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Take Five With Hanjin

AAJ Staff By

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Meet Hanjin:

Here's one of those rare multi-disciplinary musicians who is at that stage in his career where you know he's brilliant but you can't quite put a finger on what he's exactly about just yet. He sings straight from the heart but if you listen closely, there lies some immaculate technique and maturity under all that unchecked emotion. He's dabbled in a myriad of genres from rock to Chinese pop music, and now he's put out a back-to-basics jazz album. You just can't help but wonder what he's gonna do next.

Hanjin is a "jack of all trades," and there are only a few in Asia. He is an award-winning record producer and songwriter, a trend-setting arranger and mixer, as well as an acclaimed singer. An absolute show- stealer.

Born and educated in Singapore, Hanjin debuted as a songwriter on Hong Kong artist Jacky Cheung's No Regrets in 1998, and has written more than 400 songs since. He is popular for his work in creating edgy songs and developing album concepts for Chinese records in the region of Southeast Asia and China. In 2004, he formed a music production team known as The Invisible Men, with a small group of devoted producers and arrangers including Alex Fung, Kenneth Tse, and Tim Ngoh. In 2007, he produced a song for international sensation Christina Aguilera and Korean pop idol, Rain, for a Pepsi Campaign.

Hanjin currently serves as an ambassador for Diesel:U:Music, founded by renowned fashion brand Diesel.

Raw Jazz is currently available on iTunes, Amazon and is out in stores in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Instrument(s):

Voice, guitar, ProTools.

Teachers and/or influences? U2, Jamiroquai, Queen.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when... I couldn't breathe after watching U2's movie, Rattle and Hum.

Your sound and approach to music: Whatever makes me move, I suppose.

Your dream band:

I would love to be able to work with Hiromi Uehara.

Road story: Your best or worst experience: I played a gig where the sound system provided was a hi-fi set.

Favorite venue:

I used to play at a venue back in university called the Fat Frog Cafe in Singapore. I played there for four years or so. It sure beat the hell out of going to classes.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why? I produced this album called Please Steal This Album, by Edison Chan. It was the first time I gave up on the local mixers and rented the SSL and got down to tweaking the knobs for myself. That really changed the way I approached music-making in the studio.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically? Happiness and a sense of playfulness, I hope.

Did you know...

I was 50% deaf from the age of 12.

CDs you are listening to now: I'm currently listening to Arthur's Theme, by Christopher Cross and Heartlight, by Neil Diamond on my laptop computer.

Desert Island picks: any best of CD of:

Burt Bacharach;

Queen;

Sarah Vaughan;

Ellis Regina;

Cream.

How would you describe the state of jazz today? Diverse.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing? I'm certainly not in the position to make any remarks about this issue but I suspect that more live venues and media support of jazz music would be helpful.

What is in the near future? I might be starting on my next CD soon. It should be a guitar a voice CD.

By Day:

Music producer

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a: Chicken rice hawker.

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