|Singaporean singer-songwriter Stefanie Sun at the recent launch of her new album in Beijing, inspired by the visual arts.[China Daily]|
Painting has inspired Singaporean singer-songwriter Stefanie Sun to look at music in a different way. And in her new album, A Dancing Van Gogh, Sun focuses on the Dutch painter. Chen Nan reports.
About two years ago, Singaporean singer-songwriter Stefanie Sun picked up painting. It was part of the national movement, called SkillsFuture, which provides Singaporeans aged 25 and above with an initial $500 of SkillsFuture Credit to develop their potential.
Sun went to study painting at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and has not stopped since then.
"Painting is like meditation. When you finish something pretty, you feel a sense of accomplishment. Music is a kind of audio art, but I am a very visual person. When I listen to a song, I think of pictures and colors," says Sun, 39.
Painting also inspired her to look at music in a different way. In her new album, A Dancing Van Gogh, Sun focuses on the Dutch painter.
"He had a dramatic life, cutting off his left ear, shooting himself and was little known to the art world until the time of his death," says Sun in Beijing while promoting her new album.
"He was crazy but his unswerving devotion to his art made him one of the greatest heroes of the art world."
In the title song, A Dancing Van Gogh, Sun portrays a world of darkness with her firm voice to the accompaniment of symphony orchestra, which is not a typical music style for her.
In her 17-year-long career, the singer has released 13 full-length albums and built up a large fan base in Asia thanks to her heartfelt love ballads.
"A Dancing Van Gogh is considered as a departure of me because of the different music style and my way of singing. But everyone has a darker side, although we are always encouraged to pursue the bright side in our lives," says Sun.
She also wrote lyrics for the last song in the album, titled Immense Beauty, in which she sings "finally we get together in the wheat field, immense beauty and celebration".
"I dedicate this song to Van Gogh's Wheat Field series. I felt like it's beautiful to sing these lyrics, which are not only about darkness but also hope. It's a sense of closure for the album," says Sun.
The singer, who was born in Singapore and started learning piano at 5, wrote her first song, Someone, while studying at Nanyang Technological University.
She then joined a music school founded by brothers Paul and Peter Lee, both Taiwan-based songwriters and producers. In 2000, she released her self-titled album, which was an instant success.
At a recent news conference in Beijing, Paul and Peter Lee showed up, which made Sun cry.
"I remember that first time we met in the school and she was just a young girl. Now, she is all grown up and clearly knows what she wants," says Paul Lee.
Sun says: "They have been my mentors for about 20 years and it's really touching to have them with me for so many years." The brothers are the producers of Sun's new album.
"Looking back, it's quite like a dream. I am a little bit overwhelmed. Music has always been a big part of my life. I have been doing concerts in my bathroom since I was young, envisioning everything I have now," says Sun. "And as long as I enjoy the process, I will go for it. Music is food for soul."
In 2011, Sun married her Dutch-Indonesian boyfriend, Nadim van der Ros, and one year later, she gave birth to a son.
She then kept a low profile until returning to the limelight with her album, Kepler, in 2014, which was followed by an 18-month-long tour.
"Motherhood changed me. When you are single, you have all the time in the world but now you have to take care of him," says Sun. "I do sing for him before bedtime and sneak out after he falls asleep."
The song, Rainbow Bot, which released in 2016, was dedicated to her son.
(Source: China Daily)
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