Same Song Different Singers

Everybody can sing, just as everybody who is literate can write. But writing a novel is very different from writing a poem or a play or an essay or a newspaper article. You need a different set of skills and talent for each genre. That applies to singing too. Technically flawless singing is a bit like journalism. It informs the singer but it doesn’t project images or stir emotions. Conviction is very important in singing. If there is a lack of conviction, then no matter how technically accomplished the singer is, he/she will not be able to lead the listener into his/her world.

Let’s listen to a very well-written song 离别的车站(lyrics by queen of romance 琼瑶) sung by the following singers. Do you agree with my assessment?

Zhao Wei the original singer, also the most famous. An actress actually, she is far more popular than all the other singers featured here. The song was specially written for her as she starred in that TV show.

The technically flawless singer with a highly “decorated” voice, but this rendition lacks right kind of emotion.

Another technically flawless singer, but emotionally hollow. I’m expecting clear signs of melancholy which I didn’t get from listing to her.

My favourite version. As usual, I was busy “exploring” around Bras Basah Complex before attending to a case at Adelphi. At a bookstore selling mostly publications from China, a song that was being played got my attention.

I didn’t want to feel obliged to buy the CD if I asked the shopkeeper for the title of the song, so I tried to catch as many words as I could, then went back to search for it.

OK, I managed to find it, found some pictures of the singer, chose the best one and did a little editing myself. Her name is 孙露, not very popular in China and virtually unknown in Singapore. Most of her songs are covers of old songs by much better known singers. There is also nothing very unique about her voice and neither does she have a superhuman vocal range. It’s just that she sings this song with so much feeling and conviction, so natural, with signs of fatigue, resignation that it’s so easy to identify with what she’s going through. It shows that she really understands the song. Definitely deserves promoting.

Finally, here is something from a very talented amateur! Her name is Zi Ling. She’s my runner up. Great technique and nice voice, but she seems to be faking the emotions. For a melancholic song, her voice is a bit too shrill and not natural like Sun Lu. Zi Ling’s style is also very “classical”. She sounds too much like Cai Xing Juan 蔡幸娟.

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