Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Esplanade Presents Baybeats 2010 Auditions Open Entry

The Baybeats is back in 2010. Auditions are now open to bands who are interested to perform at the Baybeats Festival 2010. Fill up your band details for the auditions here

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Keynote Speech by Dick Lee at Asia Television Forum

Below is a keynote speech by Dick Lee (renowned Singaporean composer) on music in Asia and his own music career period during the Asia Television Forum:

2nd December 2009

Asia Television Forum (Singapore)

Keynote Speech by Dick Lee (Singapore Composer)

Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen.

I’m honored to be invited to make the keynote speech today, although I
have wondered why I – a humble musician – was asked to do so. To me,
the words “key” and “note” have a completely different meaning from
what I think it means here today. When I’m before an audience, I usually
perform, but as that’s not expected of me, I thought I’d touch on a
subject close to my heart, and perhaps relevant to this meeting.

The dilemma I faced as a young musician growing up in Singapore led me
to spend a good part of my career exploring the notion of who I was in
the context of my work. My problems began with my influences and

The Singapore of my childhood was a Malayan state and a British colony.
I was brought up in a Peranakan, or Straits-born Chinese household, with
an English and Malay-speaking father, and an English and Cantonese-
speaking mother.

My family home reverberated with music all day long – my dad’s big
band jazz and Indonesian keroncong, and my mum’s collection of
Chinese pop songs and American top-forty hits of the day.

English was my mother tongue, and indeed, the main language of multiracial
Singapore, and so it became my language of choice when I started
to write songs at the tender age of 10. I carried on this way throughout
my teenage years, risking my reputation and freedom, as the 70’s in
Singapore was a dark era for degenerate Western pop music, all forms of
which were recklessly linked by my government to drug-taking and other
evil behaviors, such as loutishness and long hair on men.

I persevered, however, and found myself one day in London, (where I
was studying in the late seventies), presenting my songs to an executive
at Warner Chappell Music Publishing. I had sent him my demos earlier,
and he had listened to them, and accepted the appointment. But when I
walked in and he looked up, his face registered confusion and I think,
dismay. He didn’t expect an Oriental, it seems, because my music was so
Western. He then asked me the one question, which shaped my future: I
wrote good songs, but did I have nothing to say as an Asian?

I was frankly stunned, as the though had never occurred to me. As much
as I saw myself as Elton John or Neil Young, the world saw nothing but a
gangly bean sprout of a Chinese boy. Unfairly dismissed by my lack of
pink pigments, I retreated in shame to reconsider my aspirations. Surely
there must be some hope for an Asian singer-songwriter, who worked in

I decided to explore the situation in other Asian countries and made
some interesting discoveries.

First of all, the undisputed leader of trends in Asian pop culture was, and
still is, Japan. Having swiftly reinvented herself after the Second World
War, Japan evolved a hybrid culture of East-meets-West, voraciously
engulfing and adapting the modern culture of their defeaters: The rockand-
rollin’ Americans.

This continued a trend which began with the pre-war Hollywood
invasion, a phenomenon that inspired the sophisticated lifestyles of
Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Singapore in the 1930s, the
proliferation of which was fuelled by those cities’ large expatriate
populations. Nightclubs in the grand tradition were creating Asian
songbirds backed by Oriental jazz bands, who sang Latin-inspired jazz
tunes in their native language, producing the first fusion superstars on
the continent.

The rest of Asia was slow to catch on, largely hampered by the war and
revolutions of certain moguls and megalomaniacs. Also, much of Asia
was dealing with the cultural confusion caused by colonists, who
inadvertently stemmed the advancement of local culture by enforcing
the adaptation of their own. The prevalent attitude of Western
dominance caused a stigma of West is better than East, which made
progressive Asians turn their backs on all things traditional.

Interestingly, local culture is the most advanced and refined in the two
Asian countries which were not obfuscated by Western domination:
Japan and Thailand. Both have highly developed parochial culture and
surviving monarchies, but the difference is that Japan had her national
pride crushed with her defeat in the war, and had to regenerate her
rebirth with a vengeance to repair her wounded psyche.

However, youth being what it is, it wasn’t long before the kids in Kanto
were walking around with Brylcremed quiffs and can-can petticoats,
propagating pop culture in the comeback of the century.

By the early sixties, wild American dance-forms had found their way to
Asian capitals, and the age of the United Nations saw a healthy exchange
of Asian pop crossing borders. Indonesian singers were popularizing a
Chinese tune in the form of Dayung Sampan, and Indonesian hit
Bengawan Solo was being sung by Rebecca Pan of Hong Kong and Hibari
Misora of Japan in their respective languages.

