form of musical theatre, the pioneer once again looks to her roots for creative direction.
“I feel that for our industry here, we really should have our own form of … musical theatre, because just like how London has the West End and New York has Broadway, I think … Greater China is big enough to have our own version of Broadway. So I hope i’ll be able to do something to make this happen one day.”
Musical theatre or on the pop circuit, Karen Mok has never been someone to follow the trend, but to lead it with grace and strength. So as she closes the door on this chapter and opens the next, what better way to pay homage than to be part of the Singapore stop of her tour, or the next closest one to you?
THE ULTIMATE KAREN MOK SHOW IN SINGAPORE
Date: 15 June 2019 (Sat), 8pm
Venue: Singapore Indoor Stadium
Tickets: $228, $198, $168, $138, $108 (excludes booking fee)
Booking Hotline: +65 3158 7888
Also available at Singapore Indoor Stadium and all SINGPOST Islandwide
By Jocelle Koh
Third-culture kid Takkin 德堅 has set his creative axis onto another trajectory with his debut single 'Stay Together'; released both with English and Mandarin versions.
The young creative who borrowed his stage name from his father has always moved around; spending his childhood in Singapore, Hong Kong, Rochester and Michigan. Now based in NYC, music has always been his grounding force; something that is clearly evident in the uniquely chilled and layered atmosphere he's created within his new single 'Stay Together'.
“It’s accessible, and it has a pulse that many can identify with: a positive message heralding the value of longevity in relationship. Things can be fixed. Nothing is beyond repair. It showcases the movement of the narrative and highlights the unique vocal delivery. It’s my flag in the ground; my way of saying: I’m here to stay.“
Previously releasing with a three-piece folk band Northern, Takkin turned his focus onto his own cultural identity and exploring it through his music when a dear member of the band moved away. Of the change in direction, Takkin says:
"Creating music influenced by my own heritage has been an exciting change. There’s a stir of new energy in the air, in the ground. The world is opening up to Asian artists, especially more so in the United States. People are eager for new faces, new interpretations, new formulas. I feel the pulse. I’m here to answer the call."
With the vocals of a learned crooner (very Eric Chou styles) and melodic hooks which subtly catch your attention and reel you in, 'Stay Together' is a sensitive, beautifully haunting R&B/Soul piece which you won't soon forget.
Listen to Takkin's new single 'Stay Together', now out on all major streaming platforms including Spotify, Apple Music, and Soundcloud. Follow Takkin on all his social medias (Facebook, Instagram) to stay tuned for his upcoming regular releases!
The reigning Queen of Mandopop Jolin Tsai 蔡依林 released the MV for Life Sucks 消极掰, the third MV from her wildly successful 2018 album UGLY BEAUTY, on March 12.
Life Sucks is a realistic and relatable social empowerment anthem, refuting the idea that life is entirely positive, and that it's okay to feel that the world is against you and validates the desire to stew in your negativity for some time.
After all, if you can't take time to reflect on the bad, how can you truly appreciate the good?
The video provides a birds-eye perspective of Jolin and a number of people from all walks of life - from boxer to office worker - giving the impression that all these people are weighed down by the troubles in their life.
Following Jolin's encouraging words, they are all finally able to stand up and move on. A visual treat (as we have come to expect from Jolin); the video even appears to channel mid-00s Kylie Minogue .
Watch the video for Life Sucks below.