FEATURING JAIME WONG
BEING EXPOSED TO various music genres since young in a family of music lovers, music was something that was always there for her. Jaime could be said to be a natural when it comes to being a singer-songwriter, but what exactly ignited the spark in writing her own songs? The answer lies in none other than Damien Rice's "Cannonball", an artist whose music she discovered at the age of 16, propelling her forward in advancing her skills and attempts in composing songs with the guitar.
"Skin" is Jaime's debut single bred out of loneliness from just embarking on her undergraduate studies in Canberra. She described the song being constructed around the chord progression of Ray Lamontagne's "Be Here Now" and from merging the feelings she acquired from indulging herself in songs revolving around Troubadour themes (think lost love, unrequited love and forbidden love). Having "Uninvited" by Alanis Morisette as her primary inspiration for the delivery of the song, "Skin" starts off slow, safe and sparse before building up to a dramatic final chorus with distortion guitars, strings and heavy drums where it sounds more agitated and emotional. With the intention to induce some kind of discomfort within the listener, the song seemingly does not have a proper closure or resolution.
Beauty doesn't have to be perfect. I think as a musician, there were times when I was caught up with making very polished music using high-quality instruments, sophisticated effects and production tools, but then I listen to Damien Rice and local bands such as Hanging Up the Moon and Lemonpuffs, and I remember that those wants can be very superficial. The recording quality doesn't have to be perfect, you can accidentally record cricket noises into the track and you can have a slightly out-of-tune guitar, but if you sing the words and play the instruments sincerely, the listener will be able to detect that, and that music will be beautiful.
Holding her prized guitar in hand, be it during gigs, writing a song or doing a cover, Jaime has grown to be very comfortable and slightly over-reliant on the said musical instrument. It certainly goes without saying that her sense of touch, whenever she brandishes her guitar, is a sense of familiarity and comfort.
How comfortable do you feel in your own skin and what would you say to girls who feel unconfident about themselves?
I'd like to think that I am becoming more comfortable with being myself and less self-conscious as I get older. So I guess what I'll say is, dealing with insecurities and self-esteem issues is a phase and a part of growing up. Try not to be too caught up with them, because they will eventually pass.
From what I've experienced as a local singer-songwriter: there is no better time than now to start doing music in Singapore. The community has gotten a lot stronger and people in the industry are always ready to help one another. Although it is easy to be caught up with fame and popularity and social media presence, remember that this is not a competition. Do music for the love of it, be open to learning and be always look out for opportunities for you to contribute to the scene.
Jaime's second single "To Lost Love" will be on the radio soon. Her debut self-titled EP will be available online mid-April while the EP launch will be held in mid-May where she will be playing in a full band, having Linying and HubbaBubbas to open for the launch.