‘Twas a twinklin’ night at Resorts World Sentosa’s Waterfront Studios — the location for all things MTV Sessions. But that night, the stars (in our eyes) were twinkling for a particularly different reason: we were so happy to finally see one of us take the Sessions stage.
That’s right: a Singaporean is reppin’ our humble little red dot on the Asian stage. Ming Bridges, the singer-songwriter, took to the studio stage Thursday night to belt out some of her hits from her previous album as well as debut new songs from her upcoming English album.
Flanked by her label manager Eric Ng on the guitar, Ming opened her set with her smash hit “Sweet Misfortune”, which was every bit as breezy as the record itself. She segued into “Under The Stars”, which showcased her higher register and her vocal ability as a songstress. Both songs lent different vibes to Ming, which at one point we began to realise something about Ming: she is, like, totally the love child of Taylor Swift and Carly Rae Jepsen.
As Ming introduced herself after her first two songs, we had a flashback to her very first media reveal some two years ago, where she struggled to answer questions by Chinese media and could barely string a sentence in Mandarin without us wincing halfway through in pain. Ming was much better this time around, greeting some 200 fans in the studio in Mandarin. We still heard her heavy English accent in her Mandarin, but it takes years for someone to master the language. Given where she is at now, we give her props for the improvement thus far.
She started out flat in her next song, “Miss Thinkalot”, which was terribly left out in the open without musical accompaniment in the first acapella verse. She hit the high notes well in the end and rocked it out but going flat is an easy problem that can be fixed by the instrumentals, which unfortunately played to the melody of the record as is. Let’s just hope you don’t hear her going flat in the TV version.
It wouldn’t be MTV Sessions without a cover song performance. Ming stepped up to the plate with a brilliant rendition of Selena Gomez’s “Love You Like A Love Song”, pulling her notes effortlessly and creating tension as she fluttered from note to breathy note. It was her best song of the night, and also one of the most comical. Her label manager Eric Ng realised that his guitar was flat while playing the first few bars of the song (Ha! See, what did we say?) and stopped abruptly to re-tune, which elicited appreciative laughs from the audience.
Her performance of “Summertime Love” was cutesy and fun, which is not something we usually stomach on the daily but Ming was still able to string musicality into her rendition. She premiered her new song “U & I”, which is a mid-tempo ballad with an amazing alto set that highlights her vocal capabilities. Ming really is most comfortable in her ballads and it showed during the set.
Ming closed the night with an emotive and emotionally raw performance of the poignant ballad “Tears Like Rain,” which was dedicated to her grandmother and the audience.
Before Ming performed her set. Hong Kong band EMPTY rocked the house with an opening set that crossed both English and Mando-rock. Songs performed include “Still Dreaming,” “天跌落黎,“ and “五月天空”. The band were specially flown in by Hennessy Artistry.
These fellas were as charming on-stage as they were off-stage: when Ming was performing, the boys of EMPTY were singing along and hollering among the crowd. At one point, the cheeky boys whipped out some wushu moves halfway through an emotional song by Ming.
Hey, nothing beats Asian support, no?
MTV Sessions: Ming Bridges premieres on MTV SEA on Saturday, 12 October at 12pm (WIB), 1pm (SG/HK/PH) and 2pm (MAL) with additional content available online at www.mtvasia.com/mtvsessions.
Photos: Aloysius Lim for MTV Asia
Additional reporting by Isabelle Chan and Angela Low
Look out for our interview with Ming Bridges out soon, where we ask her the question on everyone’s lips: does she regret going down the Mandopop route given the difficulties she has faced so far?