Thursday, May 27, 2010

After a Long Hiatus

It has seriously been aaaggeesss since I last wrote here.
Which is evident in the date of my last post. (February? OMG, what have I been doing? >.<)

What is my reason for the long leave of absence? Certainly not for lack of things to write.
Three months is certainly not a short time. A lot of things have happened in that time.

I had so many major events during my second semester of my second year of undergraduate studies. Strange that I got myself involved in so many things at the same time.
Some were even back to back, week after week, there was practically no rest at all ! I could not go home for weeks at a time, sometimes a month, because I was busy with events, preparing for events.

I was tired, exhausted.

But all the events, regardless of all the "pain-in-the-butt" incidences, was an experience in itself. This semester was all about trying something new, challenging myself to go beyond what I knew, and what I was comfortable with.

The biggest event was the New Tune Live Performance XIII : Sparks of Melody.

New Tune is actually a body of students, an association (Persatuan Tiong Hua UKM) under the Chinese of UKM that composes, writes, arranges and performs original, never-before-heard songs.

New Tune acts as a platform for students; a creative outlet, to showcase their talents - in composing songs, writing lyrics, arranging the music, singing, playing the electric guitar, bass guitar, keyboard, drums, percussion, background singing, dancing etc.

Me with my back-up dancers :)

All the songs chosen are then performed live, on stage, with live music.

I was drawn to New Tune. It struck me that all these people, they must be unbelievably talented. And I was proven right.

After going through several rounds of auditions, I was selected to be one of the vocalists for the performance. I was elated, to tell you the truth. I don't know what I was thinking at the time. I wanted to know that I was good enough, to be given some sort of acknowledgement for my vocals. But at the same time, I was terrified of performing live as a solo, in front of a large audience.

My past experiences as a solo was only once when I was in Form 5, and I won the title of "Mewah Idol" (our school's version of American Idol >.<). That was the one and only time I sung as a solo. And even then, it was with a minus-one CD, not a live band of musicians.

Many times over the course of the practices and preparation, I went back and forth between "Let's get this onnnnnnn!!" and "OMG, I can't do this!"

The pressure was immense. We had several intense practices a week, with full rehearsals a full MONTH before the actual event. By then we were expected to be ready with the song, the arrangement, the performance.

I knew I could sing. Not exceptionally well, but good enough.
But I had problems with the performing aspect of it.
I guess everyone knows, and I too knew, that singing a song and performing a song were two different things altogether.

I lacked experience in the performing part. Hello, I came from a choir background. "Performing" to me, meant standing straight with hands clasped to your sides and to articulate your words with exaggerated expressions and smiles.

Not the same with performing live. >.<

And to add to the challenge was the fact that I was singing a Chinese.

Yes. A Chinese song. Me, a banana. Non-Chinese-educated, non-Chinese-speaking. Singing a song in Mandarin.

What was the world coming to?

As you can guess, my most critical comments were:

"Your Chinese got slang la. Like ang moh lang."
"Singing is good....Just need to work on your pronunciation."
"Can you sing 'xian' instead of 'xieeeennnnn'?"

This particular song I was supposed to sing, was a cutesy song with a lot of energy and made me think of hyperactive bunnies prancing about on stage. >.<>

Me in "Alice in Wonderland" garb
looking wistful :)

As the vocalist, I had to reflect the mood of the song as well when I perform. So, as someone who really lacked experience:

"You're not cute enough la."
"Hm, a little bit too sweet liao. Can change it up a bit?"

And, now, to add to the pressure?

My song was the finale of the night.

My song was going to be the last impression on the audience. It had to have that special oomph, that makes you go ooh la la ! and really WOW the audience if our night was going to be a success. It just would not do for everyone to do just awesome and when it came to the last song of the night, for me to screw it up and ruin everyone's hard work !

Pressure. Pressure. Pressure.

It was horrible. >.<

But the intense practices helped me a lot. Gradually, I gained confidence. There were some kind souls who saw my watery eyes after every rehearsal and offered to help me with my pronunciation and gave ideas for dance moves. :)

The night itself was not really a bundle of nerves for me. That's the advantage of going last I guess. By the time it was my turn to go onstage, I was already rearing for action ! :P

I did everything I had practiced before, praying and praying that my twirling around would not make me too dizzy, that my skirt and dress would flare out nicely, that I would do justice to the song and make the songwriter proud, that my voice would not crack, that my moves were cute enough, sexy enough, playful enough to engage the audience and end the entire live concert performance with a BIG BANG.

I did the best I could, I knew. And it went really well. Thank God !

With all my friends and my family (who came all the way to Bangi to watch my debut live solo performance - as well as my first time singing in Chinese in public *gasp*) in the crowd shouting my name, supporting me with "WE LOVE YOU, LISA !" I had the courage to get out there and do my thing :P

New Tune XIII 2010 ! whoohooo~

Then, when it was all over, the rest of them came onto the stage and everyone was cheering and clapping and the smoke from the smoke machine was blowing all around us enveloping us in a cloud and I couldn't see much for a moment then I saw my friends and my family coming forward to the stage from the audience and I felt wonderful and so happy and touched and they were waving at me yelling "Lisa ! Lisa !" and I felt so proud of myself and I felt like crying but was suddenly worried that it will ruin my eye make-up and that won't do since we haven't taken any photos yet and I also felt relieved that everything was over but at the end of all our hard work and intense practices after losing our voices and mental tiredness and physical fatigue and the lack of sleep, THIS was the ultimate climax. And it felt.....freakin' AWESOME !!! :P

It was certainly a momentous night, a moment in history, a wonderful experience.

I have learnt so much and made a whole bunch of new friends who are talented and share that same love for music, so much so that they inspire me ! :)

I will never forget it :)

My close up with full-on make-up and dress!


~WilL!@m~ said...

Wow! Didn't know you join such a thing! COOL!! UM has such a thing too and of course it's in Mandarin as well. Never thought of joining them but since you joined it (considering you are MORE a banana then me.. XP). Maybe I'll give it a second thought now!

PS: You look like a China doll with the make-up and costume! Hahaha... I almost can't recognise you in the 1st pic!

Liz ^^, said...

I never expected to join also. I was interested to join when I heard some of them sing, and found out that all the songs they were singing were 100% original ! How cool is that !!! :)
It was quite tough, since everything was conducted in Mandarin. But I learned a lot from them, in singing, in producing music, in Mandarin. :P Great experience !!!! whoohooo~

p.s: I know, can't recognize myself either ! :) I don't think I'll ever have that kinda make-up again. Till NTLP XIV I guess :P teehee