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Friday, June 08, 2007

MY ONE & ONLY - THE MAKING OF...

As some of you may know, My One and Only is my best known song.
In Singapore, anyway.
A few days ago, Jack (from EIC) called me to request that I send him a MP3 of the song which he wanted to get played on local radio. Why not? Won't be the first time!
Which got me thinking about the little journey the song has taken from creation to being requested for 14 years after it debuted on the radio...so here it is ... the making of My One and Only.
I believe it was 1984 and I was trying to write a special tune for my missus (then-GF of course!) on the piano. There were basically two influences going on in my head at that particular time. Paul Young's version of Marvin Gaye's Wherever I Lay My Hat and the Style Council's You're the Best Thing. I believe I wrote the lyrics at the same time as the melody, which explains the throwaway nature of the words - "Nights of extacy" - please!?!
Once completed, I proceeded to tape it on a cassette and gave it to my then-GF as part of a series of mix-tapes I used to flood her with. I still have it at home somewhere, and it sounds positively horrible. I mean that - *ugh*. Sounded more like Manilow than Marvin...
Sometime in the late 80s, I recorded a version with Kid, and I think Toto's Africa also figured somewhere, somehow in the grand scheme of things. But it sounded cool & I was pleased with it. I probably have this version somewhere at home as well...
In the early 90s, I hooked up with Ric and ultimately passed him cassettes of my music and he fell in love with My One and Only. I had by then come out with some demo cassettes of stuff recorded with Kid & JM under the Watchmen name but never included the My One and Only demo as I was saving it for a proper recording deal, if and when it came.
And it did, in 1993 - through the kind recommendation of BigO mag - signed a contract with Odyssey Music and began to record Democracy with Kid. I remember being very nervous when doing the vocals for My One and Only, not helped by Ric videoing the event. Hope he's burnt the tapes, I looked awful...
Anyways, once the album was completed, Odyssey sent the CD to the various radio stations, highlighting My One and Only. Initially only Heart 91.3 (remember?) championed the album and single, propelling the song to #1 on its singles charts. What a cheap thrill that was!!!
Now, 98.7 basically ignored Democracy and My One and Only save for Suresh Menon. Suresh was kind enough to invite me to the TGIW event at Zouk, opening for pop diva Tiffany (google her!). Before I sang, the 98.7 DJs all ignored me. I was really scared stiff at singing before about a thousand kids but when I did, they sang along - super duper high! Amazing...
When I was done, the DJs now began to cozy up to me and saying how much they liked the songs etc etc. Even Florence Lian, then head of 98.7, spoke about the "power of radio" but what she failed to acknowledge was that Heart 91.3 had done all the hard work...
In any case, 98.7 began to play the song more and more, it peaked at #3 in their charts and at its height, the song was played 8 times a day! Which translated into a fair amount of album sales - not that much mind you but I believe Odyssey made some money out of the whole exercise.
Which probably accounts for why 14 years later, people still remember the song - all down to the constant exposure - there's no subsitute for it, my friends.
And so... yes, it starts with My One and Only but hopefully, it does not end there...
... in any case, if you've never heard the song before and would like to, you can email me and subject to your promising to insert a positive comment about it at this blog, I'll send over the MP3 to you... whilst stocks last and all that...hurry!

ANOTHER SATURDAY AFTERNOON

If you love live music, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised to discover the many opportunities to hear great local live music every weekend. Of course you need to look in all the right places.
This Friday, I will be giving Timbre a miss. Too crowded. Sorry, guys but I’m not really the queuing type…
… and also because I think as Saturday is gonna be a packed day of live music, I need to conserve my energy first… yeah, sue me if that sounds “old”.
Basically, for me, Saturday consists of two main events.
First, we have Rock the Sub, where a slew of local indie bands will perform at Substation theatre and Timbre from 2pm to 3am. Yes, really… personally, I am looking out for ETC and the Pinholes and of course, checking out the rest. Please say hi if you see me. I am the one with the grey hair!
Second, we have openstage at the Youth Centre featuring the Funkie Munkies folk, Jack and Rai (from EIC) and two young local bands. Still undecided whether to attend… may do so in-between the Rock the Sub event. We’ll see…
… reviews to come at PoP Blog.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

BLOGGED 2 DETH

This is actually my third blog – the previous ones limped to a sad conclusion – and yet, every time I start a new blog I suffer from delusions of grandeur that y’know this blog will be a success and generate more than 20,000 hits a day!

