My Perfect Weekend with Dru Chen

WHO: Australia-born, Singapore-raised singer-songwriter Dru Chen, 31, will launch his new album, Slow Life, with a concert at the Esplanade Concert Hall today. Home-grown musician Gentle Bones will perform Chen's new single La Di Da with him. The concert will also feature a performance by pop/R&B singer-songwriter Rangga Jones. Chen, an R&B/funk musician and producer, also teaches sonic arts at Republic Polytechnic's School of Technology for the Arts.

"As a dual professional in the fields of education and music, I believe it's extremely important to recharge. I'm an intense guy and go full tilt when I work, but I also tend to go all the way when I relax and recharge. That means phones off, no distractions, just enjoying the pleasurable task ahead of me.

On Fridays, once my work is done and dusted, I'll need some time by myself to disconnect from work.

I'm an extremely task-focused guy, so even my relaxing requires a sense of accomplishment - like working on my basketball fundamentals or going through a workout in the gym. This takes my mind off the academic or intellectual mode and into a physical, body-centred headspace. Once Covid-19 measures ease again, I plan to play some team basketball with my buddies.

After my workout, my wife Melyssa and I go out on a date. We take turns planning our dates every week, so it's always a surprise. My wife is incredibly spontaneous and will try everything once. We'll take it easy and do whatever we please.

Saturday mornings can go either way - super relaxing with a sleep-in and late brunch or super active with an outdoor activity.

We're not big fans of staying indoors all the time in front of our computers, which is what tends to happen when we are working from home or at the office. It is important for us to be out and about during the weekends.

When we get home, it's playtime with our cat. Sometimes, we'll fix things in the house if necessary. If we want alone time, I may find myself at vinyl record stores such as Hear Records in Burlington Square, The Analog Vault in Esplanade or RetroCrates in Joo Chiat, or at a bookshop.

I'm an introvert at heart - despite my active and sociable lifestyle - so I need time to dig deep into my hobbies and lifestyle pursuits on my own. I may even write a song or work on producing a piece of music, if the mood strikes.

On Saturday nights, we may invite friends or family over or go to their homes. If I've got a free night, I usually end up at the gym again or catch up with my overseas friends on the phone.

The beautiful thing about weekends, for me, is that time isn't as disciplined as during the week, so I really just connect with what my instincts and mood tell me to do.

I've been hard at work rehearsing for the concert where I will launch my new album, Slow Life. It is released and managed by Yung Lee Records, an independent label by singer Gentle Bones, and Linch, a music company founded by Dex Wong.

I spent a Saturday rehearsing at Band Masters Studio, a new space by my buddy, drummer Pablo Calzado, in Peninsula Shopping Centre. Joining us on guitar and bass was Weiwen Seah, better known as thecolorfractal. We rehearsed Summertime, a duet with Rangga Jones, the guest artiste for the show.

On Sundays, I work on basketball fundamentals. I may visit my friend and work with him on my one-on-one isolation moves or a particular shooting drill.

If sports isn't on the agenda, Melyssa and I hunt for coffee spots in whatever neighbourhood we find ourselves in. We don't have a preference for experiences other than they have to be spontaneous and new.

Later in the day, I may visit an onsen or we may go for a couple's massage at Natureland to refresh our bodies and minds for the next week's adventures and challenges.''

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 12, 2021, with the headline 'My Perfect Weekend with Dru Chen'. Subscribe