SINGAPORE – Dick Lee, whose musical career dates back to 1971, represents much more than the famous songs he sang and composed, such as Fried Rice Paradise (1974) and Home (1998).
The 65-year-old’s next headlining gig at the Esplanade Concert Hall on June 18 will see him perform rarely performed songs live, as well as new material he’s been working on with his newly formed band, Omnitones.
The show is one of the highlights of PopLore, a year-long ongoing series at the Esplanade that celebrates Singaporean music.
Q: You do many performances a year, big and small. What makes the PopLore concert special?
It’s an honor to be included in the line-up, especially at this point in my career, when I have so much to share that hasn’t been, or rarely is, heard.
Q: What music will be played at the concert?
The most important thing about the last two years for me is that I have reconnected with my songwriting, thanks to staying at home.
I was most prolific from the 1970s through the 1990s, but the 2000s saw me jaded and disillusioned with the industry. However, the last two years have allowed me to reflect on my work and my passion, and have breathed new life into my music.
Having performed fairly consistently over the past 10 years and played a repertoire of favorites, I thought this time I would feature some of my favorite but seldom performed songs, along with some new material.
Q: Which musicians will share the stage with you during the concert?
I thought deeply about how I would like to present the new songs and thought about developing them with a band. I couldn’t think of a band, so I looked on Instagram and met some very talented young musicians I had never heard of.
I contacted them, pitched the idea, and the Omnitones were born. Working with them has been exhilarating – a combination of back to basics and new experience. I am proud to share the stage with these young talents who deserve to be heard.
Q: Few musicians in Singapore share your longevity and success. What did you have to do to get both?
It’s important to keep evolving to stay relevant. Luckily, I’m quite a restless soul and I’m always on the lookout for the next big thing.
Working with the next generation of artists is also a great way to grow. Another thing that has kept me going is having broad interests, which has brought many diverse opportunities to get involved in projects outside of music.