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Taylor Swift - Out of the Woods

 

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Album Review: Rahul Advani - Night Stories
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Album Review: Gerard Way - Hesitant Alien
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Album Review: Lights - Little Machines
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I am lucky enough to catch up with one of the biggest names in Australian music at the moment, winner of X Factor 2013, Dami Im!

With a number one single and album under her belt, Dami has a lot to be excited about in her post-X Factor career. The Korean-born songstress talks about being recognized now, her upcoming album, her musical influences and her mentor, Dannii Minogue.

After the interview, I played a game with the Australian singer called “Put Dami in the Spotlight”. Dami had to say the first thing that came into her mind based on the words that I 'threw' at her. Find out what she thinks about durian, kimchi, her celebrity crush and which pop princess she has in mind!

Watch the interview below.

 

Formed in mid 2012, Trick is a pop duo consisting of singer, songwriter, producer Marc Lian and rapper, songwriter Richard Jansen.The duo met at a point when both were equally jaded, onset by misadventures with their respective music careers. However, it was through this parallel that the duo formed and bonded over. Now based in Southeast Asia, Singapore, they have set about crafting original and cover songs with a unique and captivating sound that draws on the modern and older styles of Pop, Hip Hop and R&B. Individualistic in their ideals they produce all their music and most times even the videos themselves with Marc as point man in the studio. The two work hard to deliver their sound and their message directly to their fans known as 'Tricksters' all over the world. Their previous hit single Up All Night has slammed the airwaves in Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia. The inimitable duo is back with a brand new single Sunshine! Check out what went down during the interview below.

 

How did Trick derive as a band name and how did the both of you meet?

Richard: We wanted to name our band as Trick or Treat but realised that the name is too long, so we decided to go with Trick.

Having performed for E! Online for Jay Park’s Showcase in Kuala Lumpur, Marc, have you ever felt the pressure from fans as many have cited that you have a strong semblance to J Park?

Marc: There’s no pressure I guess. It’s flattering that people think that way. I don’t think too much about it.

We are never ever getting back together has garnered 70 620+ views on YouTube, Richard, how do you manage to freestyle for the various covers and making it sound so original?

Richard: It’s not really freestyle. I have written that song because we already pre-planned it before we record that video.

Any plans for an upcoming EP? If so how does it differ from the previous?

Richard: Probably next year. We are just focusing more on singles right now.

As a duo, Trick has come a long way since 2012. What were some of the obstacles which you had to overcome?

Marc: It was tough trying to get shows and trying to push everything ourselves as an unsigned band in the beginning.

Nowadays, covers are on the rise as fans of the specific bands would like to hear fresh new arrangements. Do you feel that covers will be parse in time to come?

Richard: I don’t think so. It depends on the artist if they are going to be creative and make it sound current and their own; people are going to like it.

What was the most memorable performance?

Marc: YouTube Fan Fest 2014 was the most memorable performance. The stage was awesome and the crowd was very energetic.

Generally, Asian crowds hype tend to be less intense as compared to overseas gigs. How do you manage to perform with vibrancy despite the lack of support from the audience? 

Richard: It all comes down to the performers themselves. At the end of the day, not everyone in the crowd is being shy so we have to keep it professional and put on a show no matter what.

Which artists do you draw music inspirations from?

Richard: Kid Ink, T.I. and Flo Rida.

Marc: I listen to everything that’s pop and mainstream.

Could you tell us something interesting about your new single Sunshine?

Richard: It’s something new and fresh. People are not going to expect it to sound the way it’s going be sound as compared to our previous singles.

Marc: It took two years to write this song. I came up with the chorus in 2012 and it just sat there in my computer for some time. When it was the time to record our new single, I sent it to Richard and we completed the song earlier this year.


Photo credit: Sony Music Singapore

8 Questions With Mariah Carey

By admin Sep 16, 2014

Mariah Carey has received many awards and accolades in recognition of her worldwide success during her long, distinguished career including 5 Grammy Awards. But what sets her apart from her other artists of her era is probably her ability to resonate with fans through her music.

