Corinne Bailey Rae

I fell in love with Corinne Bailey Rae, her songs and her voice, ever since I saw her performed with John Legend and John Mayer at the Grammy awards show in 2007. Her debut album was a huge success with big hits such as  “Like a star“, “Put your records on”, and she went on to win the Grammy awards for best album in 2008. Although the singer songwriter prefers to still record her music in small studios with small producers and performing at smaller venues, I’m pretty sure she can command a Madison Square Garden size crowd with her fan base. Corinne is rare, in the music world, being so stubbornly grounded and untainted by the fame and fortune she had acquired since her debut album. It’s definitely great for fans like myself.

Corinne’s soulful lyrics, catchy/goosebumps raising music, soothing/haunting/soul-baring voice never failed to get me. Her second album “The Sea” was released after a two year of hiatus, as you might have heard, her husband, Scottish musician Jason Rae passed away due to drug overdosed in 2008. You can definitely hear her heartbreak and sorrow through some of the songs she produced in her second album, possibly after Jason’s death. At one point during her performance in NYC Webster Hall, Corinne actually got too emotional and had to turn around her wipe off her tears.  We can only imagine how difficult it has been for Corinne, but I hope her bravery, strength and her music will help her get through this. Hang in there, the fans love you, Corinne Bailey Rae! And thanks for sharing your amazing music!

Justin Nozuka

I became a big fan of singer/songwriter Justin Nozuka after I heard him sing “After Tonight” and “Oh Mama” on youtube, and getting to see him sing live at Hiro Ballroom in Chelsea was nice. The line outside of Hiro Ballroom was actually frightening when I got there but thankfully, the long line was for non-ticket holders only.  Since I already bought my tickets online much earlier, I was able to get in quickly. It was obvious that majority of the crowd were young girls and I suspect I’m one of the older fans in the crowd, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the show. Justin Nozuka is a young artist with both good looks and talent, the selfish me wished he wouldn’t become too famous, so I can still see his performance in a small venue like Hiro Ballroom, up close and personal. Keep on making good music Justin! (check out the video I took here)

Justin coming out from the backstage – nice tattoo 🙂

Performing with his Band – JNB

I was standing at the left side of the stage near the keyboard so I got a close up view of Justin when he came and play the keyboard

Justin Nozuka in black & white

Girls Only

To be honest, I find it much more interesting shooting portraits of people compared to shooting landscape and objects (except for food). I love the challenge of fast-paced photography (no, not things like car racing), but emotions, facial expressions and mood that come and go, and capturing it with perfect lighting, exposure, color, angle at the exact second.

Recently I have “cravings” for taking portrait photos of people, and I was very fortunate to have my adorable girlfriends volunteering and sacrificing their Sunday afternoon to be my lovely models. The setting was casual (one day I would love to shoot in a studio!), on the cobble street of Soho/the Village and around Washington Square Park. The girls were wonderful, and extremely comfortable in front of the camera so I couldn’t asked for better models than them. So thank you Nan, Wan Yin, Shaw Yean and Dahlia for your help. I hope you guys had as much fun as I did, and you’ll like the photos I’ve taken of you!

Foursome

Threesome

Fantastic Ms. Nan!

Ms Talented, Ms Dahlia

Shaw Yean and her multiple personalities =)

The fabulous Ms.Wan Yin

….with a guest appearance by Sabrina, Little Miss Sunshine. Adorable, adorable, adorable!

Mono

I don’t know much about instrumental rock band, but I appreciate good music, even though it’s just instrumental. I was first introduced to Mogwai, a Scandinavian instrumental rock band by my music craze/uber knowledgable friend CP at All Points West Festival, and I found myself liking their music, surprisingly. That led me to want to learn more about instrumental rock band so I went to check out Mono’s performance at Bowery Hall after CP had recommended them.

Mono 1

Mono was formed in 1999 by Four Japanese musicians from Tokyo, Kanto and Honshu region. Apparently, the group had been touring around the world since 1999 and has quite a cult following. Compared to Mogwai, there’s definitely more of an infusion of traditional Japanese music into Mono’s songs; but just like Mogwai, their music is very “in your face” and loud most of the time. I liked it but I don’t think I can listen to their music too long without going deaf.

