Surprising her fans with a new song on 29 January, Stefanie Sun’s digital single, ‘What Remains’ talks about the feelings of being overwhelmed, hoping that listeners can take a moment to tidy up their emotions and move on whenever possible. Having put her concert tour on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sun, in turn, celebrated her 20th year in the industry with two surprise online concerts in 2020 for her fans.
Yahoo Lifestyle SEA spoke with the 42-year-old singer-songwriter over Zoom about the creative process behind her new song, checking in with her on 2020, and learned if she had taken the stay-at-home period to pick up anything new.
Touted as the first song since ‘Someone’ was released 19 years ago, in which Sun took part in both the melody composing and lyrics writing, we were curious to find out if the composition process between the two songs was different.
“Can I clarify? I wrote other songs, but it’s just that I did not write both melody and lyrics, so there is like, ‘Wink’, ‘Abandon’, ‘She Says’, ‘Stay with You’, and more (that I have composed),” Sun laughed.
Indeed, the versatile singer-songwriter had written songs that she sang and songs for other artists such as ‘She Says’, sung by JJ Lin, and ‘Simple’ by Yida Huang.
“When I wrote ‘Someone’, I was very, very green. It was like ‘Oh yeah! I am full of angst; I want to sing like my idol Alanis Morissette!’ However, for ‘What Remains’, it is a song where you organise your feelings, trying to put how you feel, which can be very nebulous – things that are not very forth-coming, into lyrics. Perhaps you need to reach a certain age to be able to write a song like this.”
Stefanie Sun, who debuted in 2000, celebrated her 20th year in the music industry in 2020. However, due to COVID-19, the singer let on that many of her prior plans for celebrations were put on hold. We asked her if it was a challenging year for her, and if she had used the stay-at-home time to pick up something new?
“Well, I wrote a song and published it,” she laughed. “We had a huge disruption to our plans. Right now we should be touring every possible city for my 20th year in the industry, but it was put on halt. This affected musicians, dancers, producers, and this disruption meant that we had to rebook venues, and pay everyone on time because they need this income.”
However, Sun feels she is still lucky, having a team that thinks out of the box and creating content that still connects her to her fans. “We decided that I’m going to come to you in a different format, going online, still being interactive and feels very live.”
Having organised gigs and promotional activities worldwide over the past 20 years, Sun also let on that the constant flying posed to be challenging for her to compose and write lyrics. There was no time to tidy up her emotions, and juggling both the duties of being a singer and a mum, left her with no mental capacity to properly sit down and compose songs.
“There was a period (in 2020) whereby I just wanted to start composing, writing lyrics and melody, and ‘What Remains’ was the product.”
The songstress also shared that she is thankful to have more time to spend with her family over the past year. Surrounded by people that are important to her, she let on that, thanks to technology, even those who are not physically near, “is just a WhatsApp (text) away.”
Sun, who had started cutting hair for family and friends during the pandemic, laughed when recalling her son’s foray into haircutting. “My kids are definitely one of my regulars at my ‘hair salon’,” she shared.
“My son had started cutting his own hair, and let me tell you; it is a disaster! So if you see a boy with two empty spots on his head, that’s probably my son.”
With the festive season coming up, Sun ends the interview with a shout-out to remind everyone to “remember to stick to eight people when visiting!” according to the COVID-19 Phase 3 guidelines.
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