Amanda Jayne Lee

Music Does Good

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Aldrich Tjahjadi’s first EP, RICH fulfils both a childhood dream and a passion to serve the community.

Music Does Good

With a fedora perched on his head and a dimpled smile across his face, Aldrich Tjahjadi, who goes by the stage name Aldrich Atcoustic cuts a cheerful figure. The 29-year-old is a regular figure in the local live music scene, covering pop numbers at various bars and nightlife spots around Singapore. On Nov 26, 2016, however, at the cosy Barbershop by Timbre, Tjahjadi’s natural ease was replaced with an anticipatory stance—he was launching his first ever EP, RICH.

Part eponymous, part acrostic, RICH stands for “Reach Into Community Homes”, a cause that has been dear to Tjahjadi’s heart for many years. In 2007, Tjahjadi visited the homes of the elderly and people with special needs as part of a volunteer force with non-profit organisation, CityCare. 

Though busy these days, Tjahjadi carves out time to volunteer. Early this year, he worked together with another NPO, Mad Community, to bring hampers to elderly citizens during the Chinese New Year period.

His title track “RICH” is a call to action, a reminder that a small act of kindness “can light up the dark.” The anthemic song is about a group of volunteers visiting the homes of people in need in hope of shedding awareness on those among us who do not have much. “Sometimes, all it takes is a simple visit to talk to the elderly or those in need, along with some basic necessities to show them that they are important and that there are people who care,” says Tjahjadi.

Another notable number is the upbeat yet wistful ukulele song “Happy Pillow” which was conceived—you guessed it—while the songwriter was lying on one. “I told myself that I wanted to write a song so lazy that it makes people drift to sleep,” he laughed. “So I literally laid on my pillow to write it!”

Tjahjadi started out with a $20 guitar his father gave him when he was 6. He taught himself to play through books and videos, and in time he found himself leading worship on stage at City Harvest Church, where he has been a member for over 10 years.

In 2003, he wrote a song for a talent contest that happened during CHC’s youth conference, Emerge. He won the contest and joined CHC’s worship ministry as a backup vocalist, later becoming a worship leader. He credits his development to his CityWorship mentors. “Belle and Alison (Annabelle Soh and Alison Yap) have always provided me with guidance” he says. “City Harvest Church is where I found my calling to sing and write songs.”

The idea for his EP also came to him during service one day. “I was serving one weekend on stage, when Pastor Kong asked the church to write down a desire we had on our offering envelope. It was a Saturday, and the idea just fell into my head,” he recalls.

Tjahjadi, who is also a certified vocal teacher from London College of Music believes that everyone has the ability to sing, and that all one needs to do is to embrace their natural voice and whip up some confidence. Vocal lessons and teachers are there to guide and help shape one’s voice after all, he says.

For this EP, Tjahjadi collaborated with veteran singer-songwriter Lee Wei Song, vocal coach Sherlyn Chia of The Singing Loft and music producer Jusuf Winardi. While the EP is a realization of a lifelong dream, it also fulfils his heart for the community: 20 per cent of proceeds from the EP will go toward providing basic necessities for needy homes locally and eventually abroad.

For more info, visit www.aldrichatcoustic.com.

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