Corrinne's Musings - A singer-songwriter's life.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

I write songs, I sing them... I play the piano and a little bit of the guitar.. I've released 5 albums of music, I love the scent of freshly fallen rain and the scent of lavender on bedsheets. I would drink tea all day long if the caffeine didn't keep me up at night. I hate driving in L.A traffic. I would love to one day catch the squirrel that steals the plums from my tree and make him a pet. I don't watch TV anymore. My 3 year old daughter is more entertaining than any TV show could ever be :)

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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Christmas Concert at the Esplanade, 16th Dec 06

(photo copyright of Stephanie Yeow)

The Day of the Concert :

It's always hard to have a good night's rest
the night before a big performance. My mind runs through
the songs and through the lyrics and does a virtual
walk-through of the concert proceedings and it's hard to quiet
an active mind and fall into a deep sleep.
Thankfully, I managed to get sufficient rest.

After a good breakfast of chicken hor fun and tea,
we set off for the Esplanade with all our barang-barang...
there was the long dress and the high-heeled shoes (which
I ended up not wearing for fear of tripping on stage! I HATE
high-heeled shoes.), there was Kavin's lap-top with pro-tools,
and the mixer, there were back-up scores and charts,
there were toiletries.....thank goodness we got a lift
from Papa and Mummy to the Esplanade.

We were blessed to have a beautiful dressing room and
I was delighted that there was an upright piano in the room as well.

Stephanie and Yen showed up soon after to take photos of the rehearsal.
They've been wonderful at capturing the moods, the ebbs and flows
and the stories both of the performances and the 'making of'
the performances. They are both, gifted visual storytellers and photographers,
and they have also become good friends of both Kavin and I.
They give so much of their talents and their time for us, that
we are truly grateful.

The full rehearsal run-through started around 3 p.m and thankfully
we were done by 5.15 p.m

Singing with the SYC Ensemble Singers (photo copyright, Stephanie Yeow)

Kavin rehearses the string players (photo copyright Yen Ming Jiin)

Reggie's (Percussion player) Butterfly windchimes (photo copyright Yen Ming Jiin)

Space invaders at the Esplanade (photo copyright Stephanie Yeow)

(A solo moment at the piano - Photo copyright by Yen Meng Jiin)

(Taking a moment to write my thank yous - photo by Yen Meng Jiin)

Hi, my name is Corrinne May's pencil case. I shall be singing on her behalf tonight. photo copyright by Yen Meng Jiin)

Checking some last minute sms messages - photo by Stephanie Yeow

After slurping up a portion of my fish bee-hoon dinner,
Ernest showed up to do hair and make-up. I love the way
he does the make-up. Somehow, thankfully, he makes my eyes
look bigger and brighter *grin*

Getting make-up done - photo by Stephanie Yeow

By the time hair and make-up was done, it was close to 7 p.m.
And the show was due to begin in 30 minutes. The band members,
Kavin and I gathered around in the band's dressing room for
a short prayer before we headed out on stage for the evening's

(photo copyright of Yen Ming Jiin)

The band and the string players went ahead of me on to the
stage while I lingered backstage and took a deep breath.
I was a little nervous before walking out onto the stage
but once the applause started, I remembered the joy of
the stage and the fear somehow evaporated once I set my
fingers on the piano and sang the first song of the concert
"Silent Night".

Photo by Stephanie Yeow

The rest of the concert went by smoothly and I was
grateful for the intermission in between sets. I was able
to stretch and take another drink of water, take a breather
and compose my thoughts before the
second set kicked in after the 20 minute intermission.

It was lovely to have the choir there for the 2nd set
and "Hail Mary" was serene yet grand and the audience
was surprisingly reverent and silent for that song.

Singing with the SYC Ensemble Singers - photo by Yen Meng Jiin

So the second set flowed along nicely too, apart
from a minor buzz in my in-ear monitors which was quickly resolved.
(photo copyright of Stephanie Yeow)

I enjoyed the whole evening and was sad when we
got done with the final song of the concert set,
"Joy to the World". Thankfully, the audience
brought us back through their enthusiastic applause
for an encore.

Kavin played the piano while I sang "Grown-up Christmas
List" and the band joined us on "Have Yourself A Merry Little
Christmas". I had so much fun just sitting in the middle of
the stage on a high chair, singing my heart out to the darkened
hall of people, trying to project everything I felt through
the songs.

