Friday, February 28, 2014

Juwita Suwito in UCSI

Today in UCSI there was a vocal masterclass conducted by Juwita Suwito, a well known person in the music scene in Malaysia.  To those who might not know, just to give a very brief introduction about her; she is Aubrey Suwito's sister, who is also another well known person in the Malaysia's music industry.  She sang the theme song of Akademi Fantasia (if I'm not mistaken, correct me if I'm wrong).  Akademi Fantasia is a super famous reality show that I personally NOT interested in.  However, I have nothing against the theme song ^_^

She is obviously a singer since she was giving a vocal masterclass in UCSI.  She sang a lot of English songs, and let me just take one random song of her from Youtube and put it here...

Getting to the masterclass now, there were four talented singers of UCSI who performed just now.  They were Joycelin Low who sang Let It Go from Frozen, Vyvien sang Masquerade, Gan Hui Wan sang What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life and Nurul Aina sang Hurt by Christina Aguilera.  They did well, especially Nurul Aina, she just blew everyone away mainly because how she sang the song completely from her heart without even trying to sound like Christina Aguilera, which is good because it creates originality.  Also, I just love the lyrics to What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life, very deep and intimate.

Juwita was very cool when she gave her comments and she gave some basic tips for them, mainly on singing and feeling the lyrics and the song rather than just sing the music.  She also said something very interesting, at least to me, which was how the band should feel and understand the music as well.  That is a little thing that a lot of people might take too lightly these days but is actually an important element to make the song more meaningful.  I mean, the band is adding that extra ingredient to support the singer and just like food, if the extra ingredient is tasteless, then it will not be meaningful and end up being pointless.  So, I do agree that the band must also understand the music rather than just playing the accompaniment role.

On a more personal note, I notice that the main issue among singers who do not speak English as their first language will be the diction.  I am not pointing to any particular singers, but there were moments where the diction was wrong to the ears.  Juwita did some exercise with them by making them speak the lyrics rather than sing, and that is where I can hear of the mispronunciation of words and made me realize how important it is for the singers to just read through and speak the lyrics out loud first before singing it.  When you sing with text, people want to be able to understand them, so it is hard to get the message across if we don't say it correctly.  Especially for us, who don't speak English as our first language, even if some of us do speak English as first language, most of them are Manglish (Malaysian English).

Finally, Juwita mentioned about singing in front of the mirror.  This I totally agree, not just for singers but for everyone who perform on stage.  Sometimes we make mistakes unconsciously but you will notice it if you see yourself in the mirror.  It also helps with the posture as we can see it for ourselves and it is also good to help you with your stage presence.  If you don't have a mirror, then you can always record and watch it.  We are our best critics to improve, so we have to put in the effort to see ourselves like how people see us when we perform.  

Well, I think I have been talking quite a lot.  It was a pleasure to attend a masterclass by Juwita Suwito and congratulation to those who performed today, may you improve and become a better singer in the future =)

the very top picture was Juwita Suwito herself singing her song, Stand, for us before the masterclass ended.

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