In this interview to promote her upcoming Asia leg of her world tour Me, I Am Mariah... The Elusive Chanteuse, the humble songbird revealed that she would never proclaim her music is the soundtrack to people's lives. Instead she is happy to write songs to help her fans get through the most difficult times of their lives.

Mariah's influence on many of today's younger pop/soul divas is apparent - she set the template for fresh, young big-voiced pop star with the likes of Christina Aguilera and Kelly Clarkson.

So what's the secret to Mariah's longevity in the music industry? The Elusive Chanteuse shares with us in this intimate interview below.

 

1. Is your talent the reason for your longevity & success in the music industry?

Longevity is something that is very difficult to obtain in this business because a lot of the music business, particularly now, is about trends. And a trend is a trend because it lasts for a moment and then it’s gone. You’re like “You remember when was that. Oh yeah! I remember. That was so much fun.” There are people who transcend trends, and typically they are the people who do have a catalogue of songs that people love or a voice that people have learnt to love over the years. That’s just like embedded in people’s ears, brains and hearts like a soundtrack to people’s lives. To have a career, be successful and maintain success, it is very difficult. It’s just about what you want to achieve and how long you want to keep doing it.

 

2. Do you agree that your music has created the soundtrack to people’s lives?

I would never be the one to say that. I could never say that. People have said thank you to me for writing the songs because it has helped them get through the most difficult time of their lives. As a songwriter, there’s really nothing better than that type of statement.

 

3. Were you born with an innate ability to create and produce music?

I believe that we inherit a lot of things and my mum was an opera singer and did sing jazz. She also did instill a belief in me that this was possible. She named me Mariah Carey as a stage name. I don't have a middle name and I don't think I had a choice. I definitely haven’t accomplished everything that I want to accomplish. There are different facets of the entertainment world and I really want to explore all of them. I just need the right team to be around to make sure that I can just be the creative person and have that vision.

 

4. What is your advice for upcoming artists?

I really think that we never know who’s going to have what type of longevity. It’s really about your commitment to the music and your commitment to your fans and yourself, and how much you are willing to give up of your life to do this because you’re giving up yourself, you’re giving a certain amount of yourself away and that was just inevitable and that’s what I wish and hope to bring forward. There are really a lot of talented people out there…it just depends on how hard and how much they want it.

 

5. You were one of the first artists to feature rap artists in mainstream music. How do you choose your collaborations?

I’m definitely not the first artist to work with rap artists or to work within that genre. I guess because I was known as an artist, I had this cross over appeal where I was on the R&B charts. “Vision of Love” was the number one record on the R&B charts first and then the pop charts, so my base and my heart was always in the R&B world although the hip hop community’s something totally different and as a kid, I grew up loving hip hop and living in New York and feeling the music because it’s some of the most real music that there is as it comes from a place that is the most real in a lot of ways. It was inevitable that I would end up working with rap artists because it’s the music that I love and if you are referring to the record with O.D.B., “Fantasy”, was my dream from the minute I thought about using the Tom Tom Club loop of “Genius of Love”, and that was one of my favourite songs as a child, so when I wrote the song, “Fantasy”, on top of it, I wrote the pop version. The record company, the executives, not all of them were aware and they really didn't understand like my need to do what I wanted to do and I kind of snuck that in. They never really heard O.D.B.’s solo project, and I’m laughing and anyone who has heard it would know why I’m laughing but the topics that he got into were “little…look to the left…to the centre…” and nobody really envision this very kind of innocent girl that I think I know that I actually was (and sort of still am). But they didn't see that collaboration coming and for me it will always be one of my favourites and what it did though was it proved the point to the executives like “Look! You have got to listen to me because I’m the demographic. I’m the person that really listens to the radio, grew up listening to music, to this genre of music and so I still keep up with different artists that I’m intrigued by their music or how they represented themselves and I’m fortunate enough to be able to work with people that I love.”

