Corrinne May says she is still a Singaporean at heart

28 May 2013 / 3 years 5 months ago

She has been living in Los Angeles (LA) since 1999, but home-grown singer-songwriter Corrinne May is still very much a Singaporean at heart.Speaking to My Paper over the phone last week, the 40-year-old peppered her replies with Mandarin and Malay terms like "jaga", which means to watch over, and talked about her love for durians.She recently bought a house in Singapore, and returns here with her husband, music producer Kavin Hoo, 38, and daughter Claire, four, for about a month at least once a year."Our family is in Singapore, so we are quite rooted here... I want Claire to have some time with her family here, to foster that sense of family bonding and community," May said.But she admitted that her daughter "talks like an 'ang moh' (Caucasian)" and doesn't speak Singlish. Thankfully, Claire is picking up some Mandarin and loves local food such as "dou nai" (soya-bean drink) and "yi mi shui" (barley water), May added.The songbird, who is known for her soaring and emotive tunes, said it is "really hard balancing these two worlds" as LA is their creative home while Singapore is their community home.But their hearts still belong here, and one thing the singer is certain of is that she will not give up her Singapore citizenship."I believe in Singapore and I'm proud to be, Singaporean. It's part of my DNA, and to give it up would feel like betraying a part of myself," said May, who holds permanent residency in the United States."I'm proud that Singapore is such a young nation and has achieved so much."She will sing at the Esplanade Concert Hall next Friday.The last time May was here, she performed to a 6,000-strong crowd for Rhythm With Nature, a three-day festival held to mark the official opening of Gardens by the Bay. And a day before that gig, which took place on June 30 last year, she appeared in Jason Mraz's concert to perform Lucky with him.In March last year, she released her fifth studio album, Crooked Line, five years after the album before, Beautiful Seed, which has achieved platinum status here, selling more than 17,000 copies to date.May is known as one of Singapore's most successful English-language singers, but the down-to-earth star does not let it go to her head."I just hope that I'm able to reach out to people with my music.It means I have achieved a particular standard," she said."I'm flattered...and a little 'blushingly' embarrassed," she said with a laugh.Asked what she thinks of comments that her songs are becoming too similar, May replied that she doesn't mind them.While she explores other music influences - for instance,, she is thinking of incorporating sounds from the angklung, a bamboo instrument - she said that "there is always a core sense of music sensibilities that artists gravitate towards, such as certain chords, or a certain feel"."I think it's good that one can tell that it's a Corrinne May song.Every musician has his own signature sound... I won't change my music for the sake of changing it."

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