But it was still Japan that was sountracks ahead when Kyu Sakamoto’s
Sukiyaki made it to number one on the Billboard charts in 1963, the first
and only time an Asian song has made it to the top in the United States.

Asian pop had finally arrived, something I hadn’t noticed when I was
discovering the Twist in our living room when I was nine.

This fact resonated more than ten years later when I had to rediscover
myself in late-seventies London. Discouraged by the “meanie” from
Warner Chappell, I decided to expand my horizons and listen to a wider
variety of music. One day, flipping through the racks at HMV on Oxford
Street, I came upon a couple of albums which had distinctly Asian faces
on their covers. The artistes were Yellow Magic Orchestra and Sandii and
the Sunsetz, both from the Land of the Rising Sound! This discovery
began my long-term relationship with Japanese Pop, or J-Pop as it was
later to be termed, and I began my self-awareness as an Asian writer.

Ask any young Asian, and they will all agree that Japan is by far the
coolest place in Asia, if not the world. Old crimes are easily forgotten
when presented with the multitude of must-have gadgets that Japan has
produced. It all started for me with the metallic blue walkman, and
continues to this day with my endless upgrading of flat-screen TVs.

The gadgets only complement the music and fashion that Japan vomits
out in copious quantities – innovative and eccentric, but unmistakably
Japanese. Walk around the streets of Seoul or Hong Kong or Bangkok,
and you see kids undeniably influenced by Harajuku street fashion, and
their older counterparts in Comme Des Garcons.

And how do we know how the Japanese dress? Why, from their media
of course! Japanese-style magazines and television variety shows are
widely distributed and admired, and blatantly copied all over Asia. When
a trend breaks in Tokyo, Taipei is sure to follow – as in the mania for all
things Korean that started in Japan and has now taken over Asia (I want
nobody nobody but you!)

Today, a different scenario exists. The widely predicted Pacific Century
has taken awhile to launch but is most definitely here. And now that
China is throbbing and Luang Prabang has an Aman Resort, a new Asian
identity is starting to be recognizable.

No more the Madam Butterfly of Pucchini, the Mao Zedong of Andy
Warhol, or the Charlie Chan and Suzie Wong or Hollywood, but instead
Jackie Chan and Rain, Nobu and Wagamama, Sony and Samsung, Uniqlo
and Shanghai Tang. Pop culture is most certainly shaping the new Asian
identity for the world and more importantly, for Asians. And it all begins,
but not necessarily ends, with Japan.

As for me, I eventually made it to Japan, discovered, incredibly by
Makoto Kubota, the band-leader of Sandii and the Sunsetz. Like how I
encountered his band, he came across my album in 1989, got in touch
with me and subsequently introduced me to Warner Music Japan. My
entry into the Japanese market acquainted their jaded public to the
wonders of Asia, and that was the start of an Asian presence in their

My career spring-boarded itself into the rest of Asia and allowed me to
collaborate with artistes from many countries. In other words, if I was
cool in Japan, I was cool to the rest of Asia. I had an amazing time as a
born-again Asian, but one of my proudest moments was in 1998 when I
was eventually pursued by, and finally signed to, the biggest publishing
company in the world at the time: Warner Chappell.

Music in film and TV seminar @ Asia TV Forum - Dec 09

It's been quite a while I have not updated my music blog here
I have been concentrating on my new music website.

Below is a music news article on Music in film and TV seminar as conducted for Asia TV Forum (ATF).

This article is sent Anna Thomas (a free-lancer) working at ATF. For more music news on this particular forum, u can contact me via email since I am in contact with Anna.


Digital Future Series Conference – “The Role of Music in Film and TV,” Dec 2.
Masterclass and Workshop with China Directors Li Qiankuan and Xiao Guiyun, Dec 3.

The Centre for Content Protection (CCP) conducted the Digital Future Seminar Series Dec 2 to engage the digital distribution industry at the Asia Television Forum(ATF) in Singapore.

“The DFS Series seminar was an opportune moment to discuss digital business models across the film, TV and music industries,” says Isa Seow, Managing Director, Centre for Content Protection.

Speakers reiterated that paramount to the success of media industries is the role of music. “It is critical that musicians can earn income,” said Mike Ellis, President, Motion Picture Association (MPA) Asia Pac. Music can help media industries to grow and vice versa. It costs USD $200 million to make a movie, yet the majority of movies that go out are losing money. The challenge and opportunity lies in the fact that 16% of movie revenues come from cinema, and the remaining 84% from home entertainment. “Our collective futures depend on (our ability to adapt to) the digital transformation that’s going on,” Ellis told the industry players gathered at the conference.

