Interview with our Vocal ExpressWay Graduate - Jolene Tan!

Sometimes, all it takes is a leap of faith to realise your potential. Meet Jolene Tan, a teacher by profession, a musician at heart, and a realist for passion. Learn from our very own graduate from the Vocal ExpressWay™! 

1. What is the main reason for joining the Vocal ExpressWay™? 
I wanted to learn how to sing better with the right techniques. Joining the Vocal Expressway enabled me to achieve that within a shorter time of 2 days.

2. Describe your experience in the programme in 1 statement. 
Empowering: You never know you can until you try.

3. Describe the change you felt in all aspects before and after the programme. 
I learnt singing techniques that enhanced my singing abilities which I never knew before. I also felt more confident in my singing abilities. Before the programme, I never had the confidence to sing in front of an audience, but the programme boosted my confidence by challenging me to do that.

5. How has this experience helped you in other aspects of your life?
It increased my self-confidence and it made me believe in myself more, that we have the ability to achieve more than we think we can.

6. What is the next song you wish to conquer with your new-found skills?
Titanium by Sia.

7. Who in Hark Music inspired you the most?
All the coaches - Amos, Xin Yun, Leonard and Trixie, who taught or guided me during the programme inspired me in many different ways.

8. What do you enjoy most being part of the Hark Music family?  
The opportunity to be inspired and in turn, inspire others.

9. What would you like to share with others about Hark Music?
Hark Music is a conducive place to learn more about music and singing. The coaches are all very approachable and knowledgeable. They are able to tailor the lesson to your needs and abilities. Learning singing here is a fun and enriching experience.

We welcome you to be part of Hark Music, and like Jolene, we hope to inspire all of you out there~ 

Sing Sharp, Learn to Sing - "See your Voice!"

“What you see is what you sing!”
You can gauge your own pitch accuracy from singing using this app – Sing Sharp, Learn to Sing!

This app is useful for identifying your vocal range, strengthening your vocal control, and training your musical sense in terms of rhythm and pitch.

Sing Sharp App Features:

  1. Vocal Range - check and practice your lowest and highest pitches 
  2. Warm Up - basic to advanced levels of vocal exercises 
  3. Sing Songs - Practice, Record, Playback, Save, Share and Customize your singing
  4. Training Program - 10 levels, 1000+ ear training and vocal control exercises to help build your musical sense and pitch accuracy 

What we like about this app?

  • It's FREE! You can practice on getting your pitch accurate and sing like in karaoke sessions! Practice this everyday and we believe you’re on your way to hitting the right notes for every song! 
  • User-Friendly. This app has a very good user interface and provides clear and easy navigation on how the several features work. It is responsive and intuitive in a way that can be naturally and instinctively understood and comprehended. What’s more, the design of the app is great! 
  • Track and Train. Track and keep records of your singing scores (progress)! Not only can you see if you’re improving from every song challenge by looking at the scores, you’re able to save these recordings and constantly seek perfection! 
  • Database of Songs! This app has got an available database of songs all ready for you to practice on! To get access to a larger database, all you need is to be a member which cost only $12.98 per year! Well affordable! 

What we don't like about this app? 

Just like every unpaid app, advertisements appear every once in a while. Other than that, we really don’t see why people should not download this app.

So… I would strongly ‘pitch’ to everyone to start pitching now!

To download this app, click here.
Images credited to iTunes. 

SingTrue: The app to help you become pitch perfect!

Have you ever received comments from your karaoke buddies that you are not singing on pitch? What is pitch, you wonder? And most importantly...why does it bother them that much?!

Here's the definition of Pitch. It is an auditory sensation in which a listener assigns musical tones to relative positions on a musical scale based primarily on the frequency of vibration. What listeners want to hear is the beautiful blend when 2 or more tones are produced. Without a doubt, it can only be beautiful if either the tones match or blends(Harmonizing) well! 

And so we recommend you this app called 'SingTrue' which will help you in the area of pitching. :) Enjoy!

