The eight songs in this album are originally Canto-pop classics. What was your criteria for the song choices?
Choosing the songs was the greatest challenge. I wanted to make sure that there was consistency in terms of style and content throughout the album. They had to be representative of the Hong Kong Canto-pop genre; the melody had to be good; the messages had to be in line with my personality; and there [had to have been] possibility for the rearrangement of the music from Canto-pop to jazz. Of course, originals are great, but I also think adapting the songs and making covers are artforms in themselves. These classic songs are worth revisiting and revamping in our times.
As a jazz singer, what elements have you added to these Canto-pop classics?
I’ve added a big band to “Refuse to Play”. Unlike pop, which usually spotlights the lead vocalist, jazz emphasises the musicians as well. Our team has arranged for more instrumental solos to be in the foreground. Jazz, after all, is a dialogue between music and musicians.
“Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” is a typical joyful song you hear at weddings. I’ve slowed it down and changed the melody to create a sweet vibe.
“Red Wine Heart” is about red wine. I pictured a conversation between a girl and her date, both with a glass of red in hand, sitting on a sofa. This song originally was by 1980s Canto-pop singer Alan Tam, and it sounds quite masculine. I wanted to rearrange it in a way that sounded more feminine. Some of the listeners thought I was tipsy when I recorded it—and it’s true I always have a glass or two as a jazz singer. But I intentionally sang it in a seductive way to fit the mood.
When adapting Paula Abdul’s “Rush Rush”, I added trumpet to the heavy beats to make it [sound] trendier. This is also the final song, and I hope it makes my listeners feel so good that they’ll want to listen to the album again.
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