Music review: Yoyo Sham is in full control of her music

Hong Kong singer-songwriter Yoyo Sham flits easily among English, Mandarin and Cantonese in Nothing Is Under Control.
Hong Kong singer-songwriter Yoyo Sham flits easily among English, Mandarin and Cantonese in Nothing Is Under Control.PHOTOS: ESPLANADE - THEATRES ON THE BAY, FEELING GOOD MUSIC, EAS MUSIC

The idea that nothing is under control can be a scary one, but it can also be a liberating epiphany.

Accordingly, there is a free-and-easy vibe on Hong Kong singer-songwriter Yoyo Sham's follow-up to her acclaimed debut, Here (2015).

Opening Cantonese track Kai Chang Bai (Bon Voyage) has an improvisational and whimsical feel, as if one were in an intimate jazz club as she addresses the audience: "There's two more minutes, ladies and gentlemen/White clouds will drift overhead."

She flits easily among Cantonese, Mandarin and English and from genre to genre, following where her muse leads her.

Scrambled Eggs Blues scrambles English and Mandarin in a number torched by her bluesy vocals: "Scrambled me, scrambled you/ Hear my scrambled blues."

Mandarin duet Yi Miao (Just Another Day) features feted Hong Kong singer Eason Chan - for whom Sham started out as a backup singer.

The poignant ballad was written after she witnessed a fatal car accident a few years ago - "Forgive me for leaving/Haven't had time to return your love".

  • INDIE POP


  • NOTHING IS UNDER CONTROL

    Yoyo Sham

    Feeling Good Music

    4 Stars

  • POP


  •  L.O.V.E

    Eason And The Duo Band

    Universal Music 

    Hong Kong

    4 Stars

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  • WHERE: Esplanade Annexe Studio, 1 Esplanade Drive

    WHEN: Feb 23, 8pm

    ADMISSION: $30 from www.esplanade.com or Sistic (go to www.sistic.com.sg or call 6348-5555)

She also appears on L.O.V.E., an album credited to Eason And The Duo Band, as its genesis was during Chan's Duo world tour from 2010 to 2012.

The idea was for everyone who was part of the tour - including the late singer-songwriter Ellen Loo, who played the guitar on it - to contribute to an album that would commemorate their time together.

Sham's contribution is the English track Run, for which she wrote the music and lyrics and sings with Chan - an elegiac ballad ("Last night I had a dream/That I was on an endless run") that would not be out of place on Nothing Is Under Control.

Mostly, though, the mood is more upbeat on the largely Cantonese album: a relaxed gathering of musician friends having a blast jamming together.

Po Huai Wang (We Zzzzid It) is an energetic track with a context-setting rap: "Here we go again/On the train, on the same plane/Best friends we became."

Inevitably, the collection feels a bit disparate, though it is all tied together by Chan's reliable vocals.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 14, 2019, with the headline 'Yoyo Sham is in full control of her music'. Print Edition | Subscribe