 

6. To what extend are you involved in the business side of your career?

The business is important because when you put so much of yourself into making an album, you want people to hear it. When you put so much of yourself into making an album, and so it’s something where I try to get creative and try to get involved, and try to work with social media as much as possible because that’s a great connection to the fans and I’m very involved in the business of it all but I think it’s a learning experience for all of us in the music business everyday.

 

7. What is the theme behind your new album, “Me. I Am Mariah…The Elusive Chanteuse”?

There isn’t necessarily one theme and that’s why I want people to hear this album as a whole, as an entity, as something that I put every bit of myself into, and each song is a different side of who I am. Some of them there’s a lot of truths that I’m talking about, and some of them are kind of sad or almost too sad, like I call it the misery and we love it and we have to have it. But in a way, I added three new songs that I felt were necessary to complete the journey of this album.

 

8. Do you want to make more films in the future?

Definitely want to make more films. I love working in the independent film world. I have been so blessed to work with Lee Daniels. He is someone who just believed in me and didn't try to categorise me, and so I’m really grateful to him for that, and looking forward to another very exciting project on the horizon that is coming soon.

 

Mariah Carey will perform in Singapore on October 24 at Singapore Indoor Stadium. Ticket prices start from S$98, and are on sale at Sports Hub Tix, Singapore Indoor Stadium Box Office and all SingPost outlets.

Traipsing through the cables on a stage we actually had a privilege of stepping on, it bordered on a dreamlike experience actually heading to You Me At Six’s dressing room, mere minutes after a ravishing first Singapore show.

Greeted by a wild Josh Franceschi being wheeled to the hospital after his trying performance, the cheery frontman declared the passage his “victory lap,” whilst euphorically securing high-fives with all the media personnel. A muffled rendition of Queen’s We Are The Champions in the distance would have been most apt.

Franceschi’s band mates were ever the gracious hosts, exchanging handshakes and warm smiles as we hastily shuffled in. Decorated with a bottle of Jameson and many a Corona, a titillating box of J.CO donuts was all that remained in partitioning the members of the Surrey rock outfit. “Does anybody want a beer?” guitarist Chris Miller politely enquires before getting right down to business.  Responding to a question about the inspiration behind Cavalier Youth, bassist Matt Barnes chirped in that they had “such a laugh” recording in the hills of Hollywood that it showed on the band’s latest album.

Hardly surprising for anyone who kept track of their progress with Neal Avron. An image of guitarist Max Helyer adopting a rather quirky pose when laying down Cold Night came immediately to mind so we had to ask about other standout moments during such a process. “I allowed Matt to play some drums,” drummer Dan Flint admits in return for a few bass slaps on Wild Ones towhich Barnes countered, “I smashed it, first take.”

From the triumph of a successful FIFA 14 conquest to their growth as a band, the quartet’s reiteration on their more cohesive YMAS identity steadily grew more apparent as did their adoration for their fans and friends: “I’m not gonna lie that when we put together all of these three [SEA] shows, we expected two people and a cat, a dog and a goat - we literally expected no one to be here.”

The possibility of taking their UK arena-trotting All Time Low co-headlining tour here also seemed to have risen quite exponentially. “Make everyone talk about it and we’ll come over!” Barnes is quick to add.

Go on then, talk about it! Watch the full interview below!

 

All photos by Kathleen Cheong for Spin or Bin Music.

Sporting her signature turquoise turban, Yuna was all smiles as she was greeted by members of the media during last Saturday’s MTV World Stage Press Conference held at Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa. Even though there were visible signs of eye bags, the modelesque 27-year-old singer-songwriter was friendly and thoughtful throughout the Q&A session.

