by Melissa Fu
“I was on my way to work one day, aboard bus 16, and I noticed how a guy and girl were observing each other. I just thought it was funny how when one looked up the other looked away or pretended to be reading.
For some reason I’ve observed that quite a few times. That was the starting point of the song. You never know when a song is going to start writing itself and how it will end. With this one, the lyrics describe that kind of strangers-looking-at-each-other scene but the message is not obvious, which is great. It means everyone who hears it gets a different message.”
That was how alternative/indie singer-songwriter Jonathan Meur wrote <Strangers In Motion>, a finalist in the NTU Impressario a year ago.
The Not-So- Singaporean Local musician
“Being a foreigner has not given me any advantage,” he says, “there are actually some opportunities for Singaporeans and PRs that I don’t have access to.”
“For me, Singapore is a place I’ve felt connected to since I first came here in 1990 and now it’s my one and only home.” He adds, indicating that he hopes to become a PR in the not-so-distant future.
Having just concluded a two-night performance <Postcards from Home> at the Esplanade in August, Jonathan is focusing on his EP which he hopes to release on 12 December as “12.12.12 has a nice ring to it”.
“I’ve had opportunities to perform at the Concert Hall, the Theatre Studio and the Outdoor Theatre,” he says.
“The Concourse is a great venue because it’s very open and easy for people just walking by to stop, take a seat and stay for the rest of the performance.” he adds.
Being ‘not-so-local’ also gave him the opportunity to perform in Melbourne, which he describes as a ‘special place’ because ‘every other person is an incredibly talented musician’. He serenaded the audiences in a <Songwriters in the Round> at a
Jonathan not only writes his own songs, he plays the guitar and piano. “It’s a very humbling and exciting setup, and I would love to start something similar in Singapore,” he says.
“Having gone for a number of gigs, one of the things that really struck me is how well attended all of them are and how respectful audiences are of the performers,” he adds.
“When someone is playing, everything else is expected to go mute.”
His songs are etched with surprise bitterness in a way.
His ‘happy song’ <Toy Hearts> is a bouncy and cheerful-sounding tune but in his own words “really about repeating mistakes in relationships, as if we all had toy hearts that could be easily fixed or replaced.” Another song <More Reasons>, a song that he will sing for romantic purposes is about finding reasons where there are none to stay close to a special someone.
Although only at 27, through the songs that he has written, Jonathan seems like an old soul that has gone through life’s ups and downs.
Catch Jonathan Meur at the Singapore Writers Festival in November and the Esplanade Concourse in January next year. Look out for his EP which will be out 12 December 2012, more details can be found at his official Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/#!/jonathanmeurmusic
Bandcamp page: http://jonathanmeur.bandcamp.com/
p.s. We'll be filming Jonathan at Viking Coffee (56 Kandahar Street, Singapore 198904) this friday,
Oct 13 at 830pm and posting the clip later. If you want to catch him 'live', you know where to go! :)