Tarcy Su 蘇慧倫’s producer and I must have been living on different planets. When her albums were first released in the 1990s, I took no notice of her. That’s because her marketing team somehow found it prudent only to promote the main theme songs in her albums which were lively, bubbly jingles. Worst of all, her mad hairstylist gave her a most unflattering, schoolgirl’s haircut.
I didn’t really like 蘇慧倫’s songs until I heard 寂寞喧哗 on the radio. In those days, my practice was a shophouse at Hougang. I was in my 20s, lived alone and worked nearly 12 hours a day from 9.00am to 9.00pm. After work, I would go upstairs to my room to write. As the practice wasn’t too busy, I had many empty slots to write even during office hours. However, the only time I could write uninterrupted was in the evening.
My room was small, but I had a very decent AIWA mini hifi system which I bought from Thomson Plaza for $900. It could play cassette tapes and I was just beginning to buy CDs. As I wrote my poems and stories, I would leave the radio on and I paid little attention to what was being played until an unfamiliar but very beautiful song caught my attention. 寂寞喧哗 was one of them and I was pleasantly surprised that it came from Tarcy Su 蘇慧倫 – the young lady with the disastrous haircut. I began to take notice of her. I discovered that she could handle her sentimental songs very well and wondered why her company didn’t promote those, but nothing prepared me for 爱我好吗? My heart just melted when I first heard it. I would be too proud to find myself in that situation, but seeing that yearning come across with such stark honesty made the character in the song come alive, begging for sympathy like a disowned child.
I became a nominal fan overnight, but over the years, her company continued to promote her youthful jingles. Perhaps they wanted her songs to appeal to both ends of the spectrum. I was probably there with a small but significant minority. Another one of my favourites picked out over the radio was this one: 哭过的天空
Does it not sound like a breath of fresh air after the rain, with a brilliant rainbow and golden sunset? What really gripped me was the personification of the sky and how we should just let weeping folks cry. Tarcy Su has more or less retired from the music scene after getting married a few years ago. Till this day, I only like a small handful of her songs, but these precious few have given me a lot of inspiration on nights when writer’s block struck.
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