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
Hot off the heels of her debut EP 'Kintsugi', Singaporean singer-songwriter and jack of all trades Adia Tay has added to the immersive story surrounding the body of work, premiering a stunningly curated music video for second single 'Kabukicho'.
The 'Kabukicho Love Hotel' inspired video is directed by Adia herself who comes from a film school background. Given the fact that the mesmerising single was inspired by the very same movie, it makes sense that the aesthetics for the music video follow in similar footsteps.
Of her film school background and how that inspired her interest in visualising her music, Adia says:
"My time spent in film school has made such an impact on the way I’ve thought about my music. In a sense, I feel the message of “Kabukicho” is not sufficiently put across with just a song though the song is complete in itself...Time in film school gave me a love for very real stories captured on screen by auteurs and cinematographers who work their asses off presenting and amplifying life in its truest form...I wanted the MV to tell a very real story that would carry a deep filmic quality, and not just be a montage of striking visuals."
A critically-acclaimed film released in 2014 which tells the story of individuals whose lives revolve around a seedy love hotel in Kabukicho, Tokyo; Adia explains why she was so inspired by the film; both in terms of its message and the way it was captured visually, and how this translated into her music and visuals.
"The film “Kabukicho Love Hotel” has impacted me in such a deep way- from the film’s very real stories (there are multiple story lines in the film following the various characters), to the wonderfully performances, and of course, the very striking imagery... I include most of the main characters (we dressed them as closely to the characters in the film) and present a remake of some of the most beautiful parts of the film. My cinematographer came up with the great idea to include me in it to tie the various scenes together- Which is why I appear as a voyeur and hotel staff here...It’s a film that captures the deep complexities of humanity and love."
From the song's light, meandering yet thoughtful pace to the strikingly unique and Japanese-inspired visuals that can be seen throughout the music video, 'Kabukicho' is a homage in the best way possible, preserving messages in a transformative and unique way.
'Kabukicho's music video is available on YouTube, with the single available on all streaming platforms as part of Adia Tay's EP 'Kintsugi'. Be sure to follow Adia on her Facebook or Instagram for more information.
Asian-American YouTube sweetheart Kina Grannis has recently announced that she will be holding a showcase in Singapore on the 18th of June at Hood bar and cafe at 7pm.
The last time she was supposed to come to Singapore on tour, she along with Singaporean singer-songwriter Gentle Bones and several others were held in Jakarta due to issues with their performance permit.
This time, she'll be in Singapore filming for the upcoming film adaptation of the novel Crazy Rich Asians, and decided to make up for lost time with a gig here while she was at it!
During the performance Kina will be playing some of her new songs as well as old favourites such as Valentine, and will be headlining alongside opening acts such as Imaginary Future and The Facade.
Doors open at 7pm, and tickets are going for $68 a pop. See you there!
Find out more about Kina's Singapore performance on her website, and get tickets here.
Kina's message to Singapore fans!
Listen to Kina's new single "When will I learn"
Attention all music lovers in Singapore! Remember the notion of those headbanging, indie rock concerts that used to exist before all this K-Pop nonsense started? Well in fact, they do still exist, and the band that does it best in my opinion is coming right to your doorstep to ensure you a night of rocking tunes and a hell of a lot of headbanging.
Taiwanese indie rock band Gigantic Roar although young entries into a thriving and competitive independent music scene, have snowballed critical acclaim since the release of their first official EP “Climbing up the birdy tower” in 2014. Upon entering the scene, the newcomers were even nominated for ‘Best Live Performance’ that year at the prestigious Golden Indie Music Awards, before clinching the title the following year when they were nominated once again.
Speaking from experience, I was absolutely amazed at how these four guys were able to get the crowd going with nothing more than their wits about them and a deep, striking passion for music. I’ve been to many concerts, and none have rivalled the electricity their live performances generate; something that comes from pure, unadulterated good music.
They’ll be performing in Singapore on the 14th of December at Switch by Timbre and will also be featuring guest performers Felix Felicis. The latter is a band consisting of an eclectic yet talented mix of musicians from other well known indie bands such as Elephant Gym, Chocolate Tiger, Come on! Bay Bay! as well as one member from Gigantic Roar. The talented quartet have already released their own debut album “A Bunch of Assholes” only six months into their debut as a band, a mean feat in itself. They call themselves a "special project" that may be wrapping up their act soon, so this may be your last chance to experience their unique chemistry in person.
Special guest: Felix Felicis
Certainly, in my opinion any show of Gigantic Roar's is well worth watching; a bunch of young go-getters who have been fed on a diet of some of the best and most creative music that Taiwan has to offer, what more could you want?
With it being their first time in Singapore, show them some love and come support these passionate and dedicated musicians, won’t you?
