Conversations with Gerard Singh

The show, scheduled for 9.30pm at No Black Tie on Jalan Mesui, began at 10.15pm but before you launch into ramblings on how Malaysians have an utter disregard for punctuality (which is at most times, true), this time the tardiness was not due to the typical lackadaisical Malaysian “fashionably –late” timing we are all only too familiar with; it was because they were trying to make sure everyone had a seat.

Gerard Singh has always been known as that tall, bald guitarist who had a hit once on the Malaysian English Top 10 (MET10) or as the winner of the 1992 Carlsberg Top of the Pubs contest, with his signature guitar and drum machine at hand, sharing the spotlight with other local pub musicians like Raymond Chia and Simon Justin Leo taking on the form of various outfits in watering holes across the Klang Valley. 

   Gerard Singh played to a full house with seasoned musicians, (L-R) Daniel Guerzo, David Patrick Juis, Jared Cheow and Jhingles Derek 

Armed with an array of original compositions exposing a crossover of the sensibilities and fingerstyles of Kenny Loggins and James Taylor, Gerard ditched his drum machine and  took to the stage with seasoned live musicians — Daniel Guerzo on keyboards and bass, Jingles (Derek Jhingoree) on bass, Jared Cheow on drums and David Patrick Juis on Acoustic and Electric Guitar and a string of tales to share to the full house at No Black Tie; some from his previous albums, Slice of the Pie and Social Animals (with Raymond Chia), others written as recently as 2 weeks prior to the show.

The show, titled Conversations with Gerard Singh, was fashioned after intimate performances akin to that of international artistes like the one given by Brian McKnight in November 2013. Although Gerard did speak to the crowd about the inspiration behind his songs – from social issues like child abuse to stories more closer to heart, such as  being unemployed immediately after the birth of his daughter and losing his father to lung cancer -  it was the songs, crafted with the lyrical similitudes of Eagles’ Don Henley or country legend, Kris Kristofferson, that did most of the talking that night.

The 47-year old, who recently completed his Grade 8 music examination, is the epitome of age being a case mind-over matter, when it comes to pursuing your dreams. He is currently signed to the local Lakefront Records that has a record by US act Chrome Cats in The Billboard Indicators Top 40 chart, which recognises potential Billboard Top 40 hits and is currently recording material for a new album that is aimed to break through the Billboard Top 40, just like his label-mates Chrome Cats. After which, there are plans to make a move to the great US of A for live performances and appearances on radio shows there – all of which hang in the balance of the success of his first single, Crazy, set for release in April.

His solo act was received well with shouts for an encore and a standing ovation at the end. After all, it is quite rare for local musicians, especially those from the pub circuit, to put on two whole one-hour sets of original songs. Still, it is too early to predict whether or not this guarantees support from audiences across the sea that is on par with that of his loyal following here in Malaysia. Whatever the outcome, it’s definitely good to know that he has come a long way from his expectable drum-machine-accompanied renditions of The Gambler and Hotel California.

This article was published on April 5, 2014 in The Malay Mail.