(photo copyright of Yen Ming Jiin)

The darkened hall seating 1600 people (photo by Stephanie Yeow)

The last lingering note, the applause, the bow and
a lovely bouquet of flowers was thrust into my hands
from a lady with the Esplanade and then, it was done.

(photo copyright of Yen Ming Jiin)

Song List

Silent Night
Hark the Herald Angels Sing
O Come O Come Emmanuel
Be Thou My Vision
Away in a Manger
Angel in Disguise
Beautiful Seed
In The Bleak Midwinter
What Child Is This


Hail Mary
Angels We Have Heard On High
O Come All Ye Faithful
Do You Hear What I Hear
The Answer
On My Way
5 Loaves and 2 Fishes
Joy to the World

Encore : Grown- up Christmas List
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

I walked backstage and the choir and string players
greeted me with their applause. I was pretty moved.

The Band and the String Ensemble

We all took some pictures backstage and I thanked them all
for the wonderful job they had done and told them
that I hoped we would be able to work together again
sometime in the not-too-distant future.

The SYC Ensemble Singers and I

Then, it was out to sign autographs.

(photo by Stephanie Yeow)

Where's Corrinne? (photo by Stephanie Yeow)

There were many people waiting outside and I was
thrilled that my family and friends were standing
right outside the door. Thankfully, I got a chance
to give a hug to Auntie Betty, fourth auntie,
both grandmas, my parents and my friends Pam and Simon,
Tong Jen and Lee Jeng before being shuttled to the
autograph table. It was a lovely coincidence that they
had all just happened to stand there, not realising
that I would be exiting through that door,
since I was supposed to exit through another door.

(Popo, Mama, Aunty Betty, Si Yi.. thank God for family)
(photo copyright of Stephanie Yeow

Tong Jen and Lee Jeng had brought a lovely bunch
of flowers. They were heavy! Sunflowers smiled
out the top of the bunch and accompanied me as
I signed autographs for the next few hours.

I was delighted to see Benson ( CEO of The Esplanade) and his wife Margeret, as they
stopped by to offer their well-wishes.

(Photo copyright of Yen Ming Jiin)

Without Benson's invitation to
do a Christmas concert at the Esplanade,this concert would not have taken place.
I shall always be grateful that he extended the invitation to perform
at the Esplanade. It has been a steady progression through the various
venues within the Esplanade, first with the outdoor theatre, to the
recital studio, to the lovely concert hall.

Angelina Yeo,
was first in line at the autograph table, with loads of CD sleeves,
including the Japanese release. It was lovely to see her again
as she has been one of my longest supporting fans in Singapore.
(photo copyright Yen Ming Jiin)

Sean and Timothy stopped by to chat with me while Yen and Kavin shared a conversation.
(photo copyright of Stephanie Yeow)

Rachael, one of the patient fans who stayed till the end to say hi(photo copyright of Stephanie Yeow)

and Francia sweetly made a lovely hand-made card.She seemed surprised
that I had remembered that I signed her guitar at the concert
in NUS in February :)
I got to sign on Ben's ipod and on someone else's styrofoam
hand (!). I discovered then and there that styrofoam is extremely hard
to write on! Ee Kwang gave me a pic of his wedding photo,
There were lovely cartoon postcards from Favian, a really
gifted graphic artist. I was also delighted to finally meet
Deborah in person. She helps out with the bulletin board
and it was lovely to see her there with her mom.

There were lots of young couples, some army guys,friends,
girlfriends who came together in a group...daughters who came
with their mothers, husbands who came with their wives,
girlfriends who came with their boyfriends, students from college,
and it was lovely to meet each and everyone of them, to find out a little bit
about their story and to thank them for sharing and listening
to mine.

(say "Cheese!" photo copyright of Stephanie Yeow)

Amy and Keith were wonderful in helping out with helping the
fans take photos and write their names on little slips of
paper so as to make the autograph-signing process a little
faster for everyone.

I finally signed the last autograph at 12.15 a.m and felt
bad for the poor overworked Esplanade crew who had to wait
for me to finish the autograph signing session.

The Crew at the Esplanade at 12.15 a.m, still smiling!(photo copyright of Stephanie Yeow)

Mummy and Pa, Stephanie and Yen were still around
and all of us headed back to the dressing room, packed up,
took a couple more photos together and then headed back home.

