A gem of a talent

Singer-songwriter G.E.M. wins fans' hearts singing with her big voice and playing the piano, guitar and drums

G.E.M. belted out the high notes and held them with ease at her concert at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
G.E.M. belted out the high notes and held them with ease at her concert at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.PHOTO: HUMMINGBIRD MUSIC



Singapore Indoor Stadium

Last Saturday

When Hong Kong-based singer- songwriter G.E.M. performed in Singapore in early 2015, she sold out three nights at the 5,000-seater Max Pavilion.

Naturally, a larger venue beckoned her for her return here and she proved that she could hold court at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. Some 8,000 tickets were sold last Saturday, the first of two nights of her "Queen Of Hearts" World Tour.

The girl with the giant lungs filled the arena with her powerful singing as she belted out the high notes and held them with ease. It was what her fans expected and what shot her to fame on the China reality show competition I Am A Singer in 2014, where she emerged runner-up.

But as if showing that she is more than a one-trick pony, she also played the piano, strapped on a guitar for Goodbye and took to the drums in another segment.

Thankfully, the Queen Of Hearts show was not a mere retread of her previous X.X.X. tour as she released Heartbeat in late 2015, an album which spawned several hits, including the upbeat title track and the ballads One Way Road and Long Distance.

One of Saturday night's highlights was the song Bubble from her third album Xposed (2012), which she actually performed on I Am A Singer. Dressed in a midnight-blue gown, she held onto a long piece of cloth which billowed up dramatically in the air. It was both beautiful and evanescent, echoing the imagery of the song.

Despite having released three studio albums of Cantonese and Mandarin pop tunes when she was on I Am A Singer, she became better known for singing other artists' songs as that was the format of the contest. So it was no surprise that some of the most enthusiastic response at the Indoor Stadium was for the covers she performed on the TV show.

These included Mayday's Behind The Mask, Wang Feng's Survive, Jay Chou's Tornado, David Huang's Intoxicated and Beyond's Loving You. After all, these were well- loved tracks even before she left her stamp on them.

As she will be turning 26 on Wednesday, some of her fans brought out a cake during the encore to celebrate the occasion on stage with their idol. One of them stole the show for a while as she dictated the proceedings by instructing the singer to make a wish.

Perhaps it was the audience who received the best present as G.E.M. performed the track Stranger In The North for the first time in public.

It seemed a bit strange as the song of choice for her final number of the night because it was not written by her and was originally performed by Taiwan-based Wang Leehom and Malaysian rapper Namewee. But as she rapped and sang and tickled the ivories, one could see her really getting into it and just enjoying the moment.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 14, 2017, with the headline 'A gem of a talent'. Subscribe