Singing on her mind

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - MUSIC - By SETO KIT YAN en­ter­tain­ment@thes­

Ku­bert Le­ung shares what it is like to be Faye Wong’s con­cert mu­sic di­rec­tor.

IF THERE is one thing Faye Wong is fa­mous for, apart from her singing and act­ing, it is her dis­like for chat­ter. Wong does not like talk­ing. She does not en­joy giv­ing in­ter­views. She does not even like to in­dulge in light ban­ter dur­ing her con­certs.

How­ever, that seems to be chang­ing now that she has dis­cov­ered the won­ders of so­cial me­dia. An ac­tive mi­croblog user, the Chi­nese su­per­star even tweets dur­ing con­certs. But, that is a story for an­other day.

It’s been seven years since the Chi­nese pop diva last per­formed in Malaysia, and Wong, 42, is set to per­form here again next month.

Last Fri­day, the Malaysian me­dia had a brief tele­phone con­ver­sa­tion with Wong’s con­cert mu­sic di­rec­tor Ku­bert Le­ung, who has known the singer for a long time.

“We en­tered the in­dus­try at about the same time and had the same man­ager and joined the same record la­bel. She has not changed much,” shared Le­ung, who said that work­ing on Wong’s con­cert for a year has left him with a deep im­pres­sion of the im­mensely pri­vate singer.

“Our creative team has de­signed a show to ex­cite your senses, whether vis­ual or au­ral, with el­e­ments that will give you a dif­fer­ent feel­ing at var­i­ous stages of her per­for­mance.”

The vi­su­als were cre­ated by famed Tai­wanese di­rec­tor Muh Chen with added in­put from in­ter­na­tion­ally ac­claimed Hong Kong film di­rec­tor Wong Kar Wai, and com­ple­mented with light­ing ef­fects by renowned Ja­panese light­ing de­signer Mit­sumasa Hayashi.

A creative sort, Le­ung had a ten­dency to de­scribe his sur­real ideas in ab­stract terms and pre­ferred to keep mum over de­tails of Wong’s up­com­ing show in Kuala Lumpur.

“Us­ing the four sea­sons, it’s a cy­cle that starts with win­ter and con­tin­ues through spring, sum­mer and au­tumn, to rep­re­sent re­birth. Hence, each stage in the change of sea­sons gives off a dif­fer­ent vibe.

“Apart from cos­tume changes, the song se­lec­tion also changes with each stop. It all de­pends on her. If she’s bored with the run­down, we’ll sug­gest some­thing else and she’ll mull over it.”

Does he dis­cuss with Wong be­fore trans­lat­ing ab­stract ideas into mu­sic?

“Ac­tu­ally, mu­sic is im­pos­si­ble to dis­cuss. It’s some­thing that must be worked on. We’d think up some­thing, then I’d pro­ceed with the ideas. I’d let her lis­ten to it and get her feed­back.

“What dif­fer­en­ti­ates Faye Wong from other per­form­ers is that she doesn’t talk. Due to that, the bridg­ing be­tween songs has to be tighter to avoid any awk­ward silent pauses in be­tween.

“Yet, be­cause there is much to pre­pare as we move from one song to an­other, it’s all quite chal­leng­ing. How­ever, we’ve col­lab­o­rated for quite some time now, so we’re fa­mil­iar with each other’s idio­syn­cra­sies.

“Once, she did grouse that there was no time to stop for even a sip of water.”

The ques­tion on ev­ery­one’s mind was “Why doesn’t Faye Wong talk?” Is it be­cause she doesn’t like talk­ing in gen­eral or she is too ner­vous to do any­thing but sing?

Pressed for a com­ment on Wong’s lack of ban­ter, Le­ung said: “I think if the con­cert is well-or­gan­ised and the show has de­vel­oped its rhythm, too much talk­ing will in­ter­rupt the flow. Since her per­for­mance mainly fo­cuses on her vo­cals, there isn’t any need for her to talk.”

Ad­mit­ting to feel­ing some pres­sure from her fans, she said: “Their ex­pec­ta­tions are ex­cep­tion­ally high, given that she has not per­formed in years.” (Wong took a hia­tus since 2005 and only staged a come­back last year.)

Le­ung also had a mes­sage for con­cert-go­ers: “It’s go­ing to be an awe­some show. Please be on time for the show, so you won’t miss her en­trance. Time is of the essence so we won’t be wait­ing for any­one.” n Faye Wong 2011 con­cert tour will be staged at Pu­tra In­door Sta­dium, Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur on Nov 6 at 8.30pm. The con­cert is or­gan­ised by Run­ning Into The Sun and pre­sented by Cel­com and MYEG. The re­main­ing tick­ets to her show are priced at RM580, RM880 and RM1080. For de­tails of the show and ticket reser­va­tion, con­tact Run­ning Into The Sun (­ning­in­tothe­sun. com or fol­low them on on face­book or Twit­ter) or Tick­etCharge (www.tick­

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