Sometimes, being a loyal fan pays off. It gets especially hard when the chances of one of your favourite musicians coming to Singapore seems slim.
In August 2011, Brooke Fraser developed laryngitis and bronchitis soon after her arrival in Singapore and had to cancel her performance scheduled at TAB. Since then, fans who have developed Brooke-itis have been eagerly awaiting her return and the Kiwi singer-songwriter certainly did not disappoint when she finally played her first ever show in Asia at the Kallang Theatre on 20 March 2015.
Known for her evocative and substantively lyrical material from her first three albums, Brooke showed her versatility by switching it up for her fourth album Brutal Romantic, taking an electronic pop music direction and straying from her folksy acoustic roots.
She demonstrated her vocal chops, kicking off her debut show with the haunting anthems Pyschosocial and Magical Machine, marrying electronic beats to her breathy vocals seamlessly.
Before launching into Arithmetic, Brooke continued to charm the crowd and shared that the song was written when she was just shy of 13 years old but would be played that night with a different musical reiteration. Described in her words, think of the song as “something you know and love but with its ears pierced”.
Other songs including Shadowfeet and Deciphering Me similarly received the electronic treatment and were overlaid with synth beats and violin melodies. Nevertheless, they were imbued with a familiar sense of soulfulness, showing Brooke’s musical flair in effortlessly revisiting and bringing new life to her back catalogue.
Brooke also shared an amusing story about how Je Suis Prêt came about, that she came upon a book on family crests (or coat of arms) containing beautiful and intricate designs with depictions of fearsome animals adorned in the centre.
As her family name “Fraser” has Scottish roots, she was excited to find her family crest only to discover that it was a simple strawberry, but was juxtaposed with the meaningful inscription, Je Suis Prêt. With this inspiration, she offers the line “nous sommes prêts / we are ready, we are ready”.
As the night drew to a close, fans danced fervently and sang passionately to Kings and Queens as Brooke and her band went out in full force.
In a gesture as if to thank the fans for their patience and embracing the reincarnated versions of their favourite songs, or perhaps out of a sense of nostalgia, the last song in her encore was Something in the Water, played in its original arrangement and without affectation, making the night all the more special.
One thing is clear – Brooke’s venture into new territory has not embellished the intimacy of her songs and is an understated triumph.
Start A War
Je Suis Prêt
Kings and Queens
C.S. Lewis (Encore)
Something in the Water (Encore)