Home-grown guitarist Addy Cradle made his name in the local music scene over the past two decades as one of Singapore's virtuoso rock guitarists, having played with bands such as Jive Talkin'.
With the recent release of his third solo album, Transcendence - Legend Of Ryu Wuri, the 42-year-old is also making his debut as a fiction writer.
The CD version of the mostly instrumental album comes with a booklet containing a fantasy tale inspired by Asian folklore. Each track on the album is represented by one chapter of the tale.
"Because most of the songs do not have lyrics, I thought why not put in stories so the listener has something to visualise while he is hearing the songs," says the musician and songwriter, whose real name is Addy Rasidi.
The story he wrote follows the saga of Ryu Wuri, an assassin looking for redemption. On his journey, he encounters other characters such as Rajjati Vera Na, a power-hungry king, and Dewi Purnama Sahri, a warrior princess.
In 2009, Addy travelled to Indonesia to film a music documentary for Mediacorp's Malay television channel Suria. Over there, he met many musicians and artists, who shared with him local fables and tales.
"That's when I got the idea that I can come up with my own stories. But if I were to just write a book, I don't think anyone would buy it, so I decided to pair them with my songs," he says.
The tale does not end with this album. Transcendence - Legend Of Ryu Wuri is the first volume in a three-part series.
"I plan to work on the stories and music and release volumes 2 and 3 in the next one to two years," he says.
Transcendence cost him close to $8,000 to produce. Like the music on his previous album, Divine, the new work comprises an eclectic fusion of rock and traditional music from various Asian and Middle Eastern countries such as China, India, Indonesia and Japan.
"I grew up spending time with friends and people in my neighbourhood who are from various races and cultures, so I was exposed to a lot of different types of music and stories," says Addy, who first made his name in the Malay music scene here and in Malaysia in the 1990s with rock bands Teacher's Pet and Cradle.
Over the years, Addy has picked up several accolades at regional Malay music awards show Anugerah Planet Muzik (APM), including Best New Solo Artiste in 2004, one year after the release of his debut solo album, Rahsia. A song from the album, Mengapa Berdusta, won Top Local Malay Pop Song at the 2006 Compass (Composers and Authors Society of Singapore) Awards.
Cradle's 2007 album, Ceritera Awan, won Best Album while a single from the release, Ayu, won song of the year at the 2008 APM.
Addy's exceptional proficiency on the electric guitar has fans comparing him to global rock guitar maestros such as Steve Vai and Paul Gilbert.
Like Vai and Gilbert, he is endorsed by popular guitar brand Ibanez. He is the first Singaporean musician to be a spokesman for the Japanese company.
Because most of the songs do not have lyrics, I thought why not put in stories so the listener has something to visualise while he is hearing the songs.
ADDY CRADLE, on why each track on Transcendence – Legend Of Ryu Wuri is represented by one chapter of the fantasy tale he wrote
His regular performing schedule is packed. Besides playing with Jive Talkin' every Friday night at Hard Rock Cafe Singapore, he is also a part of fusion band Veda9, which perform at Sentosa hotel Capella Singapore from Wednesdays to Sundays.
Other than performing gigs, he also runs music production company EDENinc with his wife, Lisa Ang. The couple, who have a daughter, 15, and a son, 13, plan to conduct programmes to mentor young artists and musicians.
"I didn't take any formal music lessons as a child. I picked up the guitar from friends I hung out with at the void decks of my old neighbourhood in Ghim Moh," he says.
"I want to be able to give back to society by helping budding musicians who might have the interest and talent, but do not have the means to enrol in music classes."
•Transcendence - Legend Of Ryu Wuri is priced at $30 on Addy Cradle's Facebook page (www.facebook.com/addycradle). It is also available on iTunes for US$9.99 (S$11.98) and on Spotify and other streaming platforms.