Let me brutally frank and shoot me down in flames for saying this: I vaguely know Lupo, G.E.M.’s Producer and, I guess, mentor and Svengali better than I know G.E.M.
In fact, apart from a smattering of songs, I have no idea of this girl’s music. And then last night happened: G.E.M. performed at the HKJC’s Happy Wednesday “Music Rocks The Valley” and opened the series of events which will last another two weeks.
Another admission: I cannot fucking stand Canto-Pop or Canto-Rock or whatever the hell this sheep in wolves’ clothing is called.
99% of the time, Hong Kong-produced music is a piece of crock compared to the daring breakthroughs made by bands like Beijing’s BRILLIANT Lonely China Day and the far more poppier- and cutesy- Kimberley Chan from Taiwan who is now Number One out there thanks to the songwriting and A&R efforts of Terry Lee/ Leung, someone whom I signed up when with UMG and then EMI.
Check out Lonely China Day here: JIMOXIARI
Terry is a good kid- a bit wacky and out there- but passionate about his music and very conscience about not producing crap.
He has succeeded with Kimberley Chen for Sony Music though, again, to be frank, her music doesn’t really make me feel like getting up and moving my ass.
She doesn’t have that je ne said quoi that Lonely China Day has, but we’re talking about apples and oranges here and Kimberly Chen.
Take her far, Terry- and nice song here that you wrote with her. Good hook!!!
Which kinda brings me back to G.E.M.- and to coin a hackneyed expression- a little girl with a big voice.
This girl has an incredible voice.
Is it “world class”? Well, what does “world class” mean when anyone’s “great voice” is only as good as a great song?
Does she have the songs? At least going through her YouTube videos. Not really.
The songs seem to be trying to hit too many bases at one time- and failing.
They don’t do her voice the justice it deserves.
Last night, opening with her latest single- and a music video which, I think, is one of the best around and so different to some poxy shots of a girl walking down a beach and pulling petals off a flower- G.E.M. followed this up with her covers of Lady Marmalade and, I think, an Alicia Keys song.
Nothing wrong with any of this as she was performing at a racetrack and where most of the time is spent on watching the races- and having a punt- and with music almost being a breather between the real action.
I was watching every horse I backed getting rolled like Tumbling Dice.
With this in mind and needing to appeal to a largely Western audience, the girl succeeded in pleasing the masses. It was “just a gig.”
Sure, it was predictable, but music, as Happy Wednesdays require, needs to be predictable and even if this was “Music Rocks The Valley,” this was far more “Music POPS The Valley”.
It wasn’t exactly Led Zeppelin.
Standing there listening and watching G.E.M. I kept thinking what I would do for her on an A&R level.
In a perfect world, I would team her up with Adam Lambert- have her open for him and have them record a duet.
There is some synchronicity there and, hopefully, my old mate Simon Fuller is reading this as he and X1X can make this happen.
Bottom line: Young artists get older and lose track of time as does Management.
So, does G.E.M. wish to be a big fish or even “fishette” in the small pond that is Hong Kong?
Seriously, people, where will this lead?
If it leads to being the “new” Faye Wong, fine, though I am still very much in love with the “old” Faye Wong.
Faye Wong is Greater China’s biggest star and at 41, she is fucking amazing- beautiful to watch and a pleasure to listen to.
If I wasn’t already in love, I would marry Faye- IF she would have me!
Where does G.E.M. fit in today?
Is she competing with one of my favourites in Tia from Taiwan?
Does she need to “compete” with anyone?
And are the Hong Kong and Greater China markets simply going to take a very good talent and reduce her to “just another” Chinese pop idol?
Personally, I hope not.and I keep coming back to collaborations with artists- International artists- like Adam Lambert, perhaps having someone like Pink write a song for her and, my personal dream, having G.E.M. perform and record with Prince- and have those wizards at Merlin Music write songs for her.
Impossible? Nothing is impossible, baby.
It just takes balls and vision and looking beyond the obvious.