Gary Chaw: From Mandopop to English jazz

By Daniel AngEvents - 18 September 2012 9:00 AM

Gary Chaw: From Mandopop to English jazz

It has been some time since we last heard from Gary Chaw (曹格), one of Malaysian’s most talented singer-songwriter and winner of the “Best Male Mandarin Singer” of the renowned Taiwanese Golden Melody Awards in 2008.

His hit songs ‘Betray’ (背叛), ‘Superwoman’, and ‘The Only One in This World’ (世界唯一的妳) continues to be some of the most popular songs sung at the KTVs.

The last we caught up with him, Chaw had been married for four years, became a father of two, and formed a new jazz group known as Sensation, covering Western jazz classics. 

Before Chaw performs in Singapore the end of September as part of Guinness Arthur’s Day Concert, we speak to him to find out about the recent changes in his life and his “tall” and “manly” fellow performers.


Congratulations on the release of your newest album “Gary Chaw Project Sensation 1 Jazz”. What made you decide to choose the jazz genre?

I don’t think I chose jazz; rather, jazz has always been a part of my life. Jazz to me, is like living a life full from freedom, and I enjoy that freedom of expression. The spirit of jazz is not about who you are singing with, but who you are singing for – and I like that straightforwardness.


Some of your fans are surprised when they first heard the album, “Sensation”. They say it is not the usual Gary Chaw.

Yes, when many first listened to the album, it was hard for them to imagine that the lead vocal was me. It is just that I have never recorded an album in which I sang in such a manner. Actually, jazz has always been a part of me, just that nobody has heard it before. The music is still the same Gary Chaw.

'Superwoman' - Gary Chaw


Will you be performing jazz tunes at the upcoming Guinness Arthur's Day Concert?

This time round, Sensation (the band) will be here attending the concert,so I feel that if I don’t sing one or two songs from Sensation, I will let myself down. I am actually looking forward to this performance because Singaporeans are exposed to different kinds of music, in different languages. Most Singaporeans should be familiar with these English songs.  

You will be performing alongside with Paul Wong, Della Ding Dang, and Shin. What is your impression towards them?

Paul is from Beyond, and Beyond is very popular. Paul is a very direct, honest, and a man’s man. It is a great honour and privilege to finally get to meet him in Singapore. I also would like to thank him for his many years of excellent music. Shin is very tall, and I am always afraid to stand beside him, especially when taking photographs – you can be sure I’ll be standing far away from him.

I feel that Ding Dang is very dedicated to her music every time she performs. She is an artiste who gives a 100 per cent whenever she performs.  Her dedication and seriousness towards music is what many musicians can learn from.

How has marriage and having a family changed you much as a musician?

I don’t think there is much difference. Writing a song is like telling a story, and it is always changing. My lifestyle has definitely changed, and it is reflected in the songs that I write. I don’t think there is a lot about the difference in my music before and after I got married. One thing remains the same – I am still very honest and real in my music.

What do you like to do in Singapore? 

I actually have a lot of friends in Singapore. Chicken rice is a must-have. If I have the time, I will like to visit Resorts World Sentosa or Marina Bay Sands.


Do you have a message for your fans in Singapore?

I’ll definitely prepare and rehearse my very best, and I hope that you all will enjoy it. As for my part, I can promise that I will be very real when sharing my songs and my passion. After performing, I will be off to enjoy my favourite chicken rice!


The Guinness Arthur’s Day will take place on 28 September 2012 at The MAX Pavilion, Singapore EXPO. Tickets $98, $88 and $78 available from Sistic.