A Malaysian and a Singaporean musician walked into a Hong Kong TV station canteen … no, this is not the start of a joke. It’s actually the story of how Malaysian violinist extraordinaire Dennis Lau and ace Singaporean music producer Hanjin Tan decided to work together.
Lau, 32, is one of the most sought-after entertainers in Malaysia and is best known for his electrifying live violin performances. He held his first ever large-scale concert Dennis Lau & Friends: The Phoenix Rising Concert last year.
The 41-year-old Tan is a critically-acclaimed songwriter and producer who is currently based in Hong Kong.
He has worked with the likes of Eason Chan and Sammi Cheng, Jacky Cheung and Wang Lee Hom, and is also a popular recording artiste of his own right, and is currently one of the judges on the Malaysia/Singapore edition of The Voice.
Tan was in town for four days to shoot music videos for the songs he collaborated with Lau.
He recalled how he met Lau: “We were doing a show (the Caritas Star Studded Charity Show) at TVB and the TV station wanted me to collaborate with a mysterious finalist from Malaysia. That’s how we met. After that, I introduced him to TVB’s canteen food.”
“The food was quite good, actually!” Lau chimed in. “I’d known about Hanjin’s work for a while, and we performed Mei Shi Jian Hou Hui (No Time For Regrets) together.
“At the canteen, we were talking about music and I started to show him what I did.”
From there, the idea of a collaboration came up. It was initially supposed to be just one song, but it grew to become four, which meant they had to shoot four music videos during the time Tan was in KL.
“The wonderful thing about this is that we’re just making the songs first, and think about releasing it later,” Lau said. “We haven’t discussed when or how we’re going to release it yet.”
Here, the musicians talk about the songs they worked on:
Named after the luxury wine brand Chateau Lafite, which is considered a status symbol in China.
“It’s about a poor guitar-playing kid who goes to Beijing to try to make it, and dreams about one day being able to buy his own bottle of Lafite,” said Tan. “I basically finished the song and left gaps for Dennis to do a solo.”
A song taken from Tan’s last album, Lau loved it so much that he asked Tan if he could use it for his wedding which is scheduled for next year. Since the song is already pretty much done, Hanjin said Lau’s part was mostly adding a violin track to it.
Da Call is a slang term in China, which is meant as encouragement. Lau had already recorded this song as a rap/violin song, but Hanjin turned it into something else altogether.
“I’d recorded this but I had not yet published it. I sent it over to him and he rapped over it.” said Lau.
Hanjin added: “I turned it into a really heavy rap song. I did a really technical rap for it which will be really tough to do the video for!”
You Are The Most Beautiful
“This song was written for my wife. I had written a song called Mei Chu Si (I’m Useless) a while back, which is about how I’m just a songwriter who was useless. So, I owed her an ‘I love you’ song, and this was it,” said Tan.
“Then Dennis texted me the day after the song was released to see if he could use it for his wedding video instead! He’d just recorded the violin parts for Marry Me, and he was complaining that I didn’t tell him about this song.”