Five times Golden Rooster winner Li Qiankuan emphasized to the audience of media industry players how the integration of music with regional and national features was crucial for a merger between western and eastern music. Dick Lee referred to his personal experience in championing the inclusion of Asian elements in pop music. He cited Japan for becoming the undisputed leader of Asian pop culture by picking up the best of American pop culture and “refitting it to Japanese size.”

Qiankuan, who is the President of the Shanghai International Film Festival’s Jury Board, and Xiao Guiyun, member, China's National Film Approval Board, later conducted a film masterclass and workshop Dec 3 with MDA support. The masterclass provided an understanding of China’s film industry followed by an overview of opportunities for partnerships and proposals in the industry.

Looking to the film industry
Panelist Nina Ossoff, who has been writing successfully for movies and TV, including American Idol, advised musicians in the audience to “make your master sound awesome.” She bemoaned the fall in the number of movies with soundtracks. Philip Wu, Exec Chairman, GRID MMS, conceded that it is a very tough game to live off music. Go around and get yourself known, he advised, submit your lyrics to the movie industry and put up your talent for review.

Singapore is one of the easiest places to make networking connections, says the director of Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, Bernard Lanskey. He observed that the educational opportunities here are immense from an international perspective. “We underestimate the professional dimension of musical work,” he said. “Training in professional awareness and maintaining quality should be your priorities,” he told the listening students of music and film in the audience.

Cutting to the recession, Charles J. Sanders, Esq. Songwriters Guild of America, who moderated a panel, recalled how Hollywood came to the rescue when the Great Depression nearly wiped out songwriting in the 1930s. “Now again we’re looking to the film industry,” he stated. Panelist Malcolm Young finds that the challenges are emerging more rapidly than the answers are coming back, with the film industry downturn predating the current economic downturn. Young is soon to produce The Durian King, a zero-budget film set in Singapore.

New media are taking eyeballs off traditional media, says Wu. This makes it imperative that the movie industry work across all industries. Creating legitimate business models rapidly would enable survival on ever-emerging new platforms

The Singapore opportunity: Networking and self-belief
Panelists pointed out that Singapore is uniquely placed in world terms. As a modern bilingual society, it is uniquely connected to South East Asian countries. The Singaporean awareness of the global community is unparalleled, says Lanskey. “What will drive internal passion is networking and self-belief.” He compared Singapore to where Paris was in 1900, or to Vienna in 1750. “Change can happen fast. The speed at which Singapore’s evolving is phenomenal.”

Wu touched on the country’s three strengths: trust, technology and the financial system. “We might not make a Titanic,” he said, “but there are niche areas we can come into with these strengths: post production and songwriting, for instance.” There are many who dare to dream, but many other Singaporeans are pragmatic. Singapore has not reached the critical mass of talent and we should aspire to reach that, said Wu.

“We are always calling ourselves too small and berating our lack of a long history. We must think big; we must think differently,” observed Joshua Simon, a student at Ngee Ann Polytechnic.

Spell out rights: IFPI
As music is the primary driver of the entertainment business, be it karaoke or nightclubs, it is important to clearly spell out rights, concluded the panel on copyright and legal issues.
Leong May Seey, Regional Dir(Asia ), International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) recommended the ISO standard to identify country of origin and the first owner in every commercial sound recording, and the embedding of the ISWC(International Standard Musical Work Code) to protect composers.

Frank Rittman, Regional Legal Counsel, MPA - Asia Pac, suggested a centralised licensing corporation which would allow a producer to pay a single fee, rather than needing to conform to varying structures in each country of release. Complicated sets of rights exist separately in different countries for the two pieces of intellectual property in music: the underlying musical composition, and the performance. For instance, said Sanders, US law has so many anomalies, despite being a pro-copyright country. Compulsory licensing exists, but once the song is released, anyone can make a cover of it. The licensing also does not extend to synchronization rights.

Embrace local artistes
The panel on Asia strategies recommended that Singapore embrace local artistes. “There’s great music in Singapore; you just have to play it,” observed Allan Nicholls, Department of Graduate Film, Tisch Asia( Singapore). A Stefanie Sun had to leave the country and be endorsed by Taiwan before she got accepted here.

“We are not hungry enough as a nation. That said, I’d rather have the security of Singapore, than professional footballers and recording artistes if they come at the cost of security,” says Michael Hosking, CEO, Midas Promotions. He suggested introducing a radio station that played local music.

To meet the challenge of changing the Singaporean mindset, Lim Sek, Chief Exec, Music & Movement (S) Pte Ltd, said that the Republic of Pop has been started with MDA support. It is an umbrella of local talents and a movement to appeal to the Singapore audience. The website will launch in the first quarter of 2010, detailing agents, contacts and a step by step guide for talents.

