Jumaat, 25 Oktober 2013

The Star Online: Entertainment: Music

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Music

Stefanie Sun is planning a comeback album


After a two-year hiatus, the Singaporean singer is set to return to the limelight..

SINGER Stefanie Sun's next album and tour will be supported by her new label Universal Music to the tune of a few million dollars.

A spokesman for the label says that it will commit a "nine-figure sum in Taiwan dollars", adding that there is "no time limit" on when the Singaporean singer has to deliver on her work.

The flexible working schedule Sun is afforded is considered quite a luxury in the competitive Mandopop scene.

Sun said: "I think I'm very lucky not to have too much pressure with regards to album sales and stuff like that, because I've been around for so many years. It's a lot harder for new singers.

"For me, I want to make sure that every new album is better than before, and also offers something new and unique for the listeners."

To date, Sun, 35, has 11 top-rated albums to her name and has sold more than 30 million records since making her debut in 2000.

Universal is her fourth record label, after Warner Music, EMI and Wonderful Music.

Sun said: "I think Universal will be treating me very well."

This also marks the official music comeback for the singer, who took a break after giving birth to her first child, a son, on Oct 30 last year. Since becoming a mother, she has done only photo shoots for magazines as well as promotional appearances, such as for a baby formula brand in May.

While she declined to reveal the musical direction of her much-anticipated new album, she said she hopes it will be out by the end of the year. Her last album, It's Time, was released in 2011.

As for her touring concert, that will likely begin early next year. While she admitted that she will "miss" her baby whenever she has to go away for her shows, she is happy knowing that the concert schedule will not be too packed either.

"It's not just because of my baby, but I think it's important to have adequate time between the shows to get yourself physically prepared again. Otherwise, you won't be in top form by the end of the tour. I want to give only my best."

That is probably also why she insists on being very hands-on with her baby.

"I watch over his every meal because I want to make sure his every meal is balanced and nutritious," she said. "I used to have so much time on my own, like I'll have time to go shopping or just stay at home and watch a movie, but now I'm too busy.

"As a mother, your life is a lot fuller, but it's also a lot more meaningful, I think."

She added that she sings to her son every night, but not any of her own songs. "I sing children's songs, like Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. He always reacts when he hears music, and he will start moving left and right to the tune."

One thing that frustrates her since becoming a mother are the paparazzi shots of her baby. "I'm okay with people taking pictures of me, but I really don't like it when they take photos of my son. I always go up to tell them, 'Hey, can you please not take pictures', and usually they agree.

"But one time on a plane, I told that to a woman and it turns out that she was Thai and actually had no idea who I was. I imagined too much," she said, laughing.

Despite enjoying motherhood, she always "knew" that she would eventually return to music.

"Music is kind of my calling. I always considered it as an integral part of my life. It's just that now I have another big part of my life, and that is my baby." – The Straits Times, Singapore/Asia News Network

OneRepublic is living the good life


This Halloween, say hello to the American boy band at its first full concert in Malaysia.

IT is 6.30pm in Los Angeles, California, when Drew Brown, one-fifth of the American pop-rock outfit OneRepublic, comes on the phone, sounding relaxed despite a succession of media interviews ahead of the band's tour to this region.

"It's my favourite time of the day ... the sun's just going down," he assures in a drawl as you try to detect any note of impatience or irritability in the musician. There's none.

So his name may not be that familiar to local listeners, who are set to see him and his fellow members play live at Surf Beach at Sunway Lagoon, Selangor, in a week's time.

Well, Brown is the chap with the wavy mop and a distinctive large nose. And as the guitarist/keyboardist, is responsible for helping to bring the quintet to the top of its game, starting with the monumental hit Apologize.

The song written by frontman and lead vocalist Ryan Tedder famously blazed the charts after American super producer and rapper Timbaland featured it in his 2007 album, Timbaland Presents Shock Value. It reached No. 1 in 16 countries and registered a staggering 10 million downloads, earning a Grammy nomination.

Since then the band, whose line-up is completed by Zach Filkins (guitar), Brent Kutzle (bass guitar/cello) and Eddie Fisher (drums), has connected with the masses around the world with a string of relatable and instrumentally energetic, almost orchestral, tunes including Stop And Stare (like Apologize, is from the band's debut album, 2007's Dreaming Out Loud).

Brown remembers co-writing Stop And Stare with his bandmates "about seven years ago".

