Album ‘Serendipity 緣的根源’

Posts filed under Album ‘Serendipity 緣的根源’

The Album Cover

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We've hired a local design company to come up with designs for the new album cover and yesterday, we received the first draft. I can't show you just yet but it's very cool!

Take care all.

Disheartened

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Today was disheartening.

A year ago while performing in China, I damaged my vocal chords. The speaker configuration at the venue was such that the microphone couldn't be turned up very much and I had to sing at a very high volume to be heard by the audience. My vocals were not strong to begin with, and after two nights of over-singing, my chords gave up. I was unable to speak normally for several months, and recovery only became somewhat noticeable in June. Even now though, I haven't fully recovered.

Today was evidence of that. We booked a recording studio to get experience in a recording studio, to see how things are done, and to make sure that the music material we have is compatible with the studio. Everything was great, except for my voice.

It was crystal clear that my voice is not yet ready for 'prime time'. It was broken and raspy. It definitely needs time and work.

So, it is not possible at this time to set a release date for the album. In the meantime, while I work to strengthen my voice, we'll continue to work on the various things that pertain to the album; designing the CD cover and insert, re-designing my web site, arranging the remainder of the songs, thinking about marketing, etc.

There have been many obstacles to recording this album. When it is finally released, it will be a symbol of victory against all odds.

The letter ‘s’.

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In 1987, I bought a one-way ticket from Sydney to Hong Kong. My dream was to become a Cantopop singer. It's been quite an adventure, but that dream is about to become a reality.

In 2010, we began planning my first Cantonese album. Its name? I'll give you a hint. It begins with the letter 's'.

Stay tuned.

Coming home. Empty handed? Not quite.

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I've been in L.A. for just over 2 weeks. Unfortunately, I didn't get to do what I came here to do, and that was a very big let down, but I may be leaving with something much bigger.

Shortly after arriving in L.A., pressures from multiple sources combined with past injuries and bad habits led to serious muscle strain in my throat. It was so bad that I had to see an ENT specialist. After prodding from Peisha and another newly discovered friend, I made an appointment to see Dr Nasseri.

Dr Nasseri is not cheap, but when you find the right person, when you find the person with the answers, the cost doesn't matter. Major muscle tension dysphonia was the diagnosis, and the doc promptly informed Peisha over the phone what I needed to correct my problem.

Muscle memory is a stick in the mud, a problem that is very difficult to eradicate, but it is possible and necessary in my case. For the last week or so, and for the coming months, I won't be taking normal voice training. Instead, I'll be concentrating on muscle relaxation exercises, exercises that gradually teach me to relax as I sing and eventually forget the strain that was once part of my singing technique.

In classes with Peisha, we've already seen improvement, and we've seen glimpses of my voice's potential. Every breakthrough is an exciting moment, and there are more to come.

Patience is the key. Muscle memory is a pain in the neck (literally in my case). If progress is rushed, or if I try to sing something tough or beyond the middle of my vocal range, the muscles will remember the strain and reconfirm it. I cannot allow that to happen, not now that I have the chance to eradicate this problem once and for all. It may take weeks. It may take months. It doesn't matter. All that matters is that the problem is solved.

So, Project S continues but now at a slower pace. Only time will tell when Project S can finally be revealed to the world. Until then, we will all have to wait. Believe me when I say there is no one more impatient to see Project S become a reality than me.

But the prospects are good :-)

Stay well people.

(listening to Sara Bareilles' Gravity. Wow. This girl can sing!)

Mute, not deaf, but thank you for caring.

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The Friday before last, I did one of Peisha's lessons at home and then a few hours later sang again in a different kind of vocal training at a friend's place for another hour. This particular lesson of Peisha's was a hard one with close to 45 minutes of gruelling workout. Not long after beginning the other training session, my voice was already feeling tired.

The next day, I was made very aware of my error. I had developed something known as Supraglottal Muscle Tension Dysphonia. The muscles around the voice box had tensed up making speech difficult. The only remedy is rest, vocal rest. So I've not spoken anything since last Wednesday.

Here in L.A., I get around with my newly acquired iPad. Before coming over, I purchased a popular painting program for the iPad called Brushes. Now when I need to communicate with someone, I pull the iPad out and write the words on the iPad using Brushes. It's quick and effective.

The people here are great, showing understanding and patience. There have however been two unexpected reactions. The first is that many people respond by also speaking very softly. Perhaps it's a learnt rule when being polite that you respond in a conversation in a similar volume to your partner. Some of the people talking to me can get very soft though.

The second reaction which I've seen at least twice is that the other person immediately looks for paper to write their response on. The assumption is that since I can't speak, then I'm also deaf. They are of course unaware that I'm not mute, simply on strict vocal rest, but it's an interesting response anyway. What is bizarre is that I've also seen this reaction from my wife who is very very aware that I'm not deaf!!!

I'll be in L.A. for another week. Take care all.

Inconvenience with an unexpected bonus

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It's complicated.

Flying to L.A. was supposed to be relatively easy to arrange. We booked the flight with our agent in mid-late July, a full three weeks before the scheduled date of departure. The return flight was confirmed, and I was put on the waiting list of 4 flights from HKG to LAX. Going online to zuji, every flight of every airline was pretty full. Apparently, people were returning home after visiting the World Expo during the Summer holidays.

I stayed on those four waiting lists until the booking's deadline, and then my agent tried to keep me there because the return flight had been confirmed. It was only a few days ago that I discovered that Cathay doesn't allow someone to remain on a waiting list past the deadline. The rules are that you either 'publish' the ticket by the deadline or lose it, but you're not permitted to 'publish' a ticket if the seat hasn't been confirmed. So, your agent is forced to rebook your ticket each time the deadline is reached, effectively putting you at the back of the line every time. Cathay needs to do something to improve their system.

So, by August 8 just 5 days before I was scheduled to leave, I was still without a ticket.

At the same time, I developed a personal disability over the weekend. Without a ticket, and with this personal disability, I contemplated delaying my trip to L.A. until the end of August. If so, I realised that I would have more time to prepare for Project S and decided to take advantage of it. We would do more than originally planned! I contacted the team in L.A. and notified them of the planned change.

Then on August 8, we were having lunch with a large group of friends and acquaintances and discovered that one of them might be able to help me get my ticket anyway. On Monday, he confirmed the ticket for me, which was a good thing because it turned out that my friends in L.A. were not available to help me in late August anyway, so I'm leaving for L.A. on Friday as originally planned.

But what of the 'extra' I had planned? Well, when I informed my friends in L.A. that we were returning to the original schedule, two of them told me that they could still prepare the extra for me in time for my arrival!

So what do you get when I can't confirm an air ticket to LAX? You get something extra.

As for that disability, I'm working hard to temper it and hopefully have it completely subdued by the time I begin work on Project S in L.A. next Wednesday.

By the way, the 'S' in Project S stands for… ;-)

Project ‘S’

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For more than a year, I've had this project in my mind, thinking about it, planning it, sometimes writing it down. Now however, Project S has become an actuality.

We've been working on Project S for several weeks. Next week, I'll be flying to L.A. to continue work on it, and you'll begin to see more about it soon after.

Part of Project S will entail a re-design of my web site. I have a basic design in mind, but need to find a talented graphic designer to implement it for me. As with all things, the beauty of the design will be in the small touches that the designer adds to my ultra-simple design.

Stay tuned.