Monday, October 29, 2012

Expressing faith through songs written in ‘Crooked Lines’

(Published Oct. 29, PDI-Entertainment)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit

Based in Los Angeles since 1999, acclaimed Singaporean singer-songwriter Corrinne May has just released her fifth album, “Crooked Lines.” It is rife with personal songs about soul-searching and motherhood.

But in a phone interview with the Inquirer, the 39-year-old Corrinne (born Corrinne Foo May Ying) revealed that expressing her faith through her songs wasn’t always a comfortable process.

“I’m Catholic,” she said. “Catholic or Christian, it’s the same to me. Before, I wasn’t sure how people would react to my more spiritual lyrics. I didn’t know if I’d be comfortable with sharing my beliefs, but that’s how I feel now with some of the songs in ‘Crooked Lines.’ I’m writing what I know.”

Corrinne was named by her mother after Ray Peterson’s 1960s hit song “Corrina, Corrina.”

Her own lilting folk-pop music has been described by some as “Lilith Fair”-ish, and her songs and vocal style compared to Canadian singer-songwriters Sarah McLachlan and Joni Mitchell, as well as Taiwanese-American artist Vienna Teng.

Co-produced with husband Kevin Hoo (who also played the cello and piano on some songs), “Crooked Lines” is the culmination of Corrine’s hiatus. She took a few years off to take care of her daughter Claire, and eventually recorded material for the album when her child was asleep or preoccupied. She wrote all the songs, and played the piano and acoustic guitar on a number of tracks.

The artist is currently at a crossroads whether to settle down in the United States or Singapore.

“It’s difficult,” Corrine said. “We don’t know how [things will work out] yet.”

She is, however, very appreciative of the continuous support of relatives, who help out during her shows and work-related obligations.

The self-proclaimed “old school” artist is also thankful to her “deep-thinking” fans, who have remained devotees through her musical evolution. Some new songs inspired by her daughter include “In My Arms” and the titular song “Crooked Lines,” in which little Claire sings “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” toward the end.

If and when Claire also pursues music as a career, Corrinne said that she would definitely support it.

“She’s starting to understand what I do now,” said Corrinne. “After one show, I brought her to the stage. She said ‘boo!’ on the microphone. The audience laughed and then she said ‘boo’ again!” 

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