Trying out my new funny face at Mummy (photo copyright of Yen Ming Jiin)

Stephanie and Yen had very sweetly given Kavin and I
two packets of Hokkien Mee and Char Kway Teow. Yay! Now
that I had no more singing to do, I could eat all the oily,
spicy food I wanted! The moment we got back home, Kavin and I sat
at the dinner table and wolfed down the food, with a cup of hot
Milo to chase it all down.

By the time I took off all my make-up and had a shower, it
was close to 3 a.m. Got to bed at 3.15 a.m, exhausted,
but happy and satisfied by the end of a very
fulfilling day.

Mummy and I (photo copyright of Stephanie Yeow)

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Prelude to a Concert in December

The week of 8th December to 18th December 2006

I'm in my jet-lagged mode again. Slept at 12 midnight,
got awoken at 4.15 a.m by Kavin leaving the house to
send Clinton to LAX airport and by Sammy's (the cat)
pathetic meow-wailing as she scampered around the house.

Tried to get back to sleep but to no avail.
So with caffeinated thoughts, tired eyes and the weather
at a chilly 33 degrees Fahrenheit, ( around 0 Degrees Celsius),
now I sit at Peets Coffee and Tea, classical music stirring my morning
and the sun giving me the virtual orange juice treatment; I shall
weave my tale of the past week's events.

It's been an intense week. We got back into Singapore on the 8th of
December,a Friday, had a couple of days to chill with the family over
meals of Chicken rice, cups of teh and mummy's homecooked food,
then it was straight back to work.

12th December 2006, Tuesday.

Tuesday started out at 9.30 a.m as we got picked up by Evelyn
and Sammy from Warner Music and headed to Channel News Asia
to record an interview segment for Prime Time Morning with
Steven. The interview went smoothly and I had fun singing
a snippet of "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and discussing
the Christmas album "The Gift".

A quick photo with primetime morning host Steven from Channel News Asia

Next up were interviews with Lush FM and 93.3 FM
The DJs at 93.3 FM spoke such fluent Mandarin and I tried
my best to answer their questions with my limited Mandarin
vocabulary. Thankfully, they helped me out and were very
encouraging at my attempts to converse in Mandarin and so
the interview went pretty well.

Interviewing at Lush FM with DJ Azzy

It was soon time for lunch and we headed off to the food court
at Raffles City where I had a Lao Huang Gua (old melon) soup with pork ribs
and rice. It was good, warm and comforting. I really wanted
to get the Char Kway Teow (fried noodles), but had to refrain
so as to help keep my voice from getting hoarse from oily food.

A production meeting with the Esplanade production crew was next.
It was good to meet the crew again. We had last met with them
in August of 2005 when we had our first concert at the concert
hall. We discussed the song list, stage set-up, lighting,
sound engineering issues.

By this time, it was close to 4 p.m and we headed to the Singapore
Arts Cafe in the Esplanade Library where Evelyn had set up a table
for press interviews.

There were interviews conducted with Q Magazine, Cleo Magazine, Today Newspaper, and Berita Harian. I particularly enjoyed the interview with Nurliza at Berita Harian as she focused her questions on my songwriting process and I had fun sharing with her my thoughts on Songwriting 101. It was also my first interview for a Malay Language paper and I was glad that Kavin, being a Malaysian,would be able to translate the article for me to read following its publication.

Me and Nurliza of Berita Harian Paper.

After the interviews were done, Jonathan Liew, the owner of the cafe,
came by to say hi and to request an autograph for his guitar.
I was honoured to accede to his request :)

I must say that I am glad that he provides a much needed space for musicians
to perform and have access to air their creative works in the open mike
performances he schedules at the cafe. It's nice to see support
for the local arts and music scene and judging from the number
of people who have come by to sing and play at the cafe in the afternoon,
it looks like the idea of local musicians singing and sharing
their music is taking flight. It's also wonderful that the food
( I had the delicious chicken nuggets. Yum) and the drinks ( Kavin
loved the chocolate mocha drink) are yummy.

Jonathan Liew of the Arts Cafe and I, posing with his guitar bearing my scribble

The day was finally done and Kavin and I went back home, grateful
that Mummy had cooked us a simple but delicious home-cooked meal.

Wednesday, 13th December 2006

We headed to the MTV Asia studios at around 12 p.m
to tape a segment for the Christmas Day broadcast of
Pop Inc.

Florence from make-up helped me tease my hair into
something more presentable for TV and I did some last minute
touch-ups on my make-up.

Then it was soon to the studio where MTV VJs Denise and Colby
were running through the list of must-dos for the programme.

