Singapore International Jazz Festival 2017 (Day 3) (02.04.17)

Venue: The Plaza @ Marina Bay Sands, Singapore
Date: 2nd April 2017
Promoter: Orbis Festival Productions
Review by: Maisha G.
Special Thanks: Tessa, and the Full Circle PR team

Every year, without fail, SingJazz comes to life in the first quarter of the year, spoiling fans rotten with the amazing lineup they put up for us, year after year, beckoning more audience from every aspect. This year’s lineup got me at the edge of my seat when I saw the name Brian McKnight on the lineup for the three day long concert. I have yet to keep myself updated with his new material but I find myself going back to “Back At One” each and every time.

I could only make it for the third day of the festival but was convinced that they save the best acts for last and I can’t deny that I felt a little nervous for the show as I love the feeling of getting surprised each time I discover a new artiste and I fall in love instantaneously. I came just in time to watch Nik West. I held myself back so that I could surprise myself and good god was I not only surprised but more so captivated and in immense awe of the band. Led by a strong lady whose tresses intrigues me till this very day, purple braided with diamonds finish on the plaits and clad in a galactic electrifying suit with knee high boots, she worked her prowess on the bass guitar that left my mouth hanging as I positioned myself right in front of the stage. The band was supported by a bunch of talented musicians and their presence exudes so much energy and got the crowd moving. Nik West, the lady who is a beast on the bass worked her magic through and through. I was too intrigued to the point that I was not able to catch any song titles. The way they could transition into the various genres within matters of style changing impressed me way more than I thought I could fathom, from the blues to funk and to reggae and all in a matter of seconds. The band blew my mind and I thought to myself again, why didn’t I discover about them any sooner.

The next act that was in line for the show that night was also a new name to me. Again, I had to pull myself away from trying to listen to the songs prior to the show. Raul Midon reminded me of so many acclaimed artistes, one of which that came to mind instantaneously was Bill Withers. The one who made the song “Ain’t No Sunshine” popular and fresh till this very day, a true evergreen. The similarity drawn was uncanny yet I could pick up many similar inferences to great musicians of which Miles Davis also came to mind as I grooved to the songs that sent cheers to my heart. The day got better every second despite the knowledge of work coming up the next day.

I can’t deny that I was looking forward to the last act for the night. I can’t say I know much about David Foster before this but I did my research on him because it rang something some what familiar to me so I decided to look him up to confirm my hunch and true enough, the brainchild to many amazing numbers sung by many amazing artistes like Whitney Houston, Peter Cetera and Celine Dion just to name a few.

The setting on the stage was promising as David sat right before the grand piano and like a magician as he punched the keys and serenaded the crowd with the beautiful tunes we all know too well as we sing our hearts out to them at the different instances. Evergreen music we all truly adore to the very bits. We were graced with the many compelling new singers; Dian Sugardi, Thirdstory and our very own local talent, Nick Zavior. Dian Sugardi, a force to be reckon with as she serenaded the crowd with the song everyone loves too much to let go, a song, an identity for the late Whitney Houston titled “I Will Always Love You”. Dian belted the notes beautifully as she got a good grip and control of the song and her vocals blew our minds. Whistles were heard from every direction as the standing podium filled up with patrons who were astounded by her vocal capabilities, very much quickly as we could see the gap filling up. I was blown away song after song that she sang to the crowd that I lost track of them after awhile because of the truly immersive experience I was going through.

I was thrilled to know the watch the next act called Thirdstory made up of three very charming man that got my attention and my eyes affixed to them on stage. They gave us a background of the song that they wrote while they were waiting for the train and the song was titled “G Train”, one of them that goes by the name Elliot Skinner got my eyes almost popping out from the sockets because he reminded me so much of Frank Ocean that it was uncanny. But the way they harmonise and the vocals complimenting each other in their songs, got me in awe and gawking at the intensity of their vocal ranges. They’ve definitely found a fan in me.

I can’t deny that I was really really looking forward to one person that very night and it’s none other than Brian McKnight. I stepped out of the festival area for a short while to make a trip to the washroom and who would’ve thought on my way back into the festival site would I bump into the man himself. I just stood froze in my position and very much dumbfounded for the moment’s worth. I’ve been singing his popular number to myself ever since the night started, or more so the day. And as soon as he graces the stage, I felt like I was literally swept off my feet and I was swooning to his bright smile and his voice could calm a storm. As David played the keys to a familiar riff, my heart jolted and I was captured in the moment, the very first few words to the song ‘It’s undeniable that we should be together”, I literally let out a short shriek as I caught on to the lyrics of the song. I closed my eyes and I lose myself in the moment and I was just swaying from side to side and singing my heart out. I opened my eyes and stole glances of the faces of the many audiences. I saw tears trickling down the face of a lady and I felt the connection with her that instant and how emotional the song got her and is for her so much so also for me. It was surreal and it was all a light hearted moment for many patrons, the vibes felt was intense yet all in the positivities.

The last act supporting David Foster’s set is someone i’ve been intrigued by for a long time. My first listen to the song “Through The Fire” garnered my interest and got me more associated with female singers of yesteryears. Something about her voice that tells a story so effortless yet sultry tunes rocking the rhythms to the song. Chaka Khan was one of the singers I grew up with and I was thankful to my parents for exposing me to such great music since I was a young girl. It made me who I am, and it was because of the music that moulded me into the person I am today. “Ain’t Nobody” was another familiar song to me as I hear the track being covered by up and rising artistes all around. But the original version is the one I always go back to and I could ask for nothing more than to watch her perform these songs live. A short story that entailed the song “Through The Fire” which was initially named as “Chaka” as it was written for her. An interesting switch of names but more so a good embodiment of the artiste that Ms. Khan is for her powerful and spellbinding vocals.

I went home a happy goober having have my heart satisfied and a good amount of jazz to last me till the end of the month, I wish the night would never end, nonetheless, thank you so much SingJazz for the amazing fixture to a promising year.