There were a few cover bands for Mono’s performance at Bowery hall when I went and the surprise hit for me was definitely a post rock band call Maserati from Athens, Georgia. The drummer Jerry Fuchs was absolutely amazing! You have to check out his performance on my flickr site as I’m too cheap to subscribe to Videopress!

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(Far right) Takaakira Goto – Lead guitar

Mono 2

Yoda – rhythm guitar

Mono 3

(Left) Yasunori Takada – Drum kit, synthesiser, glockenspiel. Tamaki Kunishi – bass guitar, piano, glockenspiel

Small Town: Ann Arbor

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My trip to Ann Arbor was ten years in the making. I first visited Ann Arbor when my husband Gan was still a student there. This recent trip definitely brought back memories, especially for Gan. It was my first time visiting the Big House, aka Michigan football stadium. The atmosphere in the stadium was just electrifying, nothing beats being in the crowd and cheering for our team. We really had a good time in Ann Arbor. No wonder it’s been called one of the best town to live in and people who used to live there (like Gan) can’t help but make a trip back once in a while.

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OLD beer depot in Ann Arbor, serving beer since 1941

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This photo was taken at Zingerman’s Roadhouse Restaurant. Zingerman’s is an institution in Ann Arbor; there’s Zingerman’s bakery, Zingerman’s Deli, Zingerman’s Roadhouse and even Zingerman’s mail order. The trailer is actually a take out window for the restaurant, and the full service dining roon is just right behind.

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Michigan kids all dressed up and ready for the game against Notre Dame!

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This was the crowd before the game started. It got so crowded later on that I hardly have space to sit. but it was worth it!

Diane Birch

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I found out about singer songwriter, Diane Birch when I was checking out concert schedules for the summer. I immediately fell in love with her voice and her blues/gospels/soul music after listening to songs like “Nothing but a Miracle“, “Fire Escape” and “Valentino” in her first album named Bible Belt. Diane performed at Le Poisson Rouge on Tuesday night and the lounge was packed with people, everyone was there to see her. Diane definitely did not disappoint. I thoroughly enjoyed the performance and it was blissful (well until I got a ticket for running the red light on the way home, great).

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Diane and the band – I decided to squat down in front of the stage towards the end of the performance to capture more close up images of Diane Birch. I’ll remember to bring my 70-200mm lens to the next performance.

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Diane actually began her music career as a pianist. She played beautifully at Le Poisson Rouge.

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Diane rocking the stage!

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– Diane Birch –

Ida Maria

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Ida Maria‘s performance at Maxwell’s in Hoboken was nothing short of incredible, she was freaking awesome. She got the crowd pumping and singing with her charismatic, punk rock, drunk, 1000% kick ass performances for one whole hour. Appearing in a shinning gold dress and a rugged black booties, Ida Maria shines on stage with her throaty voice, slightly morbid but catchy songs and quirky dark jokes.

After 4 songs and 2 drinks later (on stage), the singer got crazier, rowdier and even better when she performed her hit songs, “I like you when you are naked” and “Oh My God”. You can definitely expect to have a great time at Ida Maria’s concert; at one point, she came down from the stage and started dancing with the crowd, asking the bartender for a glass of grey goose vodka straight up in between songs, and hugging a fan and ending the show by disappearing without any thank yous and goodbyes. You rock, Ida Maria!

Stefan Törnby

Stefan Törnby – lead guitarist. This photo was taken before the performance started when Stefan came up to the stage to tune his guitar. 

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Ida Maria performing before grey goose vodka. 😛

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Ida Maria performing with her glass of grey goose vodka straight up.  This Norwegian girl knows how to drink (and sing awesomely at the same time)!

Johannes Lindberg

Johannes Lindberg – base guitarist. Uber photogenic. I was standing right below the stage where he stood so I was able to take tons of photos of him. This is for you, ladies!

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Ida going back to the stage after dancing briefly with the audience.

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Amazing Ida…..did you know that she has synesthesia? she envisions colors when she hears music!