But since there are no naked pix or controversial political discussions or other provocative content here – chances of that happening are slim.

So I wonder what’s the point? Check out the statcounter and you’ll be aware that hardly anyone visits this blog… but … ultimately it’s about the pleasure of self-expression and the ability to publish your opinions for (potentially) the world to read.

Thus, I will plod on with my musical experiences here whilst over at Power of Pop Blog, I will endeavor to highlight the wider world of pop culture and Power of Pop will continue to deliver reviews of music sent to me by bands, labels, publicists etc worldwide.

My daytime job is pretty boring (and time consuming) but it puts food on the table. So the weekend is all I am left with to soak in the live music that is currently available in Singapore.

The Long and Winding Road was intended to be about my journey but as things are shaping up, nothing much is happening on that front (at the moment) so the focus will have to be expanded to Singapore music. A topic I’ve neglected for a while now.

So, if you are a Singapore or Malaysian band or gig organizer, send me a CD or some information and I will try to plug your music and gigs the best I can.

I may also be open to conducting interviews depending on whether I am arsed about your music or not. Drop me an email.

What are you waiting for?

Monday, June 04, 2007

ANBERLIN & COPELAND

Before I start, a big "thank you" to Kyle, the manager of Copeland for getting me on the guest list at the gig last night...

*ahem*

The missus dropped me off at Far East Square at 6.30 plus and the place was deserted - "am I at the right place?" Then I came to the Glass Pavilion and I saw queues of kids and knew that I was.

So I got in and walked around, hoping to catch a familiar face, without any success. Then suddenly, this guy next to me asks me if my name is Kevin and did I perform in New York for Singapore Day. Did I?!!!

James, apparently had just finished his MBA in New York and was now in town to watch his younger brother, Josh, perform with his band, the Fire Fight. Daryl, James' friend - who has also completed his MBA studies in New York - was also on hand to view the festivities and the two of them kept me company almost throughout the entire gig. Thanks, fellas!

Okay, if you read my previous post, you'd know I had some harsh words for Singapore indie bands. So what did I think of the Fire Fight, Vertical Rush and Marchtwelve...?

Well, I liked Fire Fight although I could not hear the singer at all and the songs tended to all blur into one (same accusation can be leveled against all the opening local bands) but I enjoyed the 80s inflections (you can hear a bit of Big Country, Comsat Angels in the mix). Vertical Rush and Marchtwelve were a bit emo by the numbers and were not quite distinctive enough. They must really work harder at their songwriting - no two ways about it. Marchtwelve were virtually indistinguishable from Allura, except of course that Inch is by far the better singer.

(hi, Inch!)

There was an half hour break and the three of us went to get some drinks and then I noticed how young the audience was - many of them looked like they were still in secondary school! I mean, if James and Daryl, in their 30s, felt um older, what about moi?

Anyways.

Got back in time for Copeland and straightaway, they made an impact with Aaron Marsh on the keyboards, with his angelic voice, providing the critical spark that carried the band far and away from the opening bands. After a couple of numbers, Marsh strapped on his guitar and the band gave the audience a few rockers before ending on a very high note (and sustained scream from Marsh) and they were gone...

Now, prior to this gig, I'd hadn't heard of Anberlin. Obviously the kids have. They basically went apeshit as Anberlin took the stage and owned it. Personally, I found their hectoring emo-punk a little samey albeit uplifting. Frontman Stephen Christian knew how to work up a frenzy and the crowd were deep into it - singing along, pogoing and even body-surfing... and Anberlin has a simple formula - energetic songs, anthemic choruses and many call-and-response sequences, kind like Fugazi meets U2... it's irresistible, you can't fault their showmanship. Man, the crowd got their money's worth.

But in the final analysis, I guess I prefered Copeland's slightly more trad-rock approach and really dug Marsh's high register larynx. However, I do want to get hold of a copy of Cities, Anberlin's latest album.

What's really cool is that both bands are composed mainly of Christians (as I'm given to understand) though technically not "Christian" bands (whatever that is) AND their rise to the top has been done the old fashioned way - paying their dues by performing and recording at least three albums. Great!

Understand that the bands did a "secret" gig at Home Club tonight - too bad I had to work...

Check out their music: Anberlin Copeland