Not enough soul in music today, says Maggie Teng

ASPIRING music talents in Singapore should look at their home turf as a training ground, and not merely set their sights on the international music scene hoping for a big break, said home-grown music veteran Maggie Teng.

"Singapore is a sweet training ground for young artists who want to hone their fundamental skills, compared to countries like Taiwan, where artists are often thrown into the deep end," the 50-year-old told my paper in a phone interview.

Teng, who is filming a drama series in Kuala Lumpur, will perform hits from the 1980s on the second night of the Home Brewed! concert on Saturday.

Despite being hailed as an icon of the music and film industries, thanks to her 1980s love ballads that topped Taiwan charts then, she never felt that she reached "icon status".

"The entertainment industry is fast-changing - something popular today may just be out of fashion tomorrow," said Teng, who will appear in a movie, The Wedding Diary, alongside Malaysian singer Ah Niu and Hong Kong actress Elanne Kwong, next year.

Comparing today's music with that of the past, she sighed and lamented that music these days does not have "soul".

"There are too many electronic elements in music today; songs seem almost too perfect," she said.

"There is an overemphasis on commercialisation and packaging.

Ultimately, only those who have solid (vocal and musical) skills will survive in the long run," she added.

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