Upcoming performance

Hey everyone, I’ll be playing tomorrow night at the Swee Lee Music Cafe @ *Scape Mall. Accompanying me on the guitar will be my friend Anthony Kok.

We’ll be doing a selection of my originals and a few covers too.

Do come and watch if you’re in town! Show starts at 8pm.

Week 15 – One Minute

The idea for this song came to me completely at random. I chanced upon this video called “You In Five Minutes”, which is a very weird clip that has nothing to do with this song, really. But watch it anyway, it’s quite hilarious.

What actually made me watch it was the title – “You in Five Minutes”. I thought, man, that’s a great title for a song. It could be about, say, listing out all the great things I like about you in five minutes; or perhaps needing just five minutes to decide if I like you or not.

Then I thought, I don’t need five minutes to decide if I like someone – I probably need just a minute to form an impression! What about something called “One Minute”? But instead of it being about me judging someone else, why not put myself in the shoes of the person being judged, and convincing them, in one minute, why they should like me? Something like an elevator pitch of sorts. So, that’s how this song was born.

I love songwriting. You can get inspiration from just about anywhere.

One Minute
© Music and Lyrics by Marcel Lee Pereira, 13 Aug, 2010

A large room, full of unsmiling faces
The sound of my footsteps
Ring louder than a churchbell
Under my jeans my knees are shaking
But I look ’em in the eye and say

I know you’ve had a long day
And I thank you for your time
I have way too much at stake
And I’ve come too far
To let this go to waste

Chorus
So give me one minute
That’s all I need
One minute
And you will take me seriously

I had a crush on a girl in school
We were friends, I hung onto her every word
And till this day she doesn’t know
I wish I had the courage to say

I know you’ve had a long day
Just give me a little time
This may be in bad taste
But I’ve come too far
To let this go to waste

Chorus
So give me one minute
That’s all I need
One minute
And you will take me seriously

Okay I’ll admit it
It’s hard to get a break
Most of us are too willing to walk away
But all I need is 60 seconds
Not an arm or leg
It’s not too much I reckon

Chorus

One minute
What will you do
One minute
To get your message through

Chorus

***

P.S. I’m really looking forward to my performance tomorrow at the Library@Esplanade. It starts at 3.30pm, so do drop by if you can! More details can be found here.

Thoughts about Sixx, Singfest and making a stand

I was watching this video report by Razor TV about local hip hop band Sixx, and the unfortunate cancellation of their performance at Singfest last week. What happened was that the band was suddenly dropped as the second day’s opening act, apparently because the sound checks earlier took too long. You can also read more about it here.

Honestly, I hadn’t heard of Sixx until the incident – ironically, they did get some publicity out of it! But that’s besides the point. I really was quite impressed with how well they took the disappointing news. Yes, Singfest was a big deal, and I would feel devastated, had I been in that position. Instead, they are taking it in their stride and looking forward to other gigs and their upcoming EP launch. Kudos guys! Hope to catch you live soon!

Anyway, this incident, of course, led to some online buzz about how, just like that, the poor band was kicked off the show. I’ve experienced disappointments myself, from cancelled events to places that expect you to play for free “for exposure”, so I felt really bad for Sixx.

A few days later, Today music writer Chris Toh wrote an interesting post on the Poparazzi blog, urging bands to say “NO” to free gigs. I must say I agree with him, and I just wanted to weigh in on this topic of local bands and how they are treated as “second class citizens”, as Chris so aptly wrote.

I think the crux of the matter lies in the fact that local musicians are pretty much powerless when it comes to negotiating with the people or companies that hire them. Let’s talk about, say, a talented Top 40s band made up of a few friends, which is trying to make a living playing cover music, and hopefully write some original tunes in the near future. They will probably start off playing for free, and then if their passion for music is strong enough, press on and find some gigs that actually pay.

Yes, there’s always the argument that unknown bands have to start small, and perform anywhere that will have them. That’s fair enough. But at what point do you start asking for money? When you’re good enough? When you have been playing long enough?

The point is that the ball is always in the court of the people hiring the bands. To my knowledge, there isn’t some kind of association or union of Singapore bands that says that unless we are paid such-and-such a minimum fee, we will not perform. Trouble is, local bands are independent entities doing their own thing, and there’s always going to be a band who will be willing to play for free.

In the case of Sixx, wouldn’t it be great if there was some kind of musicians’ body to press the organisers for compensation for the band? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure that the international acts in Singfest were protected by contracts, so if something screwed up, there was recourse for them. I’m not so sure if Sixx signed some kind of contract, though. Even though they are not yet as big as say, Kanye West, don’t our local acts have rights too?

The thing is, who’s going to step forward and get Singapore bands together to talk about these issues – and make a stand? Probably nobody. So, I believe it’s really up to bands to fight for their own rights. If you think you’re worth your salt, and deserve to be paid for performing, then demand for it. If you’ve worked hard for your music, why let yourself be exploited?

For my own band Raised On Radio, we do ask for a minimum fee, based on the “market rate” for cover bands, which is really based on how much other bands we know get paid for playing at a similar place – which is basically hearsay. Yes, we do lose some gigs because of that, but I’m proud to say that for the majority of the performances we have done, we were paid at that “market rate”.

Well, these are just my own observations on this issue, so please feel free to disagree with me. Comments are welcome!

Week 14 – Making Memories

Today, I celebrate my first wedding anniversary with my wife Carol. It’s been a wonderful year, and we’ve been blessed with so much. There’s nothing more I could ask for, really. Carol, I love you, and I thank God you’re in my life. This song is for you, and I hope we’ll make a million more memories in the years to come.

Making Memories
© Music and Lyrics by Marcel Lee Pereira, 6 Aug, 2010

If there’s something I cling to, it’s times with me and you
Moments tucked away under the trappings of everyday
You know how precious they are to me, the diamonds that brighten my way

They are all I need
You are the face I see

Chorus
We’re building, building a home
And we’re making memories, memories
To have, to have and to hold
I want more of these
Memories, memories

My heart takes a picture of us, every date and every kiss
Making plans, the glances I take at you, there’s nothing I want to miss
They don’t gather dust, the world falls away as we reminisce

Wash away the sands of pain
You’ll see the gold remains

Chorus

Bridge
A year has gone by so fast
And today I say to you, my love
Remember us and smile
I know we’ll last, more than a lifetime

Chorus
We’re building, building a home
And we’re making memories, memories
To have, to have and to hold
Here’s to more of these
Memories, memories

***

It was a really busy Saturday for me, which is why I’m posting this at 4am!

Had a great time at the Maestro Acoustic Lounge @ *Scape Mall in the afternoon. It was quite an experience playing a full 45 minute set of original music in a shopping mall, but it sure felt good having people stop by and listen, even if it was for a little while. I really enjoyed myself, and I’m looking forward to performing a lot more in time to come. Thanks to everyone who came by, I really appreciate the support! Here’s a picture of me with my friend Adrian on the cajon.

Singer-songwriter Marcel Lee Pereira performing at the Maestro Acoustic Lounge @ *Scape Mall. Accompanying him on the cajon is drummer Adrian Loo.

My sis, Gemma, managed to get tickets to the rehearsal for the Youth Olympics opening ceremony (the actual thing is on Aug 14), so straight after the show, we headed to the Marina Bay floating platform. Here’s the view from the grandstand, just before the show started:

I must say, though, while the ceremony was snazzy with its choreographed performances, fireworks, giant walking characters and even water displays, I felt there were just too many bells and whistles – and not enough heart. It just didn’t speak to me, and I couldn’t see the connection of some of the performances to the Youth Olympics. Well, maybe the ending was better – but we left early.

Ok, I’m off to bed now. Long day ahead! Champagne brunch with Carol and then we’re checking in at the Pan Pacific for the long weekend… 😉 Cheers! Oh, and Happy National Day.

Save the date! Aug 7 and Aug 15

Hi there, this is just a quick post to remind everyone of my two upcoming shows!

The first is happening tomorrow (Aug 7), 3.30pm, at the Maestro Acoustic Lounge located at the new *Scape Mall in Orchard Road, near Orchard Cineleisure.

And next Sunday (Aug 15), also at 3.30pm, I’ll be playing at the Library@Esplanade. More details here and in the poster below, courtesy of the National Library Board.

Singer-songwriter Marcel Lee Pereira performs at the Library@Esplanade on Aug 15, 2010, in his first-ever solo showcase.

Upcoming gigs

I’m quite excited about my two performances coming up this month:

Saturday, Aug 7, 3.30pm, *SCAPE Mall (Beside Orchard Cineleisure)
My first gig will be this coming Saturday (Aug 7) at the new *SCAPE Mall in Orchard Road. This gig is organized by the great people from Maestro Guitars. You’ll be able to catch a few singer-songwriters and local groups performing that day too. So head down to the Maestro outlet on Level 2 for an afternoon of great acoustic music!

Sunday, Aug 15, 3.30pm, Library@Esplanade
Next up is my first ever solo showcase, which I’m really, really looking forward to. It’ll be at the Esplanade Library, located on the 3rd floor of the Esplanade. I love the place; it’s perfect for an intimate, acoustic performance. I’ve played there several times, but not as a solo artist. Many thanks to the National Library for this opportunity!

So there, two dates to catch me!