Life as a Wedding Singer: Dawn Wong

dawn

Armed with a passion for singing, Dawn Wong has come a long way from Project SuperStar 2 alum to being boss of her own company providing live music services for weddings.

Hummingbird Concepts was started by Dawn with a mission to provide quality music. “It was only after singing at weddings and events for 4 to 5 years that I started my own company. With experience under my belt, I felt that more could be done to develop our industry of live music services. Lots of people think it is so easy to form a band and sing for weddings, but there is so much that goes on behind the scenes to ensure that quality music is consistently presented to clients who require our services. After all, it is both a skills-based and service-based industry, neither of which are easy to manage.”

And speaking of skills, Dawn, who received training at notable music schools like Ocean Butterflies and the Lee Wei Song School of Music, certainly has plenty to boast of. Apart from being a finalist in the local singing competition Project SuperStar 2 in 2007, the 26-year-old also made it to Taiwan’s Super Idol 5 as a PK challenger. Her rendition of “Loving You” won over judges who complimented Dawn’s unique husky voice.

To date, the bilingual songbird, who has a repertoire ranging from Mandarin classics to Alternative Pop and Jazz, has sung at more than 500 weddings. The usual routine will see Dawn and her live band performing for 2 sets of 45 minutes each, covering close to 20 songs which will fit in well with a 9-course banquet.

According to Dawn, the peak period for a wedding singer usually ranges from end of year up till before Chinese New Year. Her busiest week saw her performing at 6 weddings from Friday evening through to Monday. In order to remain fresh for the occasion, she tries to sing no more than 2 weddings a day.

In between her busy schedule as a wedding singer, Dawn also found time for her debut self-titled EP released late last year. The five-track album was written, conceptualized and produced entirely by Dawn who invested $20,000 of her life savings. The result, is a sincere record brimming with the singer’s dedication and passion for music.

And it is not hard to tell that Dawn’s stint as a wedding singer has clearly influenced her music. The EP contains two wedding tracks – English song “The Perfect Two (Stuck Like Glue)” and Mandarin ballad “Ring Finger (无名指)”. Both have lyrics penned by Dawn and channel positive feel-good vibes. Have a listen!

W&T: Do you still remember the first wedding you sung at?
Dawn: My first ever wedding was a friend’s wedding at Raffles Town Club. It was nerve-wrecking, but it helped that it was a intimate gathering and I knew the couple. Their son is almost of primary school age now!

W&T: When you first started out, were there any difficulties you faced? For instance, song dedications that you’re not familiar with?
Dawn: I’ve had interesting song requests that I apologetically decline, but I do try my best to learn as many popularly requested songs as I can so as not to disappoint at the next wedding. I’ve also had very enthusiastic guests who sing along, and those I love! It’s a really great feeling when you see people enjoying themselves. But of course it all depends on the couple, their guests and their requirements. For example, if it’s a big wedding with lots of business associates, we may not entertain requests to maintain the couple’s desired image.

W&T: What are some popular wedding songs in Singapore?
Dawn: There’s a not so new radio station called Kiss92, all the great songs in one place. And we’re really the live band version of that. Sometimes couples come to us with very specific song lists, but by and large we play the most popular songs out there. So it is inevitable that some songs feature in almost every wedding like ‘The Moon Represents My Heart’ by Teresa Teng. But the funny thing is, that song almost always gets an appreciative reaction from the crowd and as long as people enjoy listening to it, I’m happy to keep singing it. Although I must say that on my days off, it is nice to listen to other tunes!

W&T: Any per-requisites a wedding singer must have?
Dawn: If I had to pick a wedding singer, I’d pick someone who can really sing (that’s a given), and who also enjoys singing love/positive/happy type songs, because that comes through in a performance. But what’s really important to me is a genuine interest in your audience’s enjoyment. We’re there to enhance a wedding, but the couple is the star of the show. So we must make them look good by helping their guests have a good time.

W&T: You released your self-titled EP in 2012, can you tell us whether your experience as a wedding singer helped in any way?
Dawn: Subconsciously, singing at weddings made me realise that positive and hopeful songs were more suited to me than the emo heart wrenchers I had been singing before. So my experiences definitely influenced the direction of the EP. I’m still discovering myself, trying new music genres, and working on interesting projects, and I hope that translates into even better experiences for my audiences at weddings or other events.

To know more about Dawn, go to www.dawnwong.sg or facebook.com/DawnWong.Music

Dawn’s EP is available via mail order at www.dawnwong.sg, for download from iTunes & CDBaby.com and also on spotify.