Posts tagged: The Pelham Sessions
The weather was beautiful. Cloudless, warm sun, light drenched rooftop. The wet faux grass probably added an earthy tone to the concrete slabs holding the packed house. Someone at the end of the night quipped that I look like I am still pinching myself from all that is happening.
The night drew to magical close as the lights went dim and the spots made their final bow. Many hands stretched out in what felt like long overdue congratulations. I wish I was in the audience soaking up what everyone told me was a great night. It is quite a bummer to not be able to enjoy myself as much as the people who came did. It’s a funny one. Yes I look like I am pinching myself - I wake up every morning wondering how long this fairy tale will last. Cos it feels like one. And it’s only just begun.
In spite of broken dreams, relationships, walk outs, unrequited promises and all those false starts and a late bloom most people would advise the throwing in of the white towel, I am standing on the roof, with used travel tickets in my suitcase, battling jet lag to put together a homecoming show. Surrounded by friends, old and new, who pulled the whole show together with me. Friends I have had to leave behind for a season to go see the world, fly out to make an impression and build a different world. Yet friends who have held me close to their hearts and friends who inspire me through their own stories. Feels damn good to be home. We’ll party yet.
I’m collecting all the dust from the evening and watching how they are settling. I hope to have a good report for all of us.
Christmas shopping with Charles J Tan - Have you bought your gifts, kris kringle for Christmas yet? My CD album would be a great gift! Check out the specials at my webstore now. Lasts 4 days!
I’m missing home today. The frequent changes in the weather conditions. The quiet room in the corner of the warehouse. The soulless cafe right across the road. The chattering college kids as they walk past from below my window. The hardworking sushi and coffee owner two, three, four blocks down. My neighbourhood. No invasion of space, porcelain quiet with no crowds and spatial issues. No ants creeping up my arm at night. Just the dust dancing nonchalantly in the peering sunlight through the roof cracks. Comfortable and safe with the chaos of boxes, unpacked luggage surrounding my mess of written notes, receipts, bills and unorganized notebooks sitting among textbooks and my haphazard collection of memorabilia. My eye of the storm.
And not forgetting the wider wardrobe selection. I’ve made my own home and now I’m a guest, a stranger treading on favours. Does something to the head. It would do yours too.
I wrote down in my little black book some of the things I wanted to achieve as part of my tour in Asia, Singapore. One of them was to play a combination of 30 shows/media appearances in Singapore and Asia. I have 9 more to go. And I’m suddenly feeling vulnerable with the tight schedule ahead.
Come 31st Jan, I will play the closing show at The Esplanade, followed by my first gig at Prince of Wales in Little India next Friday night, 4th Feb, immediately after Chinese New Year. And with a few hours of sleep, I’ll be catching an early morning flight the next day into Kuala Lumpur to play a songwriter’s round at No Black tie on Sunday, 6th Feb. Then it’s right back into Singapore for my first show at TAB on 8th Feb. With another 2 shows at Singapore Art Museum and Prince Of Wales, back to back, two days after. That’s just the next 18 days!
I woke up this morning, feeling a sense of burden, thinking about the gigs ahead, the few media appearances I’ve secured and asked myself, “Am I over doing it? Is this where I want to be?”
I opened my laptop and the first thing that popped up on my screen was the poster I had finished designing the night before - with all the Singapore dates in Feb and March 2011.
The first thing that came to my head was, “Hell Yeah!”
This is where I have always wanted to be. This is what I want to do with my life. Nothing to tie me down, except my decisions to go or not to go. I have chosen “go” in almost all of my musical endeavours so far. Much to some disapproval, even profesional opinions. Some have had their doubts and this isn’t something to prove them wrong. This proves to me, nothing is impossible. This is a big “thank you” to the ones who said to me the open road is right ahead. When we choose “go” and we believe the bridges will connect, that the sum of where we’ve walked and treaded will give us the foresight to find our way, that in all of this, God has his pulse on all things - and this is JUST the beginning!
January has been slow start and I’m grateful for it. Easing me with just one show down. Gives me time to prepare and meet different people inside the industry here and mostly, rest, get healthy for the road ahead. Few more days left, I’m so excited, I can’t even sleep properly.
See you on this road less travelled. 9 more to go.
The Pelham Sessions Credit & Thank You list that was too long to include in the album cover art… here goes.
