Our latest Keyboard instructor has been making waves all around the Singapore scene with his blazing keyboard solos and tasteful chops, all while playing and sessioning in almost a gazillion bands. Check out what he has to say about playing the keys!
1. What are some of the acts you play for?
I play for quite a diverse range of music acts. There's alternative soul/hip hop band The Good Life Project (@weareglp); neoDominatrix (@neodominatrix), an experimental/fusion instrumental band. Also, 53A, a pop band I play with every Friday night at Timbre@Substation.
Some other artistes/bands I session for include Intriguant, Sezairi Sezali, Tim De Cotta, The Summer State, Bani Hidir, Debbi Koh, Comic Strip, Alicia Pan, Vanessa Fernandez, NovoBloco, and Hady Mirza.
2. Playing for such a diverse range of genres, how do you manage to handle the demands of each band?
As a keyboardist, versatility is key. You have to be able to play each instrument well and they're all different. I'm talking about pianos, rhodes, wurlitzers, clavinets, B3 Hammond organs, synthesizers and... harpsichords. There are specific techniques for these instruments and you have to explore them all. For example, you can't really play the organ the same way you play a rhodes or a piano. They each have different timbres and colour.
Exploring different genres of music has helped me develop a keen sense of musicality. I grew up around motown music like Stevie Wonder and i was introduced to Ray Charles later on, and fell in love with the blues. When I joined LASALLE College of the Arts, I learned Jazz and got exposed to music by Miles Davis, Oscar Peterson, Herbie Hancock, etc. I went for jam sessions and learned alot on improvisation, giving space, harmonic textures, sensitivity to other musicians in the band, and ultimately, that has helped me become a better band leader and musical director. I listen to other music as well! Snarky Puppy, D'Angelo, J Dilla, Justin Timberlake, Maroon 5, Jay-Z, etc. I love anything that can make me feel good and I always discover new sounds every day!
Working with artistes and bands gets alot easier when you're patient, easy to work with, open to criticisms and most importantly, hardworking. It's always about the artist first, so give them what they want and deliver the best of your abilities.
I can't emphasize the importance of practice. If you wanna be a great at anything, you gotta be persistant, consistent, and hardworking no matter how talented you are. I'm not saying you gotta lock yourself up 24/7 in the woodshed everyday. Balance personal life and music. Something I'm still striving for.
3. What do you wish to achieve with music and music education in the future?
My ultimate goal as a musician and a human being is to make the world a better place. Never forget your humble beginnings. We've all had our fair share of ups and downs. Pay it forward. Help those in need. Music for me is a form of healing. Catharsis. If I had the chance to make someone happy through music, I would! Of course, I also wish for local music to triumph!
4. Here's Naz's upcoming list of performances:
6 September (Saturday)
7pm to 10pm at Hood Bar & Cafe
3:The Show LivePod (featuring our EP launch)
19 September (Friday)
20-21 September (Saturday/Sunday)
F1 Show at Marina Bay Sands
*** The Good Life Project
27 September (Saturday)
930pm to 1230am
*** The Good Life Project
28 September (Sunday)
645pm to 730pm
Lit Up Festival
Aliwal Arts Centre
Thunder Rock School
227A Upper Thomson Road, S574359
T: 6456 8722
43 East Coast Road, 2nd Floor, S428764
T: 6348 7203