Many people have experienced rocky points in their lives; however, very few are able to give apositive outlook on life during these hard times. Singlok Ng, a grade eleven student at our school, is one of these few people. Singlok is in the Byng Arts program for music, and has been since the eighth grade. He is in Byng Arts for the alto saxophone; however, he is more commonly known among the student body for his skills in rap. What started as a hobby for him has begun to turn into his passion, and recently, he has become famous across the school for his first music video, titled Shower in Kool-Aid.
The music video features Sing in Physics class chilling out to his own music video as guest star Mr. Chen drones on about algebra in the background. As the video reaches its end Sing is suddenly called out of the classroom by Mr. Chen for not paying attention. Byng students in the background watch (and snicker) as Sing walks dejectedly out of the room and the music begins to play.
The song captures the carefree, optimistic side of life; bright lighting, and positive lyