Runs on food and music, will sing for chips and pasta.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Restless Heart - people who love people who chase dreams...

FB entry on November 29th, 2014

[album-pre-sale] [love-for-sale] Ling TangYeo Yann YannCoby Zai & Moo Siew Keh -- thank you for supporting my debut album (it's titled 'Restless Heart')!! 
I stood at the foyer of KLPac after watching Raj And The End of Tragedy (don't miss it - ends on Sunday!!), and lamented my incredible emotional state of mind to the usual suspects of Melissa Teoh and Wong Horngyihwho have been following my private updates on how the album is progressing.
When I turned around and saw Ling and gang, few exchange of "Wassup" later - Ling fished out her wallet immediately upon hearing that I am pre-selling my album...and the rest of the gang followed suit, a chorus of "Of course we wanna support you and your album!" they sang... THANK YOU my friends 
"I sold 4 albums tonight! After watching Raj!" I told my vocal producer via a text, after I got home.
"Love is all around  " Seah Song-fan reminded me.
"But calm down. Seriously. This is an order." He said.

Labels: , , ,


Restless Heart - album-making diary #4 (January 7th, 2015)

 FB entry on January 7th, 2015

[album-making-diary] [Restless Heart album] My friends told me this is the closest I would get to being pregnant - giving birth to an album. I cannot agree more.

All the hours spent inside the studio and near the studio (lunch break, dinner break, suppers, brunch, breakfast, etc); all the hours spent there chatting, working, eating, dreaming, arguing, laughing and crying - I guess, are like the ups and downs of someone waiting to go into labour.

It dawned on me only a short while ago (weeks) that for first timer in album-making, am charging in this brand new field with am ambition so colossal that you would think am either stupid or foolish, or both. A full album of 10 songs that I hope to complete within two moths, all of the songs selected vastly challenging.

If it wasn't for my ego (to finish what I have started) and how foolishly dreamy I am - I would have deem this project suicidal and lethal and raise the white flag. Secondly, "the show must go on" - for the love of those who believe in me and became part of the project and left me a piece of themselves - without these lovers I cannot go on.

We started recording vocals on the 4th song last night. The album title song is now ready to be mixed. It was emotional to listen to the rough mix of Restless Heart and recalled the years I have behind me since I first learn this killer song. I told my producer Seah Song-fan that I am finally proud, of myself (not because the singing on the track is perfect) - for the work that have gone into the song. Thank you Zalina Lee and Elvira Arul for lending your crazy magic in the back up vocals. And Tay Cher Siang for being bossy enough to make me do this, much much love to you, stay bossy.

The songs on this album requires the full spectrum of a singer's voice and abilities - thanks to the faith (and talent) that my composers/arranger have on me, for writing beautiful but complicated materials that call for a `super singer' to take on. The range, tone and character required to do the songs well are frankly, beyond me at the moment. "What were you thinking Janet??" I guess I wasn't thinking enough when the material came to me, I fell in love with the songs and with my own stories and I dived head in, now my body is wet and and cold but my soul is very happy, despite being very scared.

Of course then came along the madness and intensity of an artist from another planet, Song-fan Seah who was crazy enough to say "Let me help you." Without even knowing the album material first, he invested his belief in me.

Now months later, and hundreds of hours of coaching later - Song-fan is still deep in coaxing and guiding the better versions of me to come into light. His bottomless energy (is freaking out of the world that I think he is alien) and tireless approach in teaching moved me so and help me stay focus in the recording booth - no matter how many times I have been asked to sing a line, I keep going, because he can.

Constructive feedback from Song-fan and colleagues help me discover so much of my own voice I never heard or know. It is like living under the same roof with this person for so many years and now for the first time, discovering a new, extremely attractive side of her that you have previously overlooked. Or like staying in the same house all your life but never ever step foot in a room full of treasures - and discovering it after 10 years (this one calls for a separate entry).

I can hear my own voice now, some are clear and confident, some are shy and unsure of itself, yet. There's still so much to do before I wrap the vocal recording of all 10 songs and am happy to say that I'm hooked on the process of discovering. The work is tedious and at times rather gruesome but the rewards are...I have no word for it.

