Interview: Singapore’s Jason Yu Aims For The Moon On “Now I Know”

Picture credit: Jay Denation

Advertisements

A 2-year hiatus can feel like an eternity for any artist’s career. Between the runaway success of his first single “Hearts Release” and his latest song “Now I Know“, Singapore’s Jason Yu is well aware of the uphill climb needed to launch himself back into public consciousness.

Despite his silence on musical offerings, he’s been keeping himself busy; building his brand and staying engaged with his audience, all of it leading up to the release of “Now I Know” – a gorgeous teary-eyed pop ballad that Jason bet his hopes and dreams on.

Hailing from Singapore, Jason earned a considerable following while busking on the streets of Orchard Road. His love for pop music, along with his penchant for performing them, made him an instant crowd favourite. It was only natural that “Hearts Release”, which was built upon his pop inspirations, would also prove to be a hit among listeners.

Thus as Jason chooses to “appeal to the same people” that “Hearts Release” won over, “Now I Know” is the next step in a career of an artist with lofty goals and higher ambitions.

Read on below for the full interview.

Advertisements

Turntable Thoughts:

Hi! I’d like to start off by asking, what was the writing process behind “Now I Know”?

Jason:

For most of my songs, I’m inspired by my real-life experiences. I wrote the song when I was going through a bit of a difficult period because of something that happened between me and this girl I was seeing. I guess, like…I basically lost her and I felt terrible…and then I wrote a song about it.

The writing process came very naturally to me. You know when you’re troubled, you have a lot of thoughts in your head, right? It’s like rambling to a friend, like about why I’m stressed and all that. So, in a way writing a song felt like that. I didn’t really have to think of what to write. I kind of just put down my thoughts while composing a melody.


Turntable Thoughts:

If you’re comfortable sharing, do you want to give us some context of what happened between you and that girl?

Jason:

[laughs] Well…I did things I shouldn’t have and lost her as a result. I was pretty obsessed. Every day, every moment I was thinking about her. It gradually went away but I was very affected. I think it took 2 months for me to get better. Honestly, 6 months for me to really move on.

Advertisements

Turntable Thoughts:

Would you say that it was the “depressed” period that made you write “Now I Know”? Or was it the healing period instead?

Jason:

No, it was not in the healing period, it was during the…when I was in the pits. The most bottom of it all and when things were the worst. Actually, it’s a good time to explain why the song’s called “Now I Know”. The lyrics “Now I know how much you meant to me”, was a result of me taking her for granted. Only when I lost her, (and this is very cliché) , did I realize what I had.


Turntable Thoughts:

Okay, so the song isn’t about asking her back is it? It’s more about “what I did wrong, now I’m going to move on”?

Jason:

Yeah, because I’ve already accepted that I couldn’t get her back. I accepted that it was a lost cause. I fucked up. Now I know I should’ve done this and not that. Now I know…I should have been more of myself. In a way, I don’t think I was being 100% honest when I was with her. I was putting on this aloof and player persona to protect myself. I’m afraid of seeming overly attached. I wanted to think I didn’t care that much. That’s why I’m willing to make jokes that might ‘risk’ our relationship, but actually I did care a lot.

Anyway, the cover art of the song reflects how I was in the relationship, like I actually wasn’t who I was, merely portraying a persona.


Turntable Thoughts:

I understand that “Now I Know” was originally an acoustic song. How did the production process go for the song to evolve into the version we have now?

Jason:

The transformation and changes that took place, a lot of them can be attributed to my producer [Edric Hwang]. He played a huge part in making it sound like how it is. I brought it to him raw, with only my guitar as accompaniment and my voice. From there we worked with possible reference tracks, finding songs that I wanted mine to sound like.

Turntable Thoughts:

What sort of references did you look at?

Jason:

“Waves” and “Be Alright” by Dean Lewis. I also wanted to capture a bit of “Scars” by James Bay but only the ending part of it. So, we had an idea of how we wanted it to sound, but we also experimented a lot when we were recording.

Advertisements

Turntable Thoughts:

It’s been 2 years since “Hearts Release” came out, would you say that that song’s success has influenced how “Now I Know” sounds?

Jason:

Definitely. That’s a good question. I could have experimented more, but when “Hearts Release” started gaining traction on streaming platforms, I made a decision of wanting to target the same people that “Hearts Release” appealed to. I didn’t want to change my sound too much, because I didn’t want to potentially lose those people.


Turntable Thoughts:

Were you happy with what you achieved with Hearts Release? How would you have handled its release differently if you could do it all over again?

Jason:

As much as “Hearts Release” did for me, one song just isn’t enough to build yourself up as an artiste. Sure, I had streams, I could tell people I had 15k to 20k monthly listeners on Spotify but honestly, my presence as a singer-songwriter in the [Singapore] scene didn’t really grow. And with regards to It’s not like Ed Sheeran taking a hiatus. I felt that me taking a 2 year break wasn’t that big of a deal.

What I could’ve done though, was ride the momentum of Hearts Release and release another song 3 or 4 months after, but I believe I still kept my fans and listeners engaged on social media. Even though I wasn’t releasing music, I was still actively putting out content – videos of me busking, doing covers, material that I think my audience would enjoy.

Advertisements

Posted by

Based in Melbourne and Malaysia. Jensen is a part-time journalist and full-time music fan.

One thought on “Interview: Singapore’s Jason Yu Aims For The Moon On “Now I Know”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s