She was the first ever Malaysian female singer & songwriter to release an English album in Malaysia. Two years later she signed on with Warner Chappell and the rest, was her story.
We had quite a chat several years ago, six wasn’t it .. could you share, what you’ve recently discovered on your journey of Love?
I’ve recently discovered the importance of decluttering my headspace from the minutiae of everyday life; to give my mind the space it needs to be creative, to think big and inspired thoughts and to generate positivity.
The tool which works for me is a Tibetan meditation I just happened to find on You Tube ⎯ it brings my mind into the now and connects it with the rest of my being. I do it before I begin my work day and before going to bed. I have seen a fundamental change in the way I live my life because of this very simple 13 min or so meditation.
In the revelation of the subconscious flow in regards Long Time Sun, how do you now conceive and translate the resonance and stirrings from within, as compared to your previous album, In Fusion (Editor’s note: which by the way, was recorded in NYC featuring Motown guitarist Wah Wah Watson, and Jazz Fusion drum legend Peter Erskine) ?
Long Time Sun is a very different piece of work in comparison to my other songs because it is a reworking of an existing song. I must confess it was a very difficult song for me to work on. Firstly, the constraints of the lyrics which were not mine, although I did tweak them a little bit, meant that I needed to create the music around someone else’s words/story. I also had to consider how other people would be using it.
In Kundalini Yoga which I practice, this song is sung as a group at the end of every yoga class so it had to have a certain melodic ease. It was no small feat but I think it was worth all the time & energy I put into it; the final result is a version that resonates with me musically and from the feedback I’ve received from people who practice Kundalini Yoga, they are digging it too!
With my original work, it’s a much more effortless flow from my soul because the words, story and music are all coming from my life experiences and so the conception of a song is a more organic and natural process.
I’ve heard you’ve got a new addition to the family. Has it changed you in any way? Do you divide the time you have to attend to them or do you embrace it as a breath?
Dolby is a fulfilment of a long-time dream for my husband and I. She has completely changed me! I’ve become a serious outdoors person now; walking her in rain or shine, in mud, through bracken, up and down undulating woods, the list goes on.
I’ve also had to become a little less house proud as muddy paws are de rigueur in our household!
As for time spent on caring for her, most of the time Dolby works around us but we make sure to give her the time she needs and deserves. We connect with her during our work day too – just to let her know she is loved and cherished. One of my greatest joys is seeing her saunter into my rehearsal space with the intention of having a little nap while I sing … it’s just so wonderful to have that beautiful energy in my life.
I am a much happier and contented person now that we have Dolby ⎯ a dog is a whole other level of joy, their presence transcends the mundane and lifts the spirit.
How long does it take you to create a song from the first thought to the first harmonic progression? The whole process with the musicians, and the arrangements? Has it been the same before Long Time Sun, or has it changed in anyway?
It really does vary greatly and is all dependent on the song itself. Some songs just blossom out of me in a very natural and effortless way. Others take time to reach fruition.
Ultimately, it has to do with the story.
If the story is about something light and breezy then the creation of the song reflects that. If it’s a song about deep revelation and healing then writing it is the culmination of that particular journey, so it may take quite some time to finish.
For example, Shoreline from in Fusion is one of those songs that went through many different permutations to reach its final form and that was because I was experiencing that very journey as I was writing it. Recording Shoreline was quite literally the moment I reached the shoreline and that was a huge moment for me.
Once again ‘in Fusion’ and Long Time Sun are two very different aspects of my vocation. Long Time Sun is more of a side project and I can see myself doing a lot more projects of this nature, including writing for others which I see as being outside the realm of my own stuff.
That being the case, the use of musicians will greatly differ depending on what I am working on. My own work, meaning songs that I write and produce for myself in particular ‘in Fusion’ has a characteristic sound which I love and want to continue creating by collaborating with amazing musicians.
As for my side projects I enjoy the challenge of playing multiple instruments but I always open to working with musicians when it feels right for the track like I did with Long Time Sun.
Who are your musicians in your most recent single?
I enlisted the help of a very talented bassist Cai Marle – Garcia to play on Long Time Sun. The rest of it I did myself, including mixing and mastering the track. I really wanted to learn how to mix and master and this song afforded me a great opportunity to do just that.
Will you be performing in South East Asia, in the next few months? Any concerts arranged for 2016?
Sadly there’s nothing planned for South East Asia, and not from the lack of trying either. It just hasn’t been the right time thus far I guess. It is however always worth waiting for things to pan our naturally and effortlessly in my book, so here’s hoping that I will be able to do a little mini tour of South East Asia when the time is right. I’m planning to do a few performances in the UK in late 2016, so I’ll keep you posted.
For those who aren’t exposed to your genre, what would you say it is? Is it Fusion? Jazz? R&B?
I’m doubtful I can give you a straight answer to that question! My music is definitely a fusion of genres with strong leanings towards Fusion & Jazz, with R&B and Soul elements in there too. It’s difficult for me to say which genre it falls into because I hear all the elements from these genres in my music.
If I had to pick one I would say Fusion.