Grant & Ritchie, for sticking it out inspite of the many delays for this recording. We made it! Steven Cheong, whom I am grateful to, for our long friendship and the professional help. Thaddeus Huang for loaning the vocal microphones under such short notice. Stefan Lim, for giving me perspectives constantly challenging me as a songwriter and performer. Tim Goh, my peer, my pastor, my counsellor through the good and hard times. Karen, Heng Khuen, Joseph, Doreen, for believing in me, feeding me. E-Gene & Sarah, for the long time friendship & enduring support. Wenona Lok for pushing me along, making sure we stay on track. Lydia Teh for coming on board to lend me your ingenius design ideas. Shawn Low for lending me those monitor headphones. The final mix would not have been without it. You are a lifesaver! Debbie & Jon - thank you for that sweet note on twitter and the very kind gesture that will go a long way. Celine Tan - for being a lifesaver, driving me around, the macarons. you are a beautiful soul waiting to be discovered. To my crazy bunch of friends (you know who you are) who dared to take my song apart and sing it back to me. Thank you for the late night suppers, the insane drives, the gorgeous dinners, the incoherent conversations and spirited instigations. Let’s help set each other’s dreams free through this bond we’ve shared. I don’t say it enough, but I love you guys!
My family in Singapore for supporting me in what I do and never criticized nor questioned my career choice. You guys surprise me in the most unconventional way. To all of you who came to each of my shows, bought a ticket, ate the gingerbread, bought my DIY CDs, cheered and made me feel like I am never really alone in what I do. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. To all musicians who played on this album. I am grateful for your talent & fingerprints on this record. The city of Nashville, Tennessee, for opening the eyes of this lone pilgrim and for the inspiration.
To God, for second chances, for your grace and mercy, for watching over me.
To YOU reading, listening to this record. May this endeavour remind you of your hopes and dreams, who you want to be, inspire you to never sell yourself short. May this canvas become your very own to create, storyboard and carve out your very own personal anthem.
My heart is still, as I listen to my strongest influence - John Mayer, dusted off the digital records, playing through my system again. Fear is something that creeps in and out, like those tiny carpet bugs, you never really know until they kinda bite and gnaw at your toes.
In my recent interview with a friend on the radio - he mentioned to his audience that my songwriting had the west texas storytelling flavor, something I had no idea about. A compliment, I suppose, to my ears. There’s always constant commentary among friends and close relations that I am a different person altogether when I sit behind a microphone and let me heart ring out in song. Always suspected I am really southern deep inside. I love country music, there, I said it.
Somewhere on these blog pages, a friend, who’s been a delight to be around, reminded me of the impending release - like, “slightly more than 24 hours”, to quote. When I think about it, for a moment I feel this sense of release. Of freedom, of pinions unshackled. It’s like I’ve had these locked up jars of words, melodies caught up in thick soy based ink, brewing for the longest time. Now, they are ready to go where their wings want to take them. I catch glimpses of faces, some distant, some recent, some I can’t for the life of me, remember - through each of these songs, woven carefully, in my messed up bedroom, sweat, tears, frustration, sleepless nights, depression, polarity and recovery all rolled into one. Against these walls, the boy in me grew up a little, yet still managed to stay the same.
At the eve of it all, I am not afraid. To borrow from an imagery not long ago, ever since the pilgrimage, I found this deep sense of fearlessness. There are many things I am not. Many expectations I won’t meet. But who are they anyway? I walk in the shadows of legends and giants who have shaped and looked after me all these growing years. Gonna fly, spread my stride, see the world, seven seas.
They, will love me.
Just wanted to say I got your new songs online and they are great. :) I’ve been listening to your music since I bought your Acoustic EP at Miss Libertine and have since been on the top of my playlist :)
Recently I went back to visit my grandma in Asia, who was ill and nearing the end (she passed away last night). On that trip I was listening to your music and the song “Anything” really struck a chord with me. I know the lyrics were written with different meaning but they just somehow really related to her in many ways.
Certain songs for me really brings me back to a time in the past, like “Sometimes love just ain’t enough” brings me back to my final visit to my home. Now whenever I listen to “Anything” it’ll bring me back to my final time with her by her bedside.
Thanks for the great songs, look forward to hearing more.
I walked into the building, feeling a sense of dejavu. It wasn’t too long ago when I was in a similar situation, walking up the flight of stairs into a radio station studio - except this was much quicker and efficient - no media pass to sign in for, no security checks, no long walks to the other building.
This is community radio in Melbourne, 3ZZZ - 92.3FM. The show is “Polyfonix”, from 10pm - 11pm every saturday night. I love how it was just one flight of stairs, no long waits out in the cold. Round the bend to the second floor and we’re inside the studio.
I love how simple and efficient the production went. Clockwork. Played a live rendition of “What It’s All About”, talked about Nashville, growing up, my writing discovery and journey as a songwriter.
This is just scratching the surface of the beginning. I’m grateful. Thank you 3ZZZ.
*will be posting the recorded radio segment here later. stay tuned*