Multi-talented local jazz singer and stage performer Alemay Fernandez will release her debut solo jazz album of originals, Hard to Imagine, on 9 July. A solo concert presented by Singapore Street Festival and supported by COMPASS, will be held at the Esplanade Theatres on the Bay’s Recital Studio to mark the launch of the album.
Hard to Imagine comprises 10 jazz tracks with a touch of soul, gospel and blues and is Alemay’s first foray into writing, arranging and producing. It features nine original tracks with six of them written by Alemay in collaboration with her co-producer, musician and songwriter Shawn Letts, bassist Williiam Gathright and pianist, organist, arranger Kerong Chok. Other originals on the album were written by Sara Wee (53A) and Alemay’s sister, Sabina. The album was mixed by Grammy-nominated producer, Michael C. Ross and mastered at the famed Bernie Grundman studio in L.A.. Featuring a total of 20 musicians, Drummers Erik Hargrove (toured with James Brown and Bootsy Collins) and Pablo Calzado (performed with Buena Vista Social Club), Bassist William Gathright (studied with Ron Carter), Organist Oliver von Essen (recorded with Shirley Horn) lent to the sound of the debut album.
Alemay Fernandez said that Hard to Imagine was inspired by a series of life-changing events, which happened in quick succession over the last five years. From the high of finding her life- partner, fellow jazz singer, Richard Jackson, to the low of losing her father, her role model.
While coming to terms with all the changes in her life, Alemay realised that she best dealt with them by expressing her feelings through music. The journey of processing her emotions and the sensibility that followed resulted in Hard to Imagine. For example, the song “My Baby & Me” describes the growing relationship with the love-of-her-life, Richard Jackson. Whereas she found closure in her father’s passing with “How Many Ways” a tribute to the original man-in- her-life, penned by her sister Sabina, for all the sacrifices he had made to bring them up.
Alemay Fernandez said, “It is hard to imagine how much my life has changed in the last five years. I’m thankful for all the ups and downs. While my father’s passing was a turning point, I put all the life lessons he taught me into my music. Together with my life-partner, Richard’s encouragement, this led to the discovery that I could touch people with my songs – from the melody to the lyrics, music has the ability to heal and help us walk through what life throws at us.”
Mentors also played an important part of her journey as a musician. Through the guidance and sharing from the multi-talented performer and composer, Dick Lee, and critically acclaimed jazz pianist, singer, composer and music educator, Jeremy Monteiro, Alemay learnt how to tell her story through music. They will both be attending the concert as special guests.
The concert will feature a stellar eight-piece band which includes Kerong Chok (piano/organ), Munir Alsagoff (guitar), Pablo Calzado (drums) Ben Poh and Will Gathright (Bass) and a three- piece horn section. Guest performers include Richard Jackson, Michaela Therese and Alemay’s cousin, Vanessa Fernandez.
Concert and ticketing information
Saturday, 9 July 2016
Esplanade Recital Studio, 1 Esplanade Drive, Level 2
Tickets on sale through SISTIC