Kavin accompanied me on guitar as I opened up the segment
by singing a short version of "Hark the Herald Angels Sing".

An interview followed this and after this, we filmed
another segment for the MTV online. I was glad to find
out that the producer this segment, Patrick Chng is also a musician
in the local music scene, and one of the members of local
Singapore indie band The Oddfellows.

We headed to the Plaza Singapura foodcourt after this and I had
a plate of Chicken Rice, while Kavin had yong Tau Foo and Sammy
had a plate of rice with steamed egg and a hot soup.

We stopped by Pagoda street on the way home to buy some 3 for $10
Pashmina wraps in pink, red, silver, black and green.

Later on that evening, Kavin and I headed to the YHS arts centre
to have our rehearsal with the SYC ensemble singers. I was delighted
to be able to work again with Jennifer Tham, the choir director, who was
also the choir director of the RJ Chorale when I was in it back in RJC,
many years ago.

The singers were well rehearsed and Kavin and I were pleased that
the rehearsal went well. It was also very fulfilling to hear
the choir on the new song "On My Way". It's one thing to hear
the virtual choir in your head singing the harmonies to the song...
it's another to have a real choir singing all the melodies back
to you while you're playing the piano and singing. It's a beautiful
moment when your song becomes a tangible, living, breathing thing
and takes on a life of its own. I live for that moment as a songwriter.

Thursday December 14th 2006

James's birthday today. We celebrated it with a lunch at Din Tai Fung
in Junction 8 in Bishan. It was lovely to be with Cheryl, James, Jerome,
Papa and Mummy again and to celebrate a family event.

Too often, I miss these gatherings of important family milestones,
and it felt really good to be able to be in Singapore for this, my
brother's birthday.

We topped off the lunch with an ice-cream cake from the next-door
Swensons. It's been a while since I had Neopolitan
Strawberry, Chocolate and Vanilla)flavoured ice-cream.

Jerome helped to blow out his father's birthday candles
and enjoyed a couple of walks while being carried in his grandfather's arms.

James, Cheryl and Jerome went home soon after, as Jerome needed his afternoon nap.

In the meantime, Papa and I had a cup of tea at the Yakun downstairs. It's
always such a comfort to have a cup of milk tea after a good meal. I've
been trying to duplicate the kopi tiam teh for the longest time, while in
Los Angeles, but to no avail. It just doesn't taste the same.

We had a rehearsal with the string ensemble in the evening and it lasted
from 7 p.m to about 10.30 p.m. It was held in one of the rehearsal rooms
at the Esplanade. It was nice to see the string players again. Almost
all of them had played for my concert in February at the UCC Concert
Hall for the NUS Arts Festival and it was good to have them playing again
for this Christmas concert.

Friday December 15th 2006

After a good breakfast of wanton char siew mee and teh,
Kavin and I set out for the recital studio at the Esplanade
for our whole-day rehearsal.

It felt good to set my fingers down on the 9 ft Steinway Grand
Piano again. I had last played it at the concert in August 2005.
It felt like I was re-aquainting with a good friend.
Something about the way a good piano feels, the way it helps
you emote the song, the way it gives in to, or resists the touch
of the pianist's fingers. Each piano, has a distinctive personality and
sound and this Steinway was such a beauty. It had strength
and fragility all wrapped up in a glossy, black exquisite instrument.

I was happy to see all the guys from the band again. There was Wen on drums,
Reggie on percusssion, Josh on bass and Kenn on guitar.
They've all played with me over the course of the past few years and
I've come to truly appreciate their musicianship, as well as their
friendship. They bring so much to the table and everytime we play
as a team, it feels like a family coming together.

Reggie, Josh and Wen were trading jokes, Reggie was hamming it up
with all his toys (including a new set of butterfly chimes!).
It was fun to have them around again.

After going through the songs with the band, we went through
the songs again with the string players and later on with the
vocalists from the SYC. Then we put all the elements together
and finished up the rehearsal.

It was truly a long day, we ended the rehearsal at 8 p.m
and I was thankful that my voice was not too tired. Thank
goodness for in-ear monitors and thank goodness for Raymond,
the sound guy, who helped with the sound for my in-ear monitors.

Rows upon rows of in-ear monitors for all the players

Kavin and I were both pretty tired by the end of the evening.
We had dinner at about 9 p.m with Amy and Ming Yen at the nearby
Japanese restaurant. It was so comforting to have food again!
I had soup udon and chawan mushi......mmmmmmmm.

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