Contributed by GJ Gonzales and Nicolette Ng
Two songwriters show off their chops, united by a tribute to MJ.
Australia-based Alarice Thio returned to Singapore for the launch of her second album
Sunday Afternoon at the Esplanade Recital Hall. Members of the audience were seen tapping their fingers and feet to her easy listening, upbeat acoustic pop style on songs such as the album’s carrier single, “Sunday Afternoon”. Following her first album Songs For A Season, the latest collection takes on the sounds of Colbie Caillat coupled with the deep and reflective songwriting of Corrinne May. With a little help from the viola and cello, her band delivered a majestic feel to the acoustic balladry.
Born in New Zealand to Singaporean parents, and having grown in many countries such as India, Dubai, Jakarta, Japan, Singapore and finally Australia where she has lived for the past eight years, Thio easily engages people of different cultures. Now based in Sydney, Thio is making waves around the Asia Pacific region with her soul-searching compositions and journal-turned-music album.
Penning down thoughts mostly from her own experiences, Thio beautifully adds in melodies that speak of life’s simple pleasures and a deep appreciation of it. Songs like “Away”, “Colour” and “City On A Hill” resonate with a message that uplifts, coupled with a carefree and energetic spirit.
Thio described her trip to Egypt where she had a glimpse of the Israelites’ journey through the Promised Land, which became the inspiration behind “Part The Seas”. To her, it came as a revelation of faith and hope in trying times as one journeys through life.
She closed the evening with a cover of the King of Pop’s “Man In The Mirror” that caused the crowd to be charmed by the lush, intimate appeal of her vocal delivery.
|PHOTOS: Lorraine Chee, Cristopher Teh
Esplanade Outdoor Theatre
Singaporean singer-songwriter Jon Chong wowed the audience at his first mini-concert, with self-penned songs including the opener “What Is Love.” The original compositions on his album State Of My Mind form an eclectic mix of genres—pop, rock, blues, jazz, funk and soul.
Dressed in a cap and jeans, with a simple T-shirt that reads “Plant more trees”, Chong looks too young to have been writing songs for over a decade. But his experience shows when he belts out songs accompanied by outstanding guitar playing. Despite being a newbie in the industry, Chong had a supportive 350-strong crowd throughout the 45 minutes—not at all a bad showing for a new homegrown artist.
The meaningful “Green Lady” was inspired when he was alone in the middle of the jungle, reminiscing about the days of his childhood, swimming in fresh cold water springs, climbing hills and trees, and listening to the sounds of the jungle. Chong also belted out popular tunes such as “Make It Mine” by Jason Mraz and “Perfectly Lonely” by John Mayer.
The highlight of the night came when Chong made a tribute to the legend of the music industry, Michael Jackson, by singing “Man In The Mirror”. The crowd gave a thunderous round of applause as he said, “This is for MJ, and he left behind a legacy of music.”
Karen, 23, a visitor from Germany, said, “Green Lady” was my favorite piece. I also loved the Michael Jackson tribute.”
A rarity in the local industry, Chong is to be admired for his attitude and fortitude in pursuing his dream.