Talks are on with MediaCorp to get airtime for local talent, said Yeo Chun Cheng, Chief Information Officer, MDA, and the second round of proposals for music has just opened. “But I don’t think the government is the solution to everything,” he said. “Be careful of government officials telling you what is to be done.” The solution was instead, to be “really, really good at what you do.”

The DFS seminar is an initiative under the MoU signed with the Media Development Authority(MDA) Sept 9, as part of MDA’s agenda to develop a conducive business environment with a robust intellectual property regime and a pro-business regulatory framework.

Event: Digital Future Series Conference at the Asia Television Forum Theme: The Role of Music in Film and TV; Date: Dec 2
Location: Suntec City Convention Centre
Speakers included: Film producers and directors; Charles J. Sanders, Esq. Songwriters Guild of America; Nina Ossoff, songwriter; Mike Ellis, President and Managing Director, Motion Picture Association (MPA) - Asia Pacific; Li Qiankuan, Chairman of China Film Association and Head of the China Film Foundation; Dick Lee, composer; Frank Rittman, Regional Legal Counsel and Deputy Director of the MPA - Asia Pacific; Leong May Seey, Regional Dir(Asia), International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI); Michael Hosking, CEO, Midas Promotions; Yeo Chun Cheng, Chief Information Officer, MDA; Bernard Lanskey, Director, Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music; Isa Seow, Managing Director, Centre for Content Protection (CCP); Philip Wu, Executive Chairman of GRID MMS Pte Ltd; Allan Nicholls, Department of Graduate Film, Tisch Asia; Lim Sek, |Chief Executive, Music and Movement (S) Pte Ltd
Event: Masterclass and Workshop with China Directors Li Qiankuan and Xiao Guiyun, Dec 3
Masterclass Theme: Understanding the Film Industry in China
Workshop Theme: Film and Partnership Proposals
Location: Ngee Ann Auditorium, Asian Civilisations Museum

About CCP: Established in 2007, the Centre for Content Protection (CCP) is a consortium committed to shaping AsiaPacific’s digital future through innovative technologies that provide secure ways for consumers to enjoy anywhere, anytime access to their favourite movies and television programmes.
As a neutral yet authoritative source of information on the latest content platforms and protection measures worldwide, the Centre fosters awareness and cooperation amongst various academic, governmental and industry organizations as well as consumer groups in order to implement best practices and solutions region-wide.
Primary Advisory members are Astro, Fujitsu, Motion Picture Association of America, Nagravision, NDS, ST Microelectronics, Thomson, Verimatrix and Walt Disney Pictures.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

FREE YOUR SOUL - Jazz Workshop & Masterclass by Mandy Gaines

Hi everyone,

it's been quite some time I have not written any music stuff here. That's because I has been focussing on my new music website: http://www.musicnewalbum.com/

If you support and promote good music, do subscribe to it as well as become a twitter follower. Lots of new music updates upcoming like video interviews, music and behind the scene...etc... and music download.

I bring the latest music news on a jazz workshop below:

Mandy Gaines, international jazz vocalist and entertainer as she shares her wealth of professional experience and divulges the secrets to her breathtaking technique. Having performed throughout the world and opened for Jazz luminary, Herbie Hancock, Miss Gaines has garnered critical acclaim and accolades from all around the globe. Together with Verve Music , this shining jazz star brings to you a vocal workshop and masterclass where she will touch on various aspects of jazz singing including interpretation, improvisation, stage performance and vocal range.

Program Outline

*Achieving vocal freedom and freedom of expression

*Breaking out of one's shell to achieve a unique style of interpretation

*How to use appropriate nuances to evoke truly emotional jazz singing

*Find out more about experimental singing techniques like Belting and Scatting

*Stage performance - learning to engage the audience through movement

About Mandy Gaines

Mandy Gaines has been entertaining and delighting audiences globally for more than 20 years. Her performances have been lauded by critics as "Refreshing, soulful and Exciting!" She has had her stunning voice heard at several international jazz festivals and has held jazz vocal workshops in Europe. From 1988 to the present, she continues to improve and grow through her gifted interpretations of Jazz, Pop, R&B and Soul classics as well as writing and performing her original works. Miss Gaines released her 2nd album – "Taking A Chance" in 2006.

Get your tickets now. Call 65544097 or email verve.ms@gmail. com.

Limited places available!

Event Title: Free Your Soul – Jazz Workshop & Masterclass by International Jazz Sensation Mandy Gaines

Date: 6 December 2009 (Sunday)

Time: 4.00pm

Venue: Verve Music School (Blk 713 Ang Mo Kio Central (Ave 6) #01-4040 (2nd Storey) S 560713)

Ticket Price: $15 (observers), $40 (participants)

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