18 Jun 2010

A Highly-trained Singer And KK Jazz Fest

Lama pula tidak turun ke ladang :-)...I thought of sticking a notice here "blog ini akan terhenti-henti buat sementara untuk memberi laluan kepada Piala Dunia"..haha. Anyway let's take a look at this article about another Sabahan who has been here, been there...done this, done that...met this person, met that person but decided to come back home...sounds familiar?

KOTA KINABALU: One of the new and refreshing faces in this year's 2010 KK Jazz festival is 30-year-old Rene Barrow, a Sabahan professional singer. He will be featured in the UMS Big Band's special guest appearance on the second day (June 19) of the festival. "Surprisingly, I was invited to do some Big Band stuff for this year's KK Jazz Festival, so I'm looking forward to it. I never dreamt that I would become a professional singer. Becoming a preacher was all I had ever wanted to do. Interestingly, my Mum first fell in love with my Dad because she heard him singing in a choir. So, you never know...maybe one day, someone will hear me singing and fall in love with me too!" he quipped. Barrow also appeared at the Jazz Festival Fringe events at Hyatt Hotel with Jackfruit, a local Soul-Jazz band.

Born in Kota Kinabalu, he attended Kinabalu International School and lived in Malaysia for 14 years, the UK for 13 years, the US for two years, Japan and Sweden for six months each, and West Africa for two months. Barrow is the youngest child of Dr Richard Barrow and Phebe Te-Cheng whose family was originally from China. Phebe's father, Harry Shen, was one of the first architects/engineers sent by the British Government in Hong Kong to work in Jesselton (now Kota Kinabalu) in 1951. Working with the Public Works Department (JKR), he was involved in a number of different projects, including the construction of the State Istana on Signal Hill.

It was only in September last year that Barrow decided to come home to Kota Kinabalu so that he could spend more time with his parents. Barrow is grateful to the Minister of Tourism,Culture and Environment, Datuk Masidi Manjun, saying "It's really Datuk Masidi who has helped me to come home." The Minister had suggested that Barrow work as a vocal trainer for the Sabah Cultural Board by virtue of his qualification in vocals. He has gained a distinction in Grade 8 Acoustic Guitar, and completed Radio Presentation and Voiceover courses. While studying at the ICMP (Institute of Contemporary Music Performance in UK), Barrow, who has a BA (Hons) degree in Interior Design and a Certificate in Biblical and Intercultural Studies, also had the privilege of doing an audition workshop with Dorian Holley. Holley was Michael Jackson's vocal director and a vocal coach on American Idol. "About nine of us performed a song of our choice in front of him and an audience of singers, and he would critique us, telling us what we did wrong and how to improve. After I had performed a Jazz standard called Don't Get Around Much Anymore, he (Holley) came up on stage and said, "I hope that you don't take this the wrong way, but I have nothing to say. That's exactly the way it should be done and this is how everyone should try to do it. Well done!' When he said that, my confidence shot through. the roof!" he said elatedly. Currently, Barrow gives the dancers and musicians of the Sabah Cultural Board, lessons in vocal technique, music theory and harmony, and teaches on the different aspects of being a contemporary vocalist. Barrow got into music through the Church in the UK. His brother-in-law taught him how to play the guitar when he was 13. Throughout his teens and twenties, he played the guitar in church, eventually becoming a "worship leader".
(Credit Mary Chin of Daily Express)

Wow...what a jaw-dropping profile! So I rushed googling just to sample his singing and found his MySpace. My comment (ko ada berani mati mo komen anak didik Dorian Holley? *LOL*)...to me biasa-biasa saja, adalah juga mirip-mirip Amir Yussuf sikit. The vocal tone sounds very der orang poteh gitu! I enjoy listening to his "All Along The Watchtower", ada part scatting tapi vocal range dia lebih selesa menyanyi "City Next To The Sea" (I love this one, talking about KK kah this?). Since he has distinction in radio presentation and voiceover course, I wonder if he's into becoming radio presenter (DJ), we badly...badly...need a good male presenter at Sabah VFM English segment.

Artikel dalam versi Melayu.


Rene Barrow said...


I'm glad you like City next to the Sea. It's actually a song that can be applied to any city next to the sea, in a place that we see both poverty and wealth side by side.

The song is about looking beyond the sadness and pain to see that there is something beautiful beyond it.

Not sure if I'll become a radio DJ yet. A friend of mine is a DJ in KL, and it's quite a lonely job...not sure if I can handle it! lol! But who knows? Nanti...wait and see.


dBOS-fm said...

Oh hi Rene, thanks for dropping by yupp I like that particular song. Well it's been reported that Hitz.FM (arguably the nation no.1 English radio station) will be operating from KK by 1 Dec. How nice if you could be part of the team...a part timer maybe. (hopefully they'll accept part timer :=))

Rene Barrow said...

Haha! Maybe! You never know...See how! :)