Album Reviews, Culture, RnB / Soul — March 11, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Dru Chen – Intentions: review and tour


Dru Chen

It is not every day that you come across a young Asian musician who has frequently inspired comparisons to Prince and Michael Jackson. Dru Chen is that young musician, blessed with glossy and elastic vocals, multi-instrumentalist skills and a penchant for sweet hooks, all fueled by a fervent love for Funk and Soul music.

Chen’s latest release, a five track EP titled Intentions is just that- a clear statement of his musical aim, which seems to be to gracefully skim the sea of Soul, marrying old traditions with new textures and techniques along the way. The gifted Music Technology graduate wrote, arranged, produced, mixed and played most of the instruments on this release in his home studio in Melbourne, Australia where he is based.

Intentions opens with first single “You Bring Out The Best In Me” an infectious old school soul ditty, complete with punctuated horns, vocal call and response, his signature scream and a tip of the hat to James Brown himself. Yes, you will be singing and dancing along to it, much like everybody does in its feel-good music video, which has garnered over 10,000 views on YouTube in a matter of weeks.

Chen explores 80s and 90s electro-pop textures in “Lovelight”, a sexy ode to a lover before hitting funkier ground with “Turnaround”, a hypnotizing mid-tempo tune reminiscent of Prince as he confidently displays the spectrum of his three octave vocal range. “Involved”, a minimal R&B ballad which Chen states is inspired by Frank Ocean and produced based on phone app SoundPrism proves the diversity of his influences and versatile ability. Closing ballad “Trainwrecks” could be a little out of place among the heavy soul tracks, but is definitely a welcome addition, highlighting Chen’s more delicate, emotive side.

“Intentions” first strikes with Chen’s technical mastery and songwriting ability, but leaves you with his genuine passion and sincere dedication to his influences, which is exactly what makes it a lovely, inspiring listen.

Chen is currently touring Southeast Asia and will officially launch the Intentions EP at Barber Shop by Timbre on March 16. It will be released on iTunes, Bandcamp and Chen’s official website

2013 Tour dates:
March 12 – Sultan Jazz Club, Singapore (with Charlie Lim, Kerong Chok)
March 13 – The Bee Publika, KL, Malaysia
March 14 – Esplanade Concourse, Singapore (Mosaic Music Festival)
March 15 – Esplanade Outdoor Theatre, Singapore (Mosaic Music Festival)
March 16 – Timbre Barber Shop, Singapore (Official EP Launch)

For full details go to