It's a good time to be alive now. Thank you for reading this long post and I hope to share more stories again soon. The studio schedule is hectic this month (this is the last stretch of the race) but there will be lots of updates soon, regarding the Restless Heart concert this March at DPAC. - so sit tight and stay tune.

Album cover shoot next week!!! Weeeeeeee!
#restlessheart #janetleealbum #albummaking #debutalbum #janetleemusic#grateful #living #album #music #janetwrites #diary

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,


Restless Heart - album-making diary #3 (December 16th, 2014)

FB entry on Dec 16th on my FB page :) 
[restless-heart-debut-album] As I scramble to piece the album together with my villagers and the occasional foreign troupes in the music department, I have to sit myself down now and get started with the album cover and CD booklet artwork concepts.  

Images, visions and colours flying towards me and past me from all directions (it's all inside my head, mind you)...I ask myself, "Who are you? What are you?" "What were your favourite portraits?" I open pages and website of my favourite fashion blogger Scott Schuman (The Sartorialist) and walk among the pages of his two books, hoping to find versions of myself there. 

When I answer the question of what I am, the only answer I have so far is: a bohemian with a restless heart. This photo was taken last year at The Star for a feature can tell who was the stylist for the look  What do you think? The direction of a maybe...slightly glam-up bohemian..

Labels: , , , , , , ,


Restless Heart - album-making diary #2 (Nov 18th, 2014)

FB entry on November 18th, 2014

[debut-album-making-diary] Vocal recording for one song down! "Molihua" (Jasmine Flower) recording done last night at close to midnight! 9 more songs to go!  

I recorded half the song back in early September and then everyone got absolutely swamped by other projects and gigs so there was a void of two months. The singing in September was beautiful and polished, with Cecilia Yap with me in the studio then, pulling me up to my maximum in the bel-canto and folk-singing department. When we got back to the studio last week for Molihua, we decided to start afresh from the top.

And what a gruelling session it was in the first two hours! With just me and the 'fat mic' (our nick for this studio mic - sE Gemini) in the dark recording room - I faced my worst enemy: the voice that talk down at me in my head. Put me on stage to face thousands of people and it's a breeze...but in that darkened studio with me and 'fat mic' - I couldn't quite shake off the nerves that haunt my singing, not until at least 90 mins later after we started the recording.

So when the whole song was done after 4 hours, I called it a miracle. The two men who help me give birth to the miracle, Song-fan Seah 谢松汎 Link and Alex Ls Tan coaxed, cajoled, adjusted and edited here and there to produce a recording of me singing Molihua from beginning to end - you dudes rock my world. Mind you, it's not a short song either, 5:45 mins.

Last night we had Miss Cecilia Yap back in the studio after two long months, this time not to coach me - but to sing on the track. The clip below is a tiny snippet of her gold on this song. Song-fan and her put together vocal parts that elevate my song to high heavens of....Machu Picchu and beyond (that was my mental picture/journey when I recorded the song). To have a recording of Cecilia's voice next to mine has got to be a thrilling milestone for me - a teacher who not only never gives up on correcting my stubborn bad habits, also a generous musician.

After we see Cecilia off where she rushed home to three `waiting tenors/baritones' for a rehearsal and class, we sat down and had some birthday cake - specially hand-delivered by Selina Kok at the studio for birthday Song-fan. We worked from 1030pm to midnight, re-recorded my vocals that needed fixing. Pitching, colour, adding stories...pitching! At the moment, auto tune is not an option on this album...why? That requires a separate entry on that, technical explanation.

The most valuable lesson I've learnt from this outing: Confidence is the next most important thing you need after talent and training. The one thing I lack in the studio now, but am working on it and I am CONFIDENT that I will only get better with each recording.

I have a good feeling about this album. The songs need wings 
#molihua #debutalbum #janetleealbum #restlessheart #janetleemusic #friends#grateful #living #music #recording #studio #starmountstudios #janetwrites#wvctrioplus1 #songfan

Labels: , , , , , ,