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VIDEO: Paul Freeman - Closer Still (live in Sint Nicolaaskapel)

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VIDEO: Paul Freeman - Closer Still (live in Sint Nicolaaskapel)

It was my first time meeting Welsh singer Paul Freeman, and from the first greeting he was so lovely! I also met Marlous (Revanche Records) and Paul's manager Tommy (Merrill Artists Group) and they were just as lovely! It's so lovely to work with people so lovely! 

Our goal today was to film two songs, Closer Still and Heroes in the beautiful Sint Nicolaaskapel in Nijmegen (also known as Valkhofkapel). It was so much fun! The film crew even used a drone to capture the footage and that was so cool. 

Thanks a lot to Jordy and Marjolein from We Blend It for the amazing footage and the recording engineer whose name has unfortunately escaped me (but it was a woman and I was proud!). 

Photos above by Marjolein van Veldhuizen.

Check out more about Paul Freeman:
Official website: http://thepaulfreeman.com/

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Performing at King's Night Festival 2018 at HOMOMONUMENT

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Performing at King's Night Festival 2018 at HOMOMONUMENT

I was honoured to be invited to perform electric cello at the King's Night Festival 2018 at the iconic HOMOMONUMENT in Amsterdam!

Check out the short movie I made below:

Songs: Testify - Hifi Sean feat. Crystal Waters (Rhythm Masters Vocal Mix), Bromance - Avicii (Greco NYC Tribute Mix)

What an amazing crowd and energy on stage with:

★ THE YARRR DJS ★ Aka. DJ T + Nata Babaju + Goldie Chatsworth

And Additional Featured Artists:

★ JOSHUA SERRAO ★ (Sax man Live Jam Session) ★ ANNIKA ★ (MC Special Guest) ★ MR ROSE ★ (Stage Dancer) ★ AL ' THIRSTY ' STRACHAN ★ (Stage Dancer) ★ FOEF ★ (Stage Dancers) 

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Performing with Paul Freeman on NPO Radio 2's Roodshow

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Performing with Paul Freeman on NPO Radio 2's Roodshow

I had the privilege of performing with Welshman Paul Freeman on national Dutch radio! It was the NPO Radio 2's late night Roodshow with Jan-Willem Roodbeen where we performed in the iconic living room of the studio in front of the brown leather couch with pillows with "meatloaf" and "keane" written on them. 

Check out our live performance of Closer Still above. 

The song Closer Still he wrote for Netflix series Marvel's Jessica Jones. He is featured performing this song on Season 2 Episode 5 (see screenshot below). 

Check out more about Paul Freeman:
http://thepaulfreeman.com/

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Performing with Paul Freeman at Countdown Cafe

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Performing with Paul Freeman at Countdown Cafe

It was full evening of radio appearances with Welshman Paul Freeman! First we performed Closer Still, Loneliness and Heroes at NH Radio's Countdown Café and then we rushed off to NPO Radio 2's Late Night Roodshow. I loved performing at Countdown Café because I had my Abbey Road family there supporting me (thanks guys!)! The Countdown Café is recorded in the Q factory where I study. I worked a couple times as a mixing engineer for the radio broadcast for Kees Baars. 

Even though it was the first time performing with Paul with an audience, it went really smoothly and it was so much fun! Thank you Paul for taking me on! 

See us performing Closer Still below. Closer still is a song written by Paul and is featured in Marvel's Jessica Jones season 2 episode 5. 

See us performing Heroes below:

Photos by Jasper Derksen 

Check out Paul Freeman's official website: http://thepaulfreeman.com/

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VIDEO: Lady Gaga's Just Dance with midi keyboard

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VIDEO: Lady Gaga's Just Dance with midi keyboard

Since seeing Lady Gaga in concert last week and being so incredibly inspired combined with wanting to do something cool with my new Arturia Keystep midi keyboard.. I decided to do a short cover of Just Dance! 

For the lead synth I watched at a YouTube tutorial (eh sorry I can't find the link to it anymore) and the rest I just used basic presets in Logic Pro X. 

I filmed this using Acapella App. 

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VIDEO: Shape Of You cover

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VIDEO: Shape Of You cover

First of all, let me just tell you that I hit 25,000 followers on Acapella App! How crazy is that? My videos are averaging at least 1000+ likes and the community is really a supportive and creative one! 

For my latest video,  I really went one level up in a number of ways. Firstly, it's the first video where I recorded myself playing djembe! It's a new instrument to my skill-set, and I've only been playing since February. But it is so much fun! The second way that this video is better than my previous ones is because I finally bought a new bass amp (Roland Cube-20CX Bass) and some new recording equipment so I can record directly to the Acapella App on my iPhone. I am playing a 5-string electric cello by NS Design.

I chose Ed Sheeran's Shape Of You to cover because it is just so damn catchy and since it's a loop it would be easier to make the compilation. I had new singers willing to collab with me and also singers who had already sung with me before. It was a real mix of people and everyone added their own unique spin to the song. So grateful for their talents! 

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VIDEO: Return Of The Mack cover

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VIDEO: Return Of The Mack cover

I'm back! After spending 3 months down under, I decided to record a cover of Return Of The Mack by Mark Morrison as a soundtrack to acknowledge my return to Amsterdam. Swedish DJ Nevada covered the original and made it into a summery club jam and I thought it was super catchy that I had to do a cover myself. Also, a lot of my latest covers on Acapella App were really slow and cello-eque, so this time I thought it would be fun to try something new, which includes singing and dressing up. Let me know if it's a good move, or an embarrassing one!

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VIDEO: One Day I'll Fly Away cover

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VIDEO: One Day I'll Fly Away cover

A girl I met on Acapella App made a request for me to sing the Song from John Lewis Christmas Ad 2016 ONE DAY I'LL FLY AWAY by VAULTS. The original song is by Randy Crawford but it had a totally different feel so I opted to do the lush string version which was also made famous by Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor in Moulin Rouge. 

Happy holidays everyone and all the best for 2017! 

P.S. I am playing an electric cello, by NS Design, Ned Steinberger, the CR series: CR5P. 

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VIDEO: Cheap Thrills Compilation

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VIDEO: Cheap Thrills Compilation

1 electric cellist (if you're interested, it's the NS Design electric cello), 13 singers and 2 violinists!

So a few weeks ago I recorded the backing track for Sia's Cheap Thrills on Acapella App and asked if anyone wanted to sing with me. Again, I was blown away by the talent of these people!!! People who I don't even know! Grateful and happy to collaborate with these people on this app. 

If you don't know Acapella App, download it on the Apple iTunes Store or Google Play Store

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Performing with with Michael Kiwanuka at Songbird Festival

(Above): Home Again broadcast on Dutch television! I was so honoured to find out from a friend who saw it on TV and I found out afterwards. 

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The day before Songbird Festival I was called by Michael Kiwanuka's tour manager to ask if I would like to come to the show in Tivoli, Utrecht and also perform at Songbird in Rotterdam. This one came as a complete surprise. I'd spoken to Michael before about this and they were enthusiastic about me playing but to finally get that call I was really overwhelmed.

So I arrive at the artist reception to get my wristband and Lianne La Havas walks passed to go to her dressing room. Wow, I thought to myself. I was really IN the action. Then I went to Michael's dressing room and got introduced to the crew and band: Michael Kiwanuka (vocals, guitar); Miles James (guitar); Steve Pringle (keyboards); Pete Randall (bass); Lewis Wright (drums); Graham Godfrey (percussion). The next couple of hours were a blur; I went backstage to watch fellow Aussie Matt Corby and sat in the audience for Justin Nozuka to see what the audience would see when I perform. As I went back to the dressing room I bumped into Lianne La Havas. I called her name and while shaking her hand I introduced myself as Janice. It took a split second but she then said "Janice Wong? I heard that you're playing with Michael! So great to actually see you!" How cool! She had seen my video so she knew who I was. I was a bit embarrassed and I even told her that I felt bad! haha. She said she would try come to watch after her performance.

Backstage the boys were getting ready - and it's funny what goes on in the dressing room! Miles was bidding on a reverb plate on eBay and won it! The others were doing press-ups, ironing their shirts and doing their hair. Michael was watching a live stream soccer match! It was a bit strange that Michael didn't ask me to rehearse or run through the song at all. It seemed like he trusted me and we were just going to wing it!

And luckily, the performance went smoothly. I went on for Home Again and the crowd started cheering at the start of the song. I was so nervous though that I closed my eyes for the first half of the song when it was just Michael and me playing. When I opened my eyes I could see the audience and a couple people in the front row recording with their iPhones. So cool!

Afterwards we went for a drink at De Unie with all the bands and crew. Was a great evening! Just wanted to thank Michael again for the opportunity. It was something so special to me. He really enjoyed it as well. His manager said it was the best performance in the tour so far!

See below for pictures from the night. Below: Michael Kiwanuka & band playing Home Again featuring Janice Wong on cello! (Photo by Andreas)

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Below: Close up of Michael and myself on cello. (Photo by Andreas)

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Below: view of the stage from the middle section. (Photo by Andreas)

Michael-Kiwanuka-Songbird-Festival-far-The-Wong-Janice.jpg

Below: Backstage looking out into the crowd at de Grote Zaal. It was packed!

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Below: Michael Kiwanuka's setlist from Songbird Festival, in the dressing room.

Michael-Kiwanuka-setlist-THE-WONG-JANICE.jpg

Below: Me and the boys from Michael Kiwanuka's band in the dressing room. They're all so lovely and sweet!

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Below: My friend Lieke having her vinyl signed. They have 2 degrees of separation. Small world -x-!

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Below: Having a funny moment with Lianne La Havas

Lianne-La-Havas-Songbird-THE-WONG-JANICE.jpg

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Performing with Imogen Heap in Amsterdam (LIFE GOAL ACHIEVED!)

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Performing with Imogen Heap in Amsterdam (LIFE GOAL ACHIEVED!)

VIDEO: Imogen Heap - Earth with Janice Wong on cello using a loop machine

VIDEO: Imogen Heap - Aha! with full band

"I love playing music with people, especially because the way you connect can be much more meaningful and special than talking one on one."

16.30

Cycled to Melkweg with the cello on my back, and got in just as the rain started. Met the lovely crew and got fitted with a radio pack and hit the stage. Oh, how nerve racking. Roll in the cellist! I sat there sorting out my leads and loop machine, and bowed out some tunes. Tried to ignore the fact how scared I should have been, on stage with Imogen Heap, but I just closed my eyes, listened to the cello echo in the hall and concentrated. We ran through Earth once. She was already happy with it, smiling and ready to move on. Then the others came onto the stage for Aha!. She said "we didn't tell you we were playing this one did we?" No, I wasn't expecting to play this one (but of course had practiced it anyway) and she said she had seen my audition (all those months ago) so she knew I could play it. After one time through it already felt good and Imogen smiled, because she knew it was going to be all good.

18.00

Imogen ran off to 9 straatjes (9 streets) to get an outfit and I had some good Thai food with Ben Christophers and Emma and Vince from Geese, before rushing back to get ready. It was an early show, with no supports. Bumped into my two Dutchies outside and we went in. I hadn't told one of them I was playing, so it was a little bit tricky to hide my all-access pass and to explain that I was wearing these small bud-earphones as a fashion accessory (hiding the radio pack under my armpit)...

19.40

And the show began! I was calm. It was cool to enjoy the first half of the set in the audience in great company. It was my second time seeing Imogen Heap in concert, the first time was in Melbourne, where I discovered she was auditioning cellists while at the show. It felt like this was my second chance. And those don't come around often in life. Just before she performed 'Let Go' from the days of Frou Frou, I said to my friend, "I'm just going to the toilet" and never returned...

Imogen told a little story of my audition before she brought me out, and when I came out, the crowd (my friends haha) screamed very loudly, "Jaaaaaaaaaanice!!!!" thanks guys!

I plugged in, and I had a moment with myself when I looked into the black mass of people, which was probably 900 people all there watching me. I started playing and I knew it was all great from that note on. I started to enjoy it. When I looked over at Imogen to start, she was smiling at me. Wow. I've talked about this before, but I love playing music with people, especially because the way you connect can be much more meaningful and special than talking one on one. I mean, we had hardly said more than 3 sentences to each other, but on stage we knew each other.

LOVED IT. And my friends too, and the rest of the crowd! Ben later on told me he was jealous!

22.00

Took the crew out for a drink at Weber "a favourite haunt for musicians and well known for playing the latest independent music". Yes it was fun! So great to be surrounded by such great people. And, they only had good things to say about me, which was so generous of them.

02.00

It was time to send the crew off. Stood outside the big black bus (the size of 2 stretch limos and a small train carriage) with Imogen and had a strange moment, you know, you have a one in a lifetime chance to say something meaningful or impactful, but also know it's better to say nothing in case it's too corny. I already played the 'silly' card when I gave her some dutch treats (a wooden tulip, clogs and a chocolate letter) then asked for a photo and some autographs. Haha! I just accepted my position as a young fan. I just said thank you a billion times, and she thanked me too, wished me luck for my studies, and hugged. All the best to you too Imogen.

PHOTOS

Janice and her 'fans'

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Imogen and her digital grand piano

Imogen-Heap-piano-THE-WONG-JANICE.jpg

Ben Christophers on guitar

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Had to do the cheesy thing and give her some Dutch presents including a tulip, clogs and chocolate letter.

Imogen-Heap-backstage-Melkweg-THE-WONG-JANICE.jpg

Setlist

Imogen-Heap-setlist-Melkweg-THE-WONG-JANICE.jpg

Other photos and videos I found on the Internet:

http://im-not-a-robot.blogspot.com/2010/11/imogen.html by I'm Not A Robot (my favourite review!)

I'm-not-a-robot-Imogen-Heap-The-Wong-Janice-cellist.JPG

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=do22HLj4kcw by user dukespirit, originally on http://ghostsofmylife.web-log.nl/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HdcvhSEnDs by user pegasusnl

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AkTDD5Tvtrk by user aalten82

In Dutch:

Concertverslag: Imogen Heap dirigeert haar publiek by Mirjam von Bannisseht (Alternative.Blog)

Imogen Heap - Melkweg, Amsterdam 23 November 2010 by Ghosts of my Life

Imogen Heap in de Melkweg: foto's by Gooddayz magazine

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