12th Annual Contemporary Christian / Gospel
12th Annual R&B/Soul Song Nominee
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Record Label: Rouxinol Records
Home Base: Singapore
Genre: R&B/Soul, Pop
Categories Nominated: R&B/Soul (Song), Contemporary Christian / Gospel (Song)
Work Submitted: “Diagonal Rain” and “Love-Shape Void”
Artists Featured: Sarah Cheng-De Winne
Label: Rouxinol Records
Who are your influences?: America, David Gates & Bread, Stevie Wonder, Beyonce, John Legend, Ella Fitzgerald, Anita Baker, Gotan Project, Alicia Keys, The Carpenters, Brian Culbertson, Sara Groves, Jars of Clay, Arethra Franklin, Astrud Gilberto, Joni Mitchell, Corrinne May, Lisa Ono, Christina Aguilera, Adele, Santana, Sting, Simply Red, Thievery Corporation, Stan Getz, Zero 7, Justo Almario/Abraham Laboriel, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Corrine Bailey Rae, Mika Nakashima, Lior, Stéphane Pompougnac, Cole Porter
Describe your nominated work: “Diagonal Rain” is a song I wrote about cleansing yourself from guilt. It’s got a musical motif that runs throughout the song with a laid-back soul beat that really groves. “Love-Shape Void” was written for a friend who I’ve known for a long time, but drifted apart in the recent years. She’s got everything that money could buy her, but deep inside she’s missing something…
Did you use any unusual effects or instruments in this recording?: “Diagonal Rain” makes a very effective use of handclaps! “Love-Shape” Void features some references to Japanese Anime music.. have a listen 😉
Were there any happy accidents while in the studio, or did everything go as planned?: I tend to record backing vocals only after the main vocals are done, and the improvisatory nature of creating backing vocals and lines is what I really enjoy about recording. There’s a line that comes up towards the end of “Diagonal Rain” that goes “only come just to go.. only I had known..” which I really love. Super happy accident there.
How did you raise the funds for this project? How long do you expect it will take to recoup your out-of-pocket recording expenses?: My savings, and donations from friends and family. I think the music industry has changed quite drastically and there’s no definite way to recover production costs from CD sales alone. So I can’t tell, but I think the creation of this album is an investment in my long-term career as an artist.
Why did you choose to submit this work to The 12th IMAs?: Why not?
What’s your definition of success and how will you know when you’ve achieved it?: There are different phases of success, and it’s easy to be discouraged if you keep looking at a huge goal that you haven’t yet reached. For me I’m trying my best to take it a day at a time, and celebrate my little successes that give me the confidence to persevere in what I believe in.
How will you leverage your IMA honors to achieve your career goals?: I’m leveraging this multiple nomination to share my music with more people, and it’s a great external validation for people who aren’t yet familiar with my music.
Who’s sitting in your audience and what makes your fans unique?: My fans are awesomely unique because they are who they are. They never pretend to be anyone or anything else.
What is your guilty pleasure on the road? Any close calls or mishaps while on tour?: I love eating on tour. I love trying out new sweets and snacks (oops, it’s my sweet tooth calling). Close calls… well, I went solo on my Spring Tour 2013, and had to carry two suitcases up and down the subways myself in Japan and Hong Kong… I made it just in time to catch my skyliner train from Ueno station to the airport, by only a couple of minutes. All that lugging of suitcases by myself really slowed me down!
Who are your musical heroes & influences?: I find Stevie Wonder a genius for writing songs that are so appealing to the heart. I’ve also
Are there any songs you wish you wrote and why?: “Gangnam Style” – I’d like a super smash hit someday 😛
What artists are you listening to that would surprise your fans?: Mika Nakashima, a Japanese pop-artist that is really Madonna like. Her music is different from album to album and her LOVE album really inspired me during my most formative teenage years.
How do you discover new music? Do you buy music or are you content with streaming?: I often get recommended new music by friends and family, but I also like to check out what other artists likeJ I buy music. Can’t be bothered with streaming!
How will musicians make a living if fans continue to expect music to be free?: Its not just the fans but also the entire industry that needs to solve this problem… I believe many have cited that touring is the way forward, but only after you’ve hit a certain level of recognition. I don’t have the answers, but I believe that fans are beginning to understand that they have to support the artists they like via crowdfunding or attending performances.
What don’t fans/audiences understand about the music industry today?: That it takes more than talent to make music.
Are digital singles/EPs vs. full albums the future?: No idea – but the line between what constitutes an “album” (used to be that you have to have 10 songs) and what is an “EP” is getting blurry. I believe that singles/EPs are good to test out a song, but albums are a way to fully explore a concept.
Finish this sentence: The music industry is…unpredictable yet rewarding at the same time!
What do you have in the works for the upcoming year?: A Chinese EP is in the works, where I’ll have Chinese versions of my songs recorded, and a couple of new tracks. I’ll also be touring other parts of Asia for the second half of the year!