Although Tedder, the group's main songwriter whose songwriting and producing credits pop up in multiple places including on works by pop royalty Beyonce, Adele, Jennifer Lopez, Leona Lewis and Kelly Clarkson, Brown says the members collaborate a lot on their songs.

"We've got an interesting way of going about it. When we switch into a writing and producing mode, we try to come up with as many song ideas as we can from every member of the band," says the musician who also plays the glockenspiel (a metallic xylophone), one of the things the band is noted for.

It's a big plus that the fellas are also a bunch of good friends. Listening to Brown, the bonhomie within the band – which was formed in California in 2003 but has its roots in Colorado where Tedder and highschool pal Filkins first played music together – is apparent.

"Definitely, I can see ourselves together for many more years, playing for as long as we can, as long as we are all still having fun.

"Yes, we do hang out after work. A lot of bands don't maintain that, but we're really lucky."

Which explains why OneRepublic continues to be on a roll. Its second album Waking Up (2009) produced the hit singles All The Right Moves, Secrets, Everybody Loves Me, and Good Life.

Their third album Native came out in March. The songs Feel Again, If I Lose Myself and Counting Stars have further sealed their reputation as a musical powerhouse. Counting Stars, notably, reached No. 1 on the British charts.

The Native album sleeve features an interesting combo of five different animals, each representing the different individuals that comprise the band. And Native, according to Tedder (who's the fox in the picture), denotes the group's aim to be familiar and local to every country in the world. "We want to be local to everybody," he avows in a press statement.

Described as being more uptempo and featuring a more dance-oriented groove than their previous outings, Native, says Brown (the owl), straddles a few different aspects of the music that they make.

"On the one hand it's incredibly organic and acoustic, but on the other hand it's electronic," explains the 29-year-old, who grew up listening to Elvis Presley.

"As a band, when we first got together, we realised we all really loved U2 and the Beatles," he adds when citing two of the biggest influences in their music.

Before he uprooted to Los Angeles and found fame with OneRepublic, Brown had worked in a hot dog deli back in his native Colorado.

"I was in a band with (OneRepublic's first drummer) Jerrod Bettis and we moved out to California and got together with Ryan through our mutual friends," recalls Brown.

The chappie is known to have said this when he left home to join Bettis in OneRepublic (as stated on sing365.com): "I told my parents, 'I'm not coming home. Send more money.' I'm just not cut out for anything more responsible than being in a rock band."

As far as we know, he is now living responsibly as a musician, and as the boyfriend of a lawyer. He and his girlfriend live in California with their two dogs. Hailing from Colorado, the top beer-producing US state, the man also owns a brewery.

It's really not hard to imagine the guy kicking back when he is not performing or writing music with a cold one straight from his own brewery while cranking out a few jokes.

His Twitter handle @browndown perhaps gives a glimpse of that irreverent approach to life. (Browndown, going by the Urban Dictionary, is the last thing you want if you have a tummy ache and need to run to the toilet!)

Having come off three months of touring in the United States, Brown says they are all psyched up for their next date in the Asia-Pacific under their current world tour.

"It's exciting to watch the fans we have been able to reach. It's been really nice too to see new places we haven't been able to play," he says.

Come next Thursday, the band will be in Malaysia for the second time. Their maiden trip here was in 2008 for the MTV Asia Awards in Genting Highlands. Their enthusiasm on revisiting Malaysia is palpable.

"The first time was an incredibly quick trip but that was probably the most overwhelming response we'd ever had in a country that we'd never been," Brown gushes.

"The upcoming one will be our first proper concert as we haven't had a chance to play a full show in Malaysia yet, so we're really excited to be back."

With Oct 31 being Halloween – "one of our favourite holidays" – Brown says Malaysians can expect "a couple of surprises from us at our show".

So, Malaysians, stop and stare ... if you dare!

> Presented by JS Concert and Hotlink, and supported by Malaysia Major Events, the OneRepublic Live In Malaysia concert will be held at 8.30pm at Surf Beach @ Sunway Lagoon, Selangor, on Oct 31. Tickets are priced at RM298 (VIP) and RM158 (general admission). The VIP tickets will entitle holders to free flow drinks and hors d'oeuvres. Tickets are available at www.ticketpro.com.my and all TicketPro, Rock Corner and Victoria Music outlets. For more info, go to www.jsconcert.com or call 03-7880 7999.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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