MTV Sessions with Ming Bridges: Truly A Dream Come True
For multi-talented British-Singaporean Ming Bridges, her dream was to be a singer all along.
Growing up to the music of The Carpenters and Shania Twain, Ming has tried her hand at many things like modeling and acting (she was ‘Roxy’ in local teenage drama R.E.M), but as she explained, “Singing was my first love.”
And in that direction, she has taken a huge step as the latest (and first Singaporean) artist to be featured in the MTV music series MTV Sessions on 26 September at Resorts World Sentosa’s Waterfront Studio. Ming’s performance was presented by Hennessy Artistry and Resorts World Sentosa, and premiered on MTV SEA on Saturday, 12 October at 1pm, local time.
Evolution of Musical Style
As a singer, she has snagged several accolades including the “Best Local Singer” and “Best Local Album” for her latest album, “Ming Day”, at the Singapore Entertainment Awards 2013 which was organized by Singapore Press Holdings.
This dream-come-true performance came three years after Ming was signed on to local music label “Funkie Monkies”, who were totally impressed with her composition, “I Want You Back”. But her path to success, like all others, was not a smooth one; “Ming Day” is a largely Mandarin effort, which meant that Ming, who moved to England since she was 16 and was not as strong in Mandarin, had to overcome the language barrier.
Another major change Ming made was in her songwriting style. “As I’ve matured, I’ve begun to branch out and experiment new things,” she said. “In this new album, I’ve really gone out of my comfort zone to write dance-y and energetic songs which I’m not very comfortable with writing, and so I had to grasp that evolution of my style in my new album.”
Ming refers to her newest dance track, “Summertime Love”, an upbeat track filled with guys in beach shorts, girls in bikinis and a whole lot of by-the-beach dancing to the hook: “Let’s put our hands in the air, say yeah!”. She got the inspiration for the song from “an awesome experience” she had at the recent Glasgow Music Festival. “During this summer, I was at the Glasgow Music Festival, and I just had the time of my life dancing away into the night. While I was there, I saw a lot of couples there having their ‘summertime love’, and it really got me thinking about how so many things happen during the summer, so that was what I really wanted to express in the song.”
Up Close and Personal, Gentle and Lovable
With thousands of views on her own Youtube channel as well as the “Funkie Monkies” channel, it’s probably safe to assume that many people connected with the “Summertime Love” video. But how did her performance fare in person?
Set in the small comfy Waterfront Studios, where the dim lights and cozy space breeds the mood for an intimate and heartfelt live performance, Ming did not fail to deliver. With her strong and relatively low vocals, the light ballads (Under the Stars, Sweet Misfortune) came out strong and the upbeat tunes (Summertime Love) came out upbeat. But what really sold the show for me was her gentle yet overwhelming stage presence. The movements, facial expressions, and echoing vocals all contribute to an equally engaging and non-overpowering performance on a tiny stage where it is not difficult for performers to come off too strongly .
When I first stepped into the studio set, one of the things that popped into my head was “Uh oh, I wonder how she’s going to pull off ‘Summertime Love’ on this small stage without either breaking it or pulling off a weak performance.” I found the answer to that in Ming’s thematically altered rendition of the song, where she chose to replace her physical energy with her vocal energy. Giving off an upbeat vibe while keeping herself grounded most of the time, the normally still and unresponsive Singaporean crowd slowly sprung to life, first with slight head-nodding to the beat, then the tapping of the hands and feet, and finally evolving into a full-on hands-in-the-air rave (just like the music video!).
Not Too Hot, Not Too Cold, But Just Nice
Pulling off a delicate performance in a more-than-delicate setting is never an easy task for any music artiste. Put in too much energy, and the overall vibe seems to go off. Tone it down too much, and the audience goes to sleep. What I found in Ming’s performance at the Waterfront Studios that evening was neither an overly high-octane jump-around rhapsody, nor was it an underwhelming performance with little impact. It was a well-thought out and well-planned performance with just the right amount of energy to suit the intimate surroundings. My only regret? Probably that I didn’t have my (non-existent) girlfriend by my side to share this sweet and memorable experience!
Text by: Bjorn Teo
*Images courtesy of MTV Asia & Aloysius Lim
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