The Best of Bevlyn Khoo
I must admit here, Jazz is not something that I would say I am proficient in, nor do I have an astute understanding of the genre. I have heard rave reviews about Bevlyn Khoo though, and, as my curiousity got the better of me, I found myself settling down in the sand, and waiting patiently as Bevlyn Khoo set up for her self described brand of “eclectic, storytelling, Jazz pop”.
Backed up by guitarist Iwee, Bevlyn kickstarted her set (titled “Recollections”) with two of her originals titled, “Anymore” and “Play With Me”. Her soothing voice soon drew in the wandering passer-bys and wide-eyed tourists.
Concluding, “Play With Me” to polite applause, Bevlyn took the short opportunity to introduce herself. “Now before you think that I only sing sad songs, here’s something different”, the amiable songstress said before she broke out into impeccable French in her own rendition of “La Vie En Rose” by French icon Édith Piaf.
During the song Iwee impressed the audience and I by breaking out into a mind-blowing solo. His mastery of the guitar was quickly apparent through subtle nuances in his playing such as his staccato plucking and fragile vibrato, all which made his soloes more vibrant and resounding.
Bevlyn further demonstrated her multilingual prowess as she eased into her fourth song, “Lonely Afternoon”. Articulating the verses with fluent Mandarin, Bevlyn easily transitioned into perfectly enunciated English. Her voice constantly stirred emotion, dripping with a honey-like quality and filling the Rainbow Canopy with a powerful resonance.
Despite only being a two-person act, the pair proved to have strong stage presence, a problem often besetting many other duos. Iwee’s playing filled out the gaps and smoothened out the overall quality whilst Bevlyn’s intoxicating voice set loose on the captivated audience.
Bevlyn continued the set with Pink Martini’s masterpiece, “Sympathique”, my personal favourite of the night. The merry melody was a stark contrast to the poignant lyrics of the song. As if on cue a light drizzle began, much to my dismay.
Regardless of the song, Bevlyn consistently impressed the audience with her ability to inject her unique sound into it. After covers of “The One You Love” and “My Eyes Adored You”, Bevlyn finally ended the night by paying homage to a childhood song, “Que Sera Sera”.
Proving to be more than just a pretty face, Bevlyn displays a deep commitment in her art and work. “I love to sing, and writing music became a natural extension because I wanted to express my personal emotions into a piece of condensed music,” the songbird said matter-of-factly. This was displayed in her song “Feel About You”, which was a personal song about a guy she had a crush on.
When asked about her influences, Bevlyn said, “My most recent influence has to be Rachael Yamagata. Her songs are so raw, and that really influenced how I write my newer songs.“
“Life-wise, my major influence is Oprah Winfrey; she inspires me in many ways, one of them would be that life is how you want it to be. Sounds simple on paper, but it takes a lot of conviction to carry it out day to day,” Bevlyn adds.
Despite her numerous successes so far, Bevlyn remains humble and grounded, citing her fans as a huge part of her fame.
“I think that I’ve been fortunate enough to have sufficient exposure. My fans are not the screaming type (haha!), but they do appreciate the messages behind my songs, and that means the world to me when I create music.” She stated.
Do keep your eyes peeled for her upcoming indie album coming out sometime in September. According to the prolific songwriter, the album will be “a full-length concept album, with genres like ballads, bossa nova, funk and country.”
Set list (Courtesy of Bevlyn Khoo):
Play With Me
La Vie En Rose (French cover)
我们要一直这么要好《保温》Sub-theme from ‘Little Nyonya’
The One You Love + My Eyes Adored You (covers)
Sympathique (French cover)
Feel About You
Que Sera Sera (Cover)