since there's no hifi to play, let self-indulge a bit and talk about music, my fave subject.

since we do many cover versions, we have to be good at it. btw, chinese music industry treats cover versions with disdain because they don't understand that many good singers can give a new lease of life to covers. on the other hand, western singers get credits for reviving oldies and doing good covers. examples are diana krall, michael buble, jamie callum and many others.

oh, btw, we are not ready to do an album with 100% original compositions yet. our standards are very high; if we don't have good compositions to showcase, we rather sing other people's songs and sing them well.

there are 3 major things to bear in mind when doing covers:

[1] if you can't compete on singing (e.g. if the original version is already definitive and can't be surpassed), then re-arrange the song innovatively. when the arrangement is creatively different, people tend not to compare that harshly. a prime example is when singing cai qin's (chinese audiophile queen) songs - never never compete with her on singing because she is way way up there!

[2] inject personality into the song as if you are the original singer. when you sing as if you own the song, critics will shut up.

[3] if you can't compete on technique (against the original singer), enhance on the emotional delivery and vice versa. most singers are good in either technique or emotional delivery, seldom both at the same time.

now, some excellent videos on how to do a fabulous cover version...sorry, non-chinese readers :-(

[1] video #1 is a cover version by aska yang. this chap pours so much emotions into the song that everyone who hears the song for the first time (me inclusive) has wet eyes throughout. (notice many in the audience cried!) of course, some critics say aska is overbearing and too pretentious. but i personally think he is great and this is a definitive way of doing a cover version. btw, the judges (of this singing contest) gave aska full marks, 25/25!

[2] video #2 is by the real mccoy, stefanie sun. stefanie has a great tone and her rendition is beautiful, perhaps a bit understated in terms of emotional delivery, but very touching no less. stef is natural, without the overpouring of emotions of aska. i like this original version very much.

JZ8 and 2V1G projects are starting soon and i have to keep reminding myself and my arranger(s) to excel in doing covers. it is a daunting task to emulate the original version but if you can do it, the results are immensely satisfying!

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