SINGAPORE: Olivia Ong has true prerequisites to be a star. Her vocals and her appearance are likeable. Her challenge now is to accumulate experience within these five years. It is important to do so, in order to mature and express herself better.
Those aren't my words, by the way.
They're from one of Singapore's biggest pop stars, Kit Chan, who recently roped Ong in to participate in the re-recording of the song “Home”, which was written by Dick Lee and made popular by Chan herself, for next year's Total Defence campaign.
Judging from her recent shows, Ong seems to be moving in the right direction. At the recent Chijazz festival, for example, the singer was in a decidedly relaxed mood as she performed songs from her eponymous album. It's a far cry from the first show that fans saw – captured on her CD+DVD set, “Olivia Live”).
“I've been reminded that performing should be fun,” Ong explained. “Back in Taiwan, (my friends) keep saying, 'Performing should be fun, you shouldn't be uptight onstage or anything like that.' So I've had to remember that. If you watch the DVD, just remember that was the first concert I ever did for the album.”
The intimate show at Chijmes was also a far cry from her second show at Hong Kong's Star Hall, held a month earlier. “I like to do both intimate and really big big shows. I think every artiste would like both. Who wouldn't want to do big shows, you know? But at the same time, intimate shows are more casual, and it's just a different feel altogether.”
The singer has also been putting pen to paper and writing more songs. On Olivia, she penned two originals, “You And Me” and “Bittersweet”. However, unlike other songwriters like Taylor Swift who reveal their personal lives in their lyrics, Ong said she's not inclined to write “true stories”.
“I don't think I'd want to … but I would say all my inspiration comes from my personal experiences, but at the same time, I'll cook up some stories and mix them in,” she explained. “I don't know. I don't even make a conscious effort sometimes, when it comes to songwriting – it just comes out.”
Still, she said, her emotions are real when she performs.
“It does come from within. I believe that whatever you sing should be that way. That's how I handle it.”
And Ong said she's making an effort to improve all the time.
“The worst thing is that I need some coaxing to open up myself and relax and have fun,” admitted the 25-year-old. “Or that I think too much. I tend to over-think things. And then it makes me uptight. So I have to remind myself to just know what I want, what's important and just stick to that.”
As for the New Year, Ong already knows what she wants.
“New album – definitely. And to eat healthily. And to improve myself. And I've just been travelling to China quite frequently. I'm still doing promotions for the album in China, doing some music videos, doing some school tours, so I'll be going back and forth a lot.”
Channel News Asia