Nothing against Hong Kong singers like Ginger Kwam Jennifer Palor, Gig who recently left the city for Canada and a handful of others whom we might have forgotten- and all very good- it’s always been very difficult to make that transition from “lounge singer” to a bona fide recording artist who can tour and build up a real International fan base by making what we call a “real record” and not just some pedestrian “jazz” which is not even properly distributed and so falls on deaf ears and more just talking to the hand.
And then we heard Tess Collins at the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Adrenalinethis week performing with resident group The Good Life, and went, Wowzer.”
We appreciated the singer even more after an excruciating version of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” by Canto-Popsters called “Mr.”
“Mr” were more like “Missus” and it was the wrong band in the wrong venue.
We hope those running Adrenaline understand that one cannot suddenly “insert” mediocrity with the class and talent of a Tess Collins and think it won’t turn people off.
Tess Collins is a 25-year-old singer from Maine who has gone through that thankless task of being a “lounge singer” in a 5-star hotel in Hong Kong and which are often frequented by male tourists who often show up to see what might be around worth picking up.
Over the years, we have also watched with a smirk as these businessmen drop names and talk about being able to help many of these singers to “be HUUUUGE in America.” And, jeez, they talk so LOUDLY.
What comes across even more LOUDLY is that these guys wanna get laid and we remember vividly one of these creatures- a visiting Executive with EMI who was fired pretty quickly- screaming out to a resident singer at a hotel, “Baby, I have the POWER! I can sign you to Blue Note!” Yeah, sure you could have, you knob.
Getting back to Tess Collins, she has one helluva voice which no YouTube links can do it any justice.
One needs to see and hear her ‘live’ and really LISTEN to that voice and how it can be taken to a new level depending on savvy A&R skills when it comes down to material and finding that right musical direction to stand out in a very cluttered environment.
She leaves soon to try her luck on the television series that is “The Voice”- but whether “Idol”, “X Factor” or “The Voice”- we don’t see where this takes someone serious about a recording career. It’s fine for a young girl like Jessica Sanchez with a fantastic voice and all the time in the world to not become another Charice.
Will Tess Collins make it on “The Voice”?
Perhaps and even if she doesn’t, she will have that “experience” behind her, she would have, at least, tried something different and, from what we understand, be back in Hong Kong in September.
And then what?
Well, that would be telling, but let’s just say, it might mean starting with a clean slate and succeeding where many others have stagnated and with only the occasional private function going for them and the obligatory appearance at Peel Fresco.
In the meantime, we’ll leave you with one of our current favourite music videos and songs by one of our favourite people in Norah Jones.
Norah has proven that she’s not “Snorah” and has successfully moved away from those old days of “Come Away With Me” and people trying to pigeon-hole her into being what she loathed- someone akin to a lounge singer with a recording deal.