Shun Ng |
Evolution of music is in constant progress. Shun Ng, with his video ''Funky Thumb Stuff'', proves that he has taken a step further into a world where, quite literally, anything is possible. Born in Chicago and raised in Singapore, Shun was taken in by the Blues, Funk and Soul at the age of 16. To someone who loves writing music, writing about falling in love, writing so that he can capture heartfelt emotions and share with audiences his personal experiences, Shun's taste of music seems no less romantic that his own ideals. His music, set by himself to be a reflection of who he is - optimistic, happy, driven and passionate - resonates clearly with those qualities and so much more. That is because Shun represents creativity and passion at its best; He represents a kind of anti-classification, he defies easy genre classification and what that stems from is a kind of Funky Finger-style way of playing the guitar. Shun knows no particular Finger-stlye guitarists who plays Funk but is confident he is not alone.

But what singles Shun out as a future game changer and such a wonderful gem to the music scene is how he started; He simply creates - ''I never really worried about what it was called...It all started by me just wanting to do my own thing...never let any pre-concieved ideas about what the guitar can/cannot do, get in the way.'' By focusing on self-discovery, developing his own style and being comfortable in his own skin, Shun is what most musicians should aim for - having fun creating. More than that, he aids the evolution of music and not just be a part of the flow.

Never particularly inspired by any specific musician, he took pleasure in listening to bands like Earth, Wind & Fire, Sly and the family stone, The Beatles, Rolling Stones as well as singers like Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder. Seeking to recreate the music he adored, Shun sought to incorporate the ''Band'' aspect of Funk; trumpets, drums and bass, into guitar playing by imbuing various techniques like slapping his thumb on the string and using a ''pop'' technique where he plucks the string outwards. Shun plays the guitar with zest and refreshing rhythms. Combining all of these techniques, he augments the music by adding his singing in, in a voice reminiscent to Michael Jackson's. It should come as no surprise that many of his songs were inspired by love. Accessible and rendered very relatable, his songs spring from youthful adolescence, such as Christabel, which inspiration came from real life experience of asking a girl out and it's delightful twists.

Shaped invariably by Dr Kelly Tang, Shun displays a kind of eternal gratitude to him. ''Arguably on of Singapore's best composers...very simply made me who I am...He's my hero.'' Perhaps Shun owes Dr Tang his wonderful disposition about songs or perhaps it came to him naturally. Whatever the case, Shun's take on songs are idyllic - he believes as soon as you can relate to a piece of music, it was as if you own the song, as if it was written for you. ''That to me is magical.''

It's capturing intangible moments, and making them tangible and accessible.

Citing Jeremy Monteiro, Paul Ponnudorai and Kelvin Ng as musicians he would love to hit the composing room or the performing stage together, Shun's tremendous respect for their compositions and art resonates with his vision for the future. Simple, yet profound in a way that is noble and romantic. Shun wishes to spread the beauty of music to as many as he can and to continue touching souls through performing.

Using his art for good, Shun is letting more than literal music depict his good natured ideals of spreading the love; He is the Director of Music for The Amber Initiative, a non-profit organization that works with youth. It aims to empower them to affect social change and tackle social issues. It is truly gratifying to know that music can make positive changes in the world, in ways more than one. And Shun who wrote a song, ''Slam!'' about prostitution and organized a concert/fundraiser clearly shows the kind of direction that musicians can and should be directed at. Music, including Shun's, can be revolutionary not just because it is new, but because it can be revolutionary for others too, be it in terms of hearing the music, or in more tangible ways.
Curated by Stephanie Chua, Text by Neu Wee Tee