Dream comes true for singer-songwriter John Klass as he finally stages solo show

John Klass debuted as a singer more than 20 years ago.
John Klass debuted as a singer more than 20 years ago.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

The radio DJ and singer will hold a solo show tonight at the Esplanade Recital Studio

More than two decades after he made his debut as a singer, John Klass is finally staging his first solo show.

The concert, set to take place tonight at the Esplanade Recital Studio, will see him singing tunes he is known for, as well as his interpretations of famous songs.

"This show has been something I've been wanting to do for a long time," Klass, who is also a radio personality, says.

"But when you want to do a concert like this, like every artist, I find myself asking, 'Who would want to come and see me?'"

His concerns were allayed at a recent party held at a friend's house. He was asked to sing at that private get-together and when word got around, about 60 people turned up to hear him sing.

"I felt encouraged. Maybe there is an audience who would come and see me if I do a show."

The show will also feature the reunion of his old band, Kick!, which comprise guitarist Jai and keyboardist and sequencer Dinesh Bhatia.

When you want to do a concert like this, like every artist, I find myself asking, 'Who would want to come and see me?'

SINGER JOHN KLASS on his initial hesitation about holding a concert

The trio are best known for Jane, a single from their one and only album, Freedom (In Me), released in 1993.

The song became a radio hit in Singapore and Malaysia. They won Best Group and Best Song, for Jane, at the Radio Music Awards the same year.

At the height of their popularity, Klass, 47, recalls being mobbed by fans at their live shows. A show at Takashimaya was particularly memorable.

  • BOOK IT / JOHN KLASS CONCERT FEATURING KICK!

    WHERE: Esplanade Recital Studio, 1 Esplanade Drive

    WHEN: Today, 7.30pm

    ADMISSION: $38 from johnklass.peatix.com 

"There were hordes of screaming young girls. It was a real Beatles moment. We had security guys escort us from the stage to the carpark, but we found many of the fans waiting for us at the entrance.

"One of them even snatched a slice of pizza from Jai's hand and ran away with it as a souvenir."

The group recorded a second album, but it was not released as their record company, Japan-based Pony Canyon, pulled out of Singapore in mid-1997. The group disbanded soon after.

Their performance at the Esplanade will be their first time together on stage since then.

Klass continued making music in the last two decades as a solo artist.

Some of his significant projects include his work as producer of the soundtrack on The Teenage Textbook (1998), which included a song, Falling In Love, that won a Radio Music Award.

In 2015, one of his singles, The Point, clocked more than 147,000 views on YouTube.

Unlike in the 1990s, when he relied on his record label, Klass says he has an easier time these days putting out his music as an independent artist.

"There's more power now in the hands of artists, rather than before, where you were at the mercy of someone else who would decide whether you are good or not.

"Now, we go straight to the consumer," says Klass, who runs multimedia entertainment company Klass International with his wife, Valerie.

The couple have two daughters aged 17 and 12, who are also keen on music. Klass says they helped him come up with tunes for some of his projects, such as a recent one for children's television channel okto.

A familiar voice on radio, Klass spent more than four years hosting the evening drive time slot on Kiss92.

He left the Singapore Press Holdings radio station early last month and posted on his Facebook page that he was moving on to "other adventures and opportunities".

He reveals to The Straits Times that he will be re-joining Mediacorp radio this month.

In the late 1990s, he was a DJ at the media company's station now known as 987FM.

He was also a DJ on subscription-based radio station Rediffusion from 1991 to 1996.

"It was a tough decision to make that transition, but I thought I need to explore other options."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 02, 2017, with the headline 'Dream comes true for John Klass'. Print Edition | Subscribe