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Stars come out in force for Sing50
STEFANIE SUN, 37, POP QUEEN
SINGAPORE’S biggest songbird, Stefanie Sun, will take to the stage for the finale of Sing50, next Friday’s concert celebrating local music organised by The Business Times and The Straits Times.
The wispy singer-songwriter will belt out four of her biggest hits – Cloudy Day, My Desired Happiness, Green Light and Kepler – in a stunning new arrangement by Golden Horse Award-winning composer Ricky Ho.
She will be accompanied by the Metropolitan Festival Orchestra, conducted by acclaimed maestro Chan Tze Law. The concert, sponsored by Mapletree Investments, Resorts World Sentosa and Zurich Insurance, marks the first time that the reigning queen of pop is singing with an orchestra.
She is “really excited” about the collaboration, saying that “Sing50 is an ambitious project to showcase local talents. The number of local stars in it, like JJ Lin, Shigga Shay and Rani Singham, makes it very special.”
“It’s also a nice opportunity for me to bring back some of earlier hits for a showcase of the best of my music. The local audiences here are such a big part of the success of these songs, so I’m glad I can sing them again here.”
Sun made history last year when shebecamethe firstpopsinger to perform a solo concert at the newly- opened National Stadium. Though her experience was marred by “a lot of dust ... because the construction was not settled”, she is optimistic that most of these problems have been resolved. She’s thrilled to be part of Sing50 because the concert also pays tribute to many pioneering Singapore artists such as the 1980s xinyao singer- songwriters like Eric Moo and Liang WernFookwho helped pave the way for today’s superstars.
After her long and exhausting 18-month Kepler concert tour which ended early this month, Sun announced that she is taking a breather to spend more time with her husband and two-year-old son.
She says: “I don’t know if my husband and son will be there for Sing50. It depends on his sleep schedule. He’s in his ‘turbo twos’ now. Other people call it ‘troublesome twos’ but I call it ‘turbo twos’ cos the engines are turbocharged and keep going.”
After Sing50 and the National Day Parade in which Sun is also performing, the singer will gear down with “some sketching and reading”.
Sun adds: “I’m interested in academic stuff, though I can’t really elaborate at the moment. I guess that’s justmebeing wilful – I always want to do different things.”
LANG LANG, 33, SUPERSTAR PIANIST
LANG LANG may be one of the most famous classical musicians on the planet and has a relentless tour schedule. But he remains sincere and steadfast in his charity efforts.
That's why he agreed to perform at Sing50, where he will lead a contingent of 50 pianists playing on 50 Steinway-designed Lang Lang baby grand pianos. After the concert, all the pianos will be pledged to schools and institutions as part of the Sing50 Fund's Adopt-A-Piano initiative. On their part, the schools are committed to promoting Singapore songs to their students.
"The donation drive of the 50 pianos is a significant project that is in line with my mission in music education when I founded the International Music Lang Lang Foundation in 2008," says the former child prodigy-turned-global superstar.
"I collaborated with Steinway & Sons to launch the Lang Lang piano series as an avenue to provide young pianists with the opportunity to play on top-quality pianos ... After all, to be able to practise on a Steinway piano is a wonderful privilege ... and I remember how much I wanted one when I was younger."
Lang Lang was born in Shenyang, China, and studied piano at the prestigious Beijing Conservatory of Music. He released the first of a dozen albums at the age of 18 and went on to perform at countless top concert halls, institutions and events such as the White House, the Buckingham Palace and the Beijing Olympics.
Indeed, millions of Chinese parents are now sending their kids to learn the piano in what's been called the "Lang Lang effect".
The pianist, however, remains down-to-earth, describing the chance to play in Sing50 as "an incredible honour to be invited and to perform for Singapore's golden jubilee. I always look forward to doing something for the first time and I anticipate that it will be a great experience celebrating 50 years of Singapore's music".
He is excited to perform Concerto In Three Movements, an original composition by Cultural Medallion recipient Kelly Tang commissioned for Sing50.
But the one other thing he looks forward to is meeting fellow Sing50 performer JJ Lin, with whom he recorded the hit song Clash Of The Souls. Lang Lang adds: "JJ Lin is a good friend of mine and we have a great synergy combining both elements of MandoPop and classical ... (When I met JJ), I was amazed that he plays great piano and has great taste in classical music."
APL.DE.AP, 40, HIP-HOP ARTIST WITH CHART-TOPPING BAND THE BLACK EYED PEAS
HE may dress and pose like a tough guy. But Apl.de.ap has a heart of a baby.
Growing up poor in the Philippines and subsequently making it big in the United States, the rapper and member of Grammy-winning band The Black Eyed Peas never wants to forget his roots. And so, like Lang Lang, he set up an eponymous foundation in 2008 to give financial aid to under-privileged children in the Philippines and Asia, believing that when you have education. you can "make anything happen".
In line with championing good causes, Apl will guest star at next Friday's Sing50 concert celebrating local music. He will lead a contingent of rappers including Najip Ali, Shigga Shay, Kevin Lester aka TheLionCityBoy, Sheikh Haikel and 15 other rappers in performing classic local rap numbers such as Why You So Like Dat? and Onik.
He explains: "We will be revisiting and reinterpreting a Singaporean rap classic which, I'm told, everyone knows."
Indeed, it will be curious to see how Apl handles the Singlish-heavy Why You So Like Dat?. But the rapper is optimistic he'll ace it. "My segment mates and I have been writing and practising our parts for the past few weeks. We rehearse together for the first time on Aug 5 and I am looking forward to it. I can't wait to hear everyone's parts come together. I think it's going to be tons of fun."
Apl was born in Angeles City in the Philippines to a single mother who struggled to raise him and six other children - two of whom are now dead. He was adopted by an American lawyer and came to live in Los Angeles when he was 14. He studied to be a fashion designer, before giving it up to be a rapper.
Apl started The Black Eyed Peas with his best friend Will.i.am and Taboo. The band scored massive success, selling 76 million records worldwide and garnering some two dozen major music awards.
Apl wants to help the young not just through education, but also through music. Last year, he started BMBX Entertainment, an entertainment company in Singapore to "help emerging Asian talent like Miguel Antonio and Kevin Lester aka TheLionCityBoy with their careers. These guys are incredible, and I can't wait to perform with TheLionCityBoy in Sing50".
"I hope everyone gets up and sings with us," he adds.