The heartbreak in Heartbreak Tree

Hey guys, last week I shared the original demo for “戀愛女生都是羊” was originally written in english, titled “HeartBreak Tree”. (Listen to it here.)

I also wanted to let you in on the process of how my original demos morphed into the final product on 55:38:7. So, today, I’m gonna tell you how “戀愛女生都是羊” came about.

When I was writing the uptempo numbers for the album, I wanted to incorporate a dash of music genres I love and influence me, and Soul is one of them. Yea, somewhere within me, there’s this lil’ soul that loves the good old sound of sctuff like these.

There’s something very infectious about soul music, and how it connects people. The funky rhythms and handclaps, and singing of heartache or hardtimes in such an expressive manner gets me moving. What I identify with is the spirit in these songs, which I believe is reflective of how people felt during those days soul music originated.

Here’s one classic I listen to over and over again – “Cry To Me” by Solomon Burke, widely referred to as a founding father of soul music during the 60s.

My inspiration for the song… why Heartbreak Tree?
It started with imagining a girl being stood up by her boy on they day they decided to meet under a tree. After I had a few cups of coffee, things like “I took an airplane to Miami Beach” and “And then you walked by with someone else who looked like me” came along. If she wore a dress, this is how it would look like.

I sometimes think I am one awkward child because I have a natural liking for very very sad things. Sad songs, sad stories…but I am kinda thankful for it as I believe thats the reason why I love being a singer song-writer!

小寒 always jokes about how there’s a tinge of sad even in my happy songs. People who know me know I don’t like to sugar-coat things and I believe in staying true to who I am when I write my songs and share them with you :-) In the case of heartbreak tree, it was sad + silly funny but “hey I’ll stand up on my feet alright” all at the same time. Very me.

The challenge and fun while writing it was in angling it as a mandarin song…Injecting some of these soul elements within a mandarin melody.

Now, the arrangement.
You’ll notice the original demo was pretty raw as I wanted to present it in a live band kind setting. My Ally McBeal imagination saw me singing this song loud with all the girls in the house and a snazzy guy band backing me up. Somewhere at the bridge, we’ll all clap and sing at the top of our lungs “Where is my Love!” (listen to the demo and you’ll know). Eric the bossman arranged the final product with a cool beats thing going. We expanded on the piano and organs used in my original demo for the final product, for which I roped in my pal and main piano man Matthew to work with me.

Working on the mandarin Lyrics 《戀愛女生都是羊》 proper
I don’t know how 小寒 and myself always go back and forth with ideas non stop on MSN (which looks like a typing competition at the same time) and suddenly we’ll get a “IT” moment. We both wanted it to be a “姊妹歌“ kinda vibe and the sheep herd eventually galloped its way into the lyrics lol. Read her 詞解 here!

Ok, The main guy. The Heartbreaker
Well of course this post ain’t complete without a picture of the main man, the lonesome little heartbreaker right? Here’s my picture with him.

So here’s the story of 《戀愛女生都是羊》。 I have had a couple of responses asking me if 戀愛男生都是狼?

你說呢?哈哈哈!

Look momma, Smokey Eyes!

I love my momma.

She gives me the “almond shape” eyes that many tell me runs in my family.

I was a very naughty kid growing up. She tells me the time I took a 6B pencil to draw eyeliner around my eyes ranks as one of my most champion stories….I drew it so dark and smokey she had a hard time washing it off.

When I working in the corporate world, my 9am to late working hours hardly gave me opportunity to have dinner with my parents. Now as a singer-songwriter, there are days I work like crazy but there are days too I get to enjoy more time with them at home which I am so thankful for.

I introduced my momma to the “Ellen DeGeneres” show. Rather, she didn’t have a choice as I watched it diligently every morning. She would go: “又看這個女人?!!?” (I explained to tell her Ellen changed my life with her laughter and positivity). We would both laugh like crazy when Ellen plays musical chairs on the show.

[Picture from ellen.warnerbros.com]

Mommy introduced me to things she enjoyed watching. Recently, the Korean Drama Series “Pink Lipstick”, became our favourite dinner time show.

The few months recording 55:38:7 were intense. So intense, I loss any sense of time. My parents left the house while I slept in till noon. I’d return home at 3 – 4 am when they are sleeping. But rain or shine, a bowl of soup awaits me everynight, either in a thermos flask or a note that says: “Soup in Oven.”

My mommy has super powers because she knows exactly when I run out of my staples like lemons and herbal jelly and replenishes even before I can go “Hey!”

When my eyes were busted by the eye infection recently, I saw two doctors on my own but momma accompanied me to the 3rd one that finally gave me cure. For a week, she dropped eye-drops for me every 3 hours, and would apply every night, the antibiotic eye cream for me till my eyes recovered.

Of course, growing up, there were times I made momma angry. But as I grow and as I spend more time with her, I tell myself, I don’t ever want to make her angry again.

Mommy has trained me since young to clean my room weekly. When I go overseas for concerts / shows, I know she sneaks into my room and gives it a good clean so I come home to a nice room. I know it because I came home and saw this one day….

Everyday, she works round the clock, engrossed in her work around the house and I know it is because of her that I eat well, sleep well, and not have to worry. She loves me through my angelic, naughty, cranky, tired or stressed days and stands by me in whatever I do.

So this year, I wanted to give her something special sewed with love.

I love my momma.