<em>Gigantic Roar will be performing at Switch! By Timbre in Singapore on the 14th of December at 7pm to 8.30pm. Entrance is free and they will be flanked by guest performers Felix Felicis. </em>
By Jocelle Koh
It was a cool evening as I hurried to Tan Quee Lan street to check out the homecoming stop of SG MUSO’s exhibition Singapore: Inside Out featuring some of the nation’s notable artists and creative types. My friend, an architect by trade strolled lazily through the maze of art instalments in admiration, iPhone at the ready while I scurried ahead with just one aim on my mind: Charlie Lim.
As most readers may be well aware, my expertise clearly lies within music of the Chinese persuasion, so what’s the big deal about this Charlie Lim? The singer-songwriter initially caught my attention with his physical semblance to Hong Kong muso Khalil Fong (Note: VERY much my type), but managed to retain it with his eclectic yet seamless fusion of electro-pop, R&B, soul and rock. But it was in fact his poetic and beautiful lyrics that dealt the final blow, winning me over completely. Intrigued also by his Singaporean-Australian background, seeing him perform live for the first time was definitely on my to-do list for my end-of-year trip back to Singapore.
And Lim certainly did not disappoint. Accompanied by a band of four, he breezed his way through a six-piece set during which he maintained a remarkable equilibrium between technical consistency and musical showmanship that few can master. Between songs, Charlie took the time to interact with the audience, throwing out fast, awkward quips and anecdotes about nothing much in particular which usually tailed off into an undecipherable mumble. Frankly, he doesn’t seem one for small talk, but his efforts certainly endeared him to the audience nonetheless. Though not much of a sweet talker, his vocals and body language albeit subtly yet strongly command the presence of the venue, rendering it that much more intimate.
Kicking off the set with “Pedestal”, a funky and jazz-influenced piece from his debut EP, the performance was off to a festive start. With vocals pumped full of Adam Levine-style masculine sass and band improvs that were hard-hitting and full of bite, the song certainly created a groove that just kept going, leaving audiences on a high long after the song had finished. After somewhat entertaining the crowd with the exploits of his absent band members, Lim jumped into one of the tracks from his latest album Time/Space, “Conspiracy”, which featured his electronically-altered vocals against the backdrop of a rock arrangement, blending the grounded, fast-paced feeling of rock with an ethereal quality in a way that explores the dichotomies of time and space in a simple yet clever way.
His third song, a jazz-soul piece called “What can I do” saw Charlie’s versatile vocals taking the lead, unleashing a more soulful, passionate and spontaneous side to the slight singer that I didn’t know he had. Transforming in an instant from sensitive soft crooner to rough-throated powerhouse, Lim proved to audiences that he was as much a talented and charismatic vocalist as he was a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer. Nicknamed “The Airplane Song”, Charlie went on to perform his first single from his latest Time/Space album “I only tell the truth”, transitioning smoothly back into his cool and collected image. A little pitchy on the high notes at the beginning, I wasn’t too fussed given the amazing crescendo Charlie had pulled off in the previous song. He soon got back into the rhythm of things, backed by an abstract, electronic-themed arrangement that created points of revelation amidst a reflective, timeless yet almost tangible atmosphere.
Nearing the end of his set, Lim performed crowd favourite “Bitter”, a tune with a folky, John Mayer-esque melody, and an arrangement with elements of Jazz, experimental electronica and rock. I especially loved the abrupt slowing down of tempos within the second half of the song which eked emotions out of every single note; entertaining indulgence by seemingly slowing down time. Lim ended the set on a personal favourite of mine, a single from his latest album called “Knots”, bringing his performance to an even more perfect closure. One of the more rock-influenced tracks on his album, its no surprise to those who know me why this was one of my favourites. With a rhythm that never lets up and Charlie’s throaty vocals that are absolutely to die for, what’s not to love?
One of the most important things that I look out for when critiquing any performance is confidence. Not merely how confident the performer is, but how much confidence the audience has in their ability to pull off a successful performance. Music at its core is a form of entertainment, a way for audiences to seek pleasure and relaxation. If the audience feels nervous for the performer, and anticipate their mistakes then in my opinion the performer has failed at their task. With the advent of recording technology, it is now rare to see performers who truly instill confidence in me. However, Charlie Lim is certainly one of the rare few. Cool, calm and collected, Lim radiates a kind of introverted confidence that stems from an unwavering focus and dedication to his music. And that’s enough to keep me coming back for more.
Charlie Lim-I only tell the truth (Music Video)
Charlie Lim will be guesting at Lenka’s Singapore show on the 1st of December. Check out his Facebook for upcoming events and updates. His latest album “Time/Space” is now available on iTunes, Bandcamp and Spotify.
SG Muso's Singapore: Inside Out Live Showcase is on in Singapore now until the 6th of December. Go to their Facebook for more information.
Click "Read More" to see photos from the performance!