Since being signed to David Foster’s Verve Music Group, Yuna’s progression from a more gritty soulful tone to now having a pop-ier and upbeat (e.g.: Come Back) susceptibility can be heard in her music. Her sophomore album, Nocturnal, is prove of that. Not wanting to stay the same, Yuna has even ventured into electronic dance. The track, Gold, was a product of her collaboration with Adventure Club.

For the Los Angeles-based singer, music isn’t her only ambition. Yuna’s passion for fashion led to the launch of November Culture – an online clothing store featuring chic and modest clothing that are synonymous with her style. During the press conference, she expressed her desire to expand her business to neighbouring countries and subsequently internationally.

Check out the interview below to see how Yuna explains the coconut drinking method to her American friends, her dream of starting a family and making babies, plus why this Malaysian icon feels that it is her responsibility to empower not just women but all her listeners.

 

1. Yuna on returning to Malaysia to perform for the Malaysian crowd

It’s always fun coming back to Malaysia. These are the people that were there for me since day one, and they’ve seen me grow to this “thing” now. So it is nice to come back and meet them. It feels as if I’m performing for my family. I’m a little nervous, but mostly excited.

2. How would you describe your Kuala Kangsar kampung , to your friends?

Well, first of all I tell them that in my kampung [village or community] we don’t drink coconut water from a drinking packet. So I’ll explain to my American friends that we actually drink from the fruit. You know… stuff like that.

3. Yuna on her breakthrough and success

I try not to think about it so much because it could get to your head. I try to remember why I first started making music, like seven or eight years ago. I was just a 20-year-old law student, writing music for myself and I always take myself back to the spot whenever I go out to perform for all these people.

I think it’s important to always stay true to myself and not forget why I am here in the first place. Sometimes you tend to forget about something as simple as that but it should all come back to the basics. I’m blessed to be here and I still can’t believe that I get this crazy opportunity to travel, to perform, to go on tour. It’s nice.

4. On her music evolution

In the beginning, I started out as a singer-songwriter with just an acoustic guitar. I didn’t have the resources back then; I didn’t have a producer to help me work on my music. I think it’s always important to know what your strengths are and for me, I know my vocals are different. I try to use my vocals like a jigsaw puzzle – to fit it into different types of genres and see how it works out.

5. Capturing a sense of cohesive storyline in her album, Nocturnal

It’s not as easy as it sounds. Like when I was feeling [inspired by] a Malaysian tradition thing going on, I came up with Rescue [which was inspired by the Malay music form dikir barat], then you have Lights and Camera which is so different from other songs on the album. There was a conscious effort in wanting to make an album with a certain storyline but I think it just happen naturally.

I’m really glad that after we chose what songs to put in the album, there was a storyline maybe because we recorded it within a span of six to seven months where I was going through some stuff. That’s why you could hear a certain sense of cohesiveness.

6. Collaboration with Adventure Club

I don’t listen to EDM music but with Adventure Club, they music are so cinematic and I like epic sounds. And they were able to capture that in Gold and Lullabies. If I have the opportunity to work with them again, I would.

7. In 5 years’ time, what would she wish for – both personally and professionally

Obviously this is every singer-songwriter’s dream, and um, it’s okay to dream right? I would like to have a Grammy maybe? As crazy as it sounds, that’s what I would want.

Personally, I would like to settle down and have a family. And also I have a store here in Subang Jaya. Its call November Culture. It is my dream to see it grow into something special and expand to different states in Malaysia like Penang and Johor, or maybe even in neighbouring countries like Singapore. That would be cool.  

8. Using this given platform to empower

Sometimes I write about love, sometimes I write about life, and sometimes I write uplifting songs. Mermaid was one of them. In the beginning of my music career, I didn’t understand that when you have certain amount of influencing power, there is a responsibility that comes with it. A lot of pop stars don’t see that, nor do they appreciate that or use it to do something positive.

The last couple of years when I met up with influential women a United Nations event, I finally understood that this is something that I have to do. I want my songs to empower not just women but everyone.