(Available only on iOS)

App Features:
  • 3 main areas of training: Ears, Voice and Mind. 
  • More levels will be unlocked upon accumulating sufficient points.
What we like about this app?

It's FREE!
There are many free apps around, but not all are useful. This one? Happens to be extremely useful and it's free! :)

Has great big fonts. It is very user-friendly and easy to navigate around. 

Unlocking new levels!
It is as addictive as games! You gain experience points when you complete certain levels and then unlock new and more challenging levels! 

It's effective!
We have tried it in a handful of students who are less sensitive to pitching and after a few sessions, their pitching indeed improved!

What we don't like about this app?
It's so awesome so far. However, if more advanced levels are added to work on relative pitching, it would be good for singers training on harmony. 

He turned his passion into a career!

In his teens, Leonard Tang realised singing provided him a space of joy he never felt before. He was hooked though he knew he was not good enough!
He felt he was off-pitch and sounded horrible. But he persevered.  He worked on his singing every single day. Feeling frustrated at times then, now he was glad he worked at it!

All was rewarded a decade later when he finally made singing his career.
If he gave up and never started improving himself, he wouldn't have gotten his dream job!

As usual, this journey was not easy. Born in a traditional family, pursuing music full-time was not something that was easily excepted by his parents who wanted him to get a degree and 'proper job'.

At which age did you decide that you wanted to pursue music professionally? What made you decide to do so?
I started singing since 8 years old. But it was only until Secondary 2 when I really started dreaming of being a singer and doing music full-time. That's where I formed a rock band with my friends at school! I've also participated in many singing competitions and that was where I picked up my performing experiences.

I believe it all starts out as a dream for everyone irregardless the profession you want to venture in. At least, that was how I started. In fact, I never really thought of pursuing singing professionally. It was just something I loved doing and I strongly believe that it was the passion and drive that has given me the opportunity to do what I love as a living!

Has anyone discouraged your decision of pursuing music as a profession as an impractical one?
My parents were concerned about my choice to pursue music. They wanted me to focus on my studies and then settle for a stable job. They did not stop me from joining singing competitions as they knew that it was what I enjoyed doing. What they did though was never failing to remind me 
not to treat each competition too seriously. Which of course I did not! Haha!

I was not fortunate to have professional vocal classes when I was younger and therefore I joined competitions to gain experience. 

I am thankful for my parents for their constant guidance in ensuring that I did not neglect my studies. Yet I am also proud of myself for not giving up and continuing to strive towards what I love to do!

What do you enjoy most about being a Vocal Coach?
I enjoy everything about being a vocal coach! Helping my students to understand how they can better their singing and eventually hearing their improvements week after week is just simply an awesome feeling! 

After coaching for years, in your opinion, what is the most valuable principle/pointer that you would give to a singing enthusiast?
Be an active learner rather than a passive one."
An active learner will take the opportunities in lessons to ask clarifying questions when they are in doubt. This way, they will be able to understand why they need to do certain things and how they should be doing it which is key to bringing them to the next level! :)

Can you describe a proudest moment in your journey of a Vocal Coach? 
I definitely will remember my first students when I started coaching! As a novice, I did have fears that I was not good enough to be their coach, but when they started showing tremendous improvements in just months, I started gaining confidence and was sure that I had the ability to impart and inspire! And of course, during their breakthrough performances, listening to them sing is just an amazing feeling!

What else do you do in Hark Music besides coaching?
Using the experience that I have gained in my previous job, I currently handles school's events too. We usually have external engagements to do public, corporate workshops and performances, on top of monthly internal events, such as Student Breakthrough Performance (SBP), 3-hour Music Workshops and our Signature ExpressWay programmes!

How did you find out about Hark Music?
Wow! This is going to be a long story! Haha! I first got to know Hark Music about 7-8 years ago... Back when they had a cafe on level 1. Then, I visited the cafe to support some of my friends who were students of Hark Music. I then got 'sabo-ed'(invited) on stage to perform a song and later was invited to join their monthly singing competition (I received an 英雄帖!It was quite fun then...)

