After a solid string of single releases, Singapore singer-songwriter Jean Tan finally releases her anticipated 5-song EP Blooms, available on 20 November 2020 on all major digital streaming platforms via Leeway. This EP includes singles released this year, such as “Serenade” and “Oak Cherry Wine”, as well as two new renditions of old songs as fitting bookends, “Everything I Love” and “All Things New (Blooms)”.
Although she has dabbled in folktronica and darker instrumentation in her previous Hideaway EP, Blooms brings Jean’s vocals centerstage, showcasing both sensibility and range of expression. A contemporary homage to the folk/vocal jazz/blues genre, Blooms is reminiscent of artistes such as Lianne La Havas, Norah Jones and the like. Jean’s voice is sweet with a touch of smoke, complimenting the bluesy guitar lines and soft pulse of the electric piano peppered throughout the tracklist.
The opening track, “Everything I Love”, prefaces the EP wonderfully with its sheer lightness. It reads more like a poem than a song, and it’s no wonder why since it is a lyric collaboration with prolific local poet Felix Cheong. With its simple acoustic instrumentation, the track feels like family and proves that one doesn’t really need very much to find joy.
And then we have the closing track “All Things New (Blooms)”. On first listen, it sounds like a sad soliloquy; but on closer examination, it is as the title suggests - a sliver of newness after a period of stasis, a near-perfect reflection of the times we live in. Although inspired by Sylvia Plath’s poem “Tulips”, the floral imagery does not seek to despair as it did in the original text but instead, reminds us that the withering is a sign of a bed of blooms to come. Seasons come and go, and the presence of winter gives spring its meaning.
In fact, that is just what is so special about this collection of songs. Taken in context of Jean’s last EP Hideaway, which was written in a 7-year period of battling illness, Blooms rings in resounding assurance that for every time of darkness and death, follows a time of light and rebirth. It maps the passage from dawn to dusk, starting with a fresh morning awakening in “Everything I Love”; charts us through the noonday sun and its open sky in “Fly”, and brings us on a drowsy, love-soaked song and dance in “Oak Cherry Wine”. By the time we arrive at “All Things New (Blooms)”, we are drifting off into the promise of another day, and another, and another. At the cello swells in wondrous countermelody at the end, we are left with the all-important message: that people heal, systems are restored, and life resumes as it always was. Only through the winter of Hideaway can we taste the spring of Blooms.
Listening to the Blooms EP from start to finish reminds one of Jean’s best-performing singles yet - “Colours” - written for the 2015 Southeast Asian Games. Just the same, listening to these songs fills our mind’s eye with colour, but not the electric kind. This time, the shades are a little more muted, unfiltered, and matured, aging well with the years. It is slightly bitter, but we like it better.
Produced and mixed by Dru Chen
Mastered by Cameron Henry
Artwork by Lee Wen Ling
© 2020 Leeway
The extended play also sees Jean collaborating with other well-known local artistes, such as Adam Shah (“Serenade”), Euntaek Kim (“Fly”), Ben Poh (“Fly”), Leo Goh (“Oak Cherry Wine”), and Trinh Ha Linh (“All Things New (Blooms)”). “Everything I Love” and “All Things New (Blooms)” were also recorded by Leonard Soosay.
Established in 2007, LEEWAY is one of the best independent publishers and record labels and no.1 sync agency in Korea. LEEWAY discovers composers and artists from around the world and promote them to K-pop, TV dramas, Films and TV commercials. LEEWAY presents its partners with integrated marketing strategy like publishing administration, distribution, event booking and music copyright consulting.
About Jean Tan
Jean is a singer-songwriter based in Singapore. Her music is a blend of folk, pop, and vocal jazz.
Jean has performed at Singapore’s National Stadium and Gardens by the Bay for the Southeast Asian Games 2015, as well as events like the Singapore Night Festival, Esplanade’s All Things New, Come Together, and Foreword festivals, Riverside Flow, and Zandari Festa in Seoul, Korea. Her last EP 'Hideaway' (2019) was co-produced by Kevin Foo and et aliae. It features songs like 'Crowns', which was the opening theme song for the local television series BRA that was inspired by real-life cancer survivors. Her songs ‘6.55pm’ and ‘Waiting for Love’ have also been featured in the Korean drama mini-series Barefoot Diva and Le Jour.
Jean often weaves her life challenges into her songs and uses her music for social good. She has performed at schools, teenage homes, community spaces, and for organisations such as Halogen Foundation, World Vision, Relief Singapore, Operation Smile, and Architects of Life.
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