What’s In Your Playlist Jaime Wong?

Known for her unmistakably warm and musky iconic acoustic folk voice, and strong songwriting artistry with heavy influence from Damien Rice, Ben Howard and John Mayer, singer-songwriter Jaime Wong is back after a 6-year hiatus. Her new single, ‘I Swore I’d Stop Writing About You’, marks the folksy crooner’s departure from the theme of her initial breakup self-titled EP. The single, while still about a failed relationship, touches on finally getting to the point of seeing things the way they are – no longing, just acceptance. 

Photo credits: Tan Yan Long / Jaime Wong

With perfectly broken down lyrics such as ‘let my words flow write whatever / there’s no need for proper structure / I’d give no rhyme and no reason / If it’s you then I’d be honest / I swore I’d stop writing about you’, the single reflects Jaime Wong’s mental conflict of constantly writing about the same subject matter or person, and where listening to the single on repeat hits you hard on each verse and makes you want so much more.

It came to a point that I completely stopped writing songs just to avoid that repetition process. Eventually, I stopped thinking and decided to write whatever that came to mind. By doing this, I truly managed to stop writing about the same things over and over again, and this is reflected in the new music I will be releasing as part of the new EP.” Jaime Wong explains. 

Jointly produced with Bani Hidir, Shaykh Akbar and Sano Shimano who have worked with numerous local artists, ‘I Swore I’d Stop Writing About You’ is an experimentation of different sounds and textures compared to Jaime Wong’s acoustic vein in previous single releases. Here at Popwire, we’ve gotten the singer-songwriter to tease us with her influences of the single and what’s to come for her upcoming EP that is currently in the works. Her playlist is all-round folksy, confessional, melancholic, and balanced, and we would have expected nothing less coming from the singer-songwriter. For now, we say (very thankfully), welcome back Jaime Wong! 

1. The Jacket- Henry Jamison

This song was one of the references we used for ‘I Swore I Stopped Writing About You‘. Henry Jamison is so underrated. He writes in a very simple but effective way and I love how he retains his singer-songwriter, folksy identity so strongly but still manages to experiment with electronics. It’s just very cool.

2. Bitter- Charlie Lim

No secret that I am a major Charlie Lim fangirl. And ‘Bitter‘ is also another reference for the single. I love songs that are cinematic and theatrical that you can imagine being in a very dramatic scene and this happens during the climax of the song when the loud guitars and drums come in.  I took with Charlie in 2013 hahaha with an embarrassing Instagram caption too.

Courtesy of Jaime Wong

3. He Won’t Hold You- Jacob Collier

Speaking of cinematic and theatrical songs… this guy! My best find during the lockdown. Jacob Collier’s creative energies are just… limitless. I once watched him do a 5-hour livestream of him harmonizing and adding arrangements to very raw singing videos from his fans non-stop to raise money for his band who couldn’t work during the lockdown. His energy level was 100% the whole time. It was insane. This is one of my favourite songs from him. It’s hauntingly beautiful. 

4. 25 in Barcelona- JP Saxe

Another favourite find of mine during the lockdown. He writes in a very confessional way that it makes me uncomfortable, only because I know I can never be as confessional as him in my own songs. And he writes such great pop songs with very strong hooks. Like this one. 

5. Forever Young- Youth Group

The original is by Alphaville but I really love Youth Group’s version. I find the song so depressing but truthful, about morality and the fear of getting old.

6. Across The Universe- The Beatles

One of my absolute favourite movies is ‘I Am Sam’. I cried so much when I first watched it when I was a kid. I see how in retrospect it is a problematic film but the thing that really stuck with me was how The Beatles feature prominently in the film, with Sam and his friends being huge Beatles friends, and how Sam uses Beatles songs to teach Lucy about life in the way that he understands it. 

7. Song for Zula- Phosphorescent 

This song is about the ugly and violent side of love, which I think it’s so hard to write about. It’s like an angry manifesto about love, but somehow the arrangement of the song is actually quite uplifting? It’s an interesting contrast. 

8. Now I’m In It- HAIM

My favourite from their latest album. Notwithstanding the fact that the song sounds a lot like Savage Garden’s ‘I Want You’. I love the guitar riff that plays pretty much throughout the whole song, it’s so simple but once you hear it, it really just sticks, and immediately the song is memorable.

9. I just wanna die!!!- Vivien Yap

Vivien released this song the same day as me and it’s one of my favourite local releases. This song is an anthem for women everywhere and it’s important education material. I think it’s so badass Vivien and Bani Hidir (producer of the song) went full-on metal with this. Also features voice-acting by Joie Tan who played the part of a mean girl a little too well.

10. The World Spins Madly On- The Weepies

My old songs are mostly acoustic-guitar driven, with very simple drums, some piano, some electric guitars here and there and straightforward basslines. With the new single, we tried a few new things and experimented with different sounds. It was tough trying to find a balance between retaining “my sound” yet still trying to do something different with it. I think sometimes I feel the pressure to distance myself from the older sound because the ‘simple acoustic songs’ just don’t cut it anymore in today’s music scene. But this song reminds me that as long as you have sincere lyrics and a strong melody, an acoustic guitar and some strings are all you need to make a song that resonates with people.

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