About a year later, I then joined as Hark Music's first batch of A.I.P. (Artiste-in-progress) Development course! After the course, as I have to serve my national service, I stopped music temporary but am glad that I am now pursuing it again! :)

What do you love most being a part of the Hark Music family?
Every moment spent with my fellow coaches as well as students is really enjoyable! I believe it's simply because everyone shares the same passion for music and we simply just 'Click'!

Besides singing, what other “secret” talents do you have?
On my off days, I love to cook. There isn't a particular dish that I cook often cause it is usually cooked based 'feel'. For example, I may start off thinking of cooking fried chicken...but it ends up being braised... HAHA! I consider this talent cause every dish still tastes edible even without much planning!

What would you like to share with others out there who want to pursue music full time?
I think it's very important that you enjoy your job. It's much more than just monetary rewards.
It will makes you spring out of bed every morning to look forward to, rather than dragging yourself daily. If you are passionate about music and wish to be part of your career, one of the way is to get a job in a music school, at least there will be more relevant opportunities that would pop by your way. 

Same thing goes to those who want to pursue other things, get a job in the relevant industry, doesn't guarantee you the immediate dream job, but at least it's a start!

Choose a song that represent you best. And why.
The song that represents me the most is definitely 陶喆 David Tao - I Believe. I think I have probably known this song for more than 10 years! haha! This song is simply all about believing in yourself and not giving up no matter what. 
Hope it inspires you too! Here's the video link:

Check out this music video of Leonard as he performs a Bruno Mars medley with Coaches David Chong & Wendy Ong!

Find Your Passion!

As children, do you recall the moment where your primary school teacher asked you that golden question...'What do you want to be when you grow up?' 

Our answers were all different yet passionate and genuine to ourselves.
As we started to grow up, routinely taught the harsh reality of money-centered thinking to survive in our society. It started to be so overwhelming that we were all brainwashed into the urgency to get a real job and whatever passion you have, cannot feed you. 

Since then, we started to stereotype jobs into 2 categories, 'The Practical' and 'The Impractical'.

The Practical
1) Pays well with great bonuses
2) Standard working hours
3) Don't really like doing but I can manage as long as I get paid

The Impractical
1) Poorly paid, probably not even on time. Don't even talk of yearly bonuses.
2) Erratic working hours
3) Love doing it but who's going to support my family?

This scenario is like being forced into an arranged marriage, instead of marrying for love. Except that over time, you seldom "learn to love" your job. Instead, you suffer through it and tolerate whatever comes along.

Here, we want to inspire you into taking that first step to follow your passion! 
You ask why? Well, as a matter of fact, as musicians, we know it all too well because we were told that music is an impractical job. We did what was categorized as impractical and made it practical! So, hope this article ignites something in you.

How to find your passion?
Don't you agree that with that feeling of enthusiasm and energy about that special 'something', you never feel tired doing it? In fact, it is your motivation to get up early everyday. 
That enthusiasm is so powerful that when we combine it with your work, you are setting yourself up well for achieving true success!
Caution - In extreme cases, you might even be told to stop and rest for awhile!  :)

We know many has this question in mind "But I don't know what I'm passionate about!"  Here's a chart we have found from the net that asks you some questions. Do it. At the end of the little quiz, you might see some light!

(Click to enlarge image)

Once, you've found your passion, go work at it! Make that skill even better, do more learning and research. Think of ways how you can offer value-add services/products through your passion. Do it small first and keep going on. Never be afraid to make mistakes and constantly do corrections.
Inevitably, the path will appear slowly. Yes, you can!

What is success?
The true meaning of success is in the achieving of something desired. Once you focus and put your energy in the right places, money will flow naturally. You might not earn as much as people in financial sector, but you gain beyond monetary gains. It's other area of satisfaction that money can't buy

We have heard of stories where people work their butts off to earn tons of money. End of the day, they inadvertently spent tons of money to satisfy their empty heart. Then, they need to add in more time to earn even more to purse their level of lifestyle. It's a vicious cycle that never seems to end!

But think about it... 

Things has to stop at a certain age. Then, it might be too late and health could be very much compensated.
Deep in our hearts, what we desire the most is to be proud of what we do with our lives. Money shouldn't be the primary definition of success! The thing is, if we're truly passionate about the work we do and put in all our energy to it, there's a high chance that money will follow. 

If you keep having a back-up plan to your dream, passionate career, you will never have a 'make it or break it' attitude to push yourself to the highest limit possible!

Here's the famous quote from Steve Jobs. Hope it inspires you more.

K歌达人 - Not just any ordinary Karaoke App!

Have you always been very shy of joining a karaoke session with your friends? Probably because you are not confident of your own voice? Or afraid that your friends might criticize your singing?

Well, here's an application called 'K歌达人' which is really not your average karaoke app! It has a special function that allows you to join a virtual karaoke room (like a open hall in karaoke) filled with other singers from all over the world. 

The best thing about this function? It does not require you to show your face! ;)

(Available on both iOS and Android platforms)

App Features:
  • An updated and wide database of popular songs to select from. 
  • It has an in-build smart scoring system 
  • Virtual Karaoke room which allows you to join other singers from all around. 
  • Be a Judge! You can compliment or feedback on other singers while they sing.
  • Personal karaoke session - do it at the comfort of your own room!

What we like about this app?

It's FREE!
With the rising costs of karaoke sessions, why not have your own at the comfort of your home?

This app is very user-friendly and easy to navigate around. 

Virtual Karaoke Room

We have not come across another karaoke app that has this function. It really is a good way to practice singing without the need to face a live audience. Gather feedbacks from others. It's an awesome way to improve through constructive comments!

Wide Song Database
This app has got the latest songs. Both English and Mandarin Pop songs!

What we don't like about this app?

So far none... We think there's nothing to complain about it! :D
Except that you need to be able to read Mandarin to navigate around this app.

Let your karaoke trainings begin now!

Exclusive! The insider story: 陈泂江 Desmond Tan's Love song to SG

Every year during August, Singaporeans tend to feel a lot more patriotism for our country! Most often, we feel this connection most, through the songs.

If you have been tuning in to Channel 8, Channel U, as well as radio stations, Y.E.S. 93.3FM, LOVE 97.2FM,  you might have chanced upon a new-released song titled '将爱延续 - Love song to SG' which was sang by multi-talented Mediacorp artiste Desmond Tan, 陈泂江! 

But did you know that the song was a collaboration with Hark Music and it was composed by our music director & founder - Mr. Amos Teo?

Well, here's the insider story of how the song actually came about!

How it all started:
Earlier this year, we got to know Desmond when he took up a mentorship in music from our directors, Mr. Amos Teo and Ms. Yoong Xin Yun. From the success of 'Keep Running', which was launched for last year’s National Day, Hark Music decided to produce 1 every year. So this year, we have chosen Desmond to present it!

On the other hand, Desmond wanted to challenge himself and bring his performing skills to another level! The song was also a platform for him to showcase his talent in music. As most people might know him for acting through TV dramas, did you know that he also has an immerse talent in music too? 

So instead of just singing the song, Amos encouraged him to write the lyrics since he was the one who came up with the theme “Love song to SG”.

The challenges faced:

First Challenge

The first challenge was to come up with a really catchy title! '将爱延续' which means “Let the love continue” was created as we strongly believe that whatever we do, we do it because of our love for the country. At the same time, to subtly create a link of the song to Desmond, the word '将' which has the same pronunciation as '江' (Desmond’s Chinese name) was used.

Second Challenge
The lyrics. Writing lyrics for a love song might be easy for many, but writing one that's dedicated to our country would require a wider and open perspective. For example, at the beginning of the song, it’s about the difficulties our leaders faced in the 60s. Followed by knowing they did everything, all because of the LOVE for Singapore. Then in the pre-chorus, it’s actually about the current scene where people from various walks, sharing their conflicting views.

Third Challenge

Time and budget. This entire production, including the music and video were are all done in less than a month. And it was done without any funding from the government or big sponsors! But we are thankful for the help from people who support this initiative and also playing their part for this year’s National Day.

In the absence of decorative elements in the song and video like the official ones, we hope our sincerity and effort can be felt by the audience. And we present to you a love song that is written for our dear country, Singapore, to celebrate her 50th birthday!


Watch the short music video of <将爱延续 - Love Song to SG> below:

Listen to the full song (with national anthem) 
<将爱延续 - Love Song to SG> here:

Produced by Amos Teo
张安文 & Xin Yun 熊欣韵
Sung by Desmond Tan 陈泂江 - Mediacorp Artiste
Lyrics by Desmond Tan
Music by Amos Teo

将爱延续 - Love song to SG
词: 陈泂江 曲: Amos Teo (Hark Music)

As the rest of the world says we have no future
Will our dreams die even before they begin?
Dilemmas might impair my vision of the future
但我对你的爱 始终不会变
But nothing will ever change my love for you
将爱延续 永远都不放弃
Let our love last forever with tenacity
多少艰难 无法阻挡我们前进
No amount of hardships will hamper our way forward
将爱延续 心连心不分离
Let our love last with our hearts as one
一起守护 我们的约定
Together we will guard our promises
只要用爱经营 未来是无限美景
With love, our future will be an endless beauty
要坚定 不管多少 流言蜚语
We will stand strong no matter what they say
要相信 无论多少 纷争来袭
We will keep faith no matter the disputes
We will keep you safe till the end

SoundHound - Never miss a great tune again!

Heard of a good song but don't know its title?
If  you have 'SoundHound' in your smartphone and you will never miss that opportunity every again!

This app can 'listen' the tune and tell you the song title right away. Whether you are listening to a radio, live performance or even someone humming the melody, it can pick up the tune and tell you the answer.
It's more intelligent than a human!

(Available on iOS and Android as well as Blackberry)

What we like about this app?

It's FREE!

With the ability to identify unlimited tunes without needing to pay a cent? Why not!

User-Friendly Interface
Learning curve is very gentle. Friendly interface, nice aesthetic and words size, pleasing to the eyes. 

Integration with other apps - iTunes, Spotify, Rdio
After finding the song title, you can also link straight to the iTunes store to purchase the song, or Spotify/Rdio to listen to the song for free!

Artiste/Song Information & Lyrics
It even supply you with the artiste's background/biography and the song lyrics is also readily available for you to sing along!

What we don't like about this app?

Not much! Can't complain when it bundles in so much convenience for music lovers like us with no price tag! Acknowledge that there're few advertisements around but it doesn't quite bothers us. :)

Go download it and have fun!

Our very own Superstar: Bryan Toro!

If you have been watching Channel U recently, you definitely must have heard of an upcoming singing competition "Channel U's Project SuperStar 2014"! 

Back for it's third season, we are excited and proud to introduce to you - Bryan Toro (黄家万), who has emerged from thousands to be one of the Top 12 finalists. He is none other than Hark Music's certified Vocal Coach!

Bryan, who have always dreamed of being a professional singer is now one step closer to his dreams! But did you know the sacrifices that he had to make to achieve what he has today?

Let's find out through this exclusive interview with him!

At which age did you decide/find out that you wanted to pursue singing/music professionally? What made you decide to do so?
Like many music lovers,  music have accompanied me through every moment of my life but it was only at the age of 17 where I achieved my ABRSM Grade 8 that I decided to pursue my singing professionally. I wasn't born with a great voice, but the passion I have towards music drives me to work harder and pursue this dream of mine.

Has anyone discouraged your decision in being a singer or pursuing music as a profession as an impractical one?
My mum, being the typical conservative parent. Haha! I mean which parent does not wish for their child to have a successful career like being a lawyer or doctor? But that did not stop my pursuit towards my dream. 

I started working at a hotel as a toilet cleaner and dish-washer to save up and learn vocals from Ms. Lim Bee Peng. She believed in me and trained me whole-heartedly till my ABRSM Grade 8 recital. It was then, I finally invited my mother to witness my achievement. After that performance, I've proven her my strong desire and she started to support me in my music career ever since!

What do you enjoy most about being a vocal coach?
As a vocal coach, I enjoy seeing my students improving week after week. By imparting to them all the knowledge and experience is something that I really love! And when the moment a student thanks me for everything, that feeling is priceless!

What do you love most being a part of the Hark Music family?
I have joined the Hark family since 2009 and I love every moment of it. It's been a great and fruitful 5 years with Hark and I also would like to take this opportunity to thank Hark Music for believing in me and giving me the full support no matter what I do. For example, furthering my studies in UK, Kovan Superstar (Champion), Project Superstar 2014 etc. Thank You Hark Music!

Who in Hark Music inspires you the most?
Valen Tan Teng Teng, she used to be one of the vocal coaches in Hark Music and is now in Taiwan pursuing her dream. She once told me "有梦就去追" and that is one of the reasons why I took part in Project Superstar 2014.

Can you share with us a little on what to expect from you in Project SuperStar?
I will be singing more ballads during the competition as I feel that it is the strength of my voice. Hopefully that touches people. Besides that, It's pretty easy to recognize me as I'll be singing all these ballads BAREFOOTED! 

It has always been my dream to sing on a big stage barefooted as I feel that being barefooted helps me to feel more comfortable and have better connection with the stage. So do stay tuned for the live shows beginning on the 18th August 2014 on Channel U!

Besides singing, what other “secret” talents do you have?

I can dance! Not sure though if that's consider as a secret talent. I am currently an elite member under Studio Wu. I do mainly hip hop, but as an elite member we practice jazz, jazz funk and contemporary dance as well. Besides that ..... I CAN SING OPERA !!! Haha surprised ?!

What would you like to share with others out there who have the same goals of becoming a singer/artiste?
Don't ever give up! Be it whether as a singer or even to pursue any dream isn't an easy path. I've been through a lot of hard work to get to who I am today, simple because I DID NOT GIVE UP HALF WAY, even up till now I am still looking forward to improve myself.

Describe yourself in a sentence!
Playful off stage, emo on stage

Which song represent you best?
Who You Are by Jessie J, listen to it, read my story and you'll know why.

What do you hope to gain, now that you are in Top 12 of Project Superstar 2014?
Nothing actually, because I already feel that I've gained way too much in this competition. I've met 11 other great singers, experienced professional photo shoots, video shoots as well as having a few fans requesting for signatures and photos.
What's more to ask? All I want now is to FOCUS & present my best during the live shows.

Support Bryan Toro & get updates on his preparation for the show!
Follow him here:

Valen Tan 陳霆婷 - Successes in Taiwan!

Our Vocal Coach, Valen Tan 陳霆婷 has been in Taiwan 
developing her singing career for years! 

In June 2014, we invited her to do a intimate acoustic showcase at Hark.
She did many of her signature songs in her own renditions like: If I Ain't Got You - Alicia Keys, 也许明天- 张惠妹, 会过去的 - 梁静茹, 飞机场的10:30 - 陶喆花香 - 江蕙(台语) and many more!

The most 'gossipy' part was her sharings about competing in reality singing competitions 
and 1st hand news of Asian music scene. She gave advices on ways on making your musical dreams come true, surviving as a singer in Taiwan. 

Plus,  the hidden truth behind the screen of reality TV contests. 
Well, we couldn't spill the beans here. So, it was a pity you can't be here then! ;)

Meanwhile, watch this for show highlights:

Also, check out her live acoustic rendition of Bad boy, 流浪記, 她說 and 飛機場的10:30 below!

To know more about Valen, click here:

"Like" her in Facebook to show your support for her!

As part of our interest to inspire, we are constantly looking out to feature local talents! If you know any local artistes/bands whom may be interested to have their very own music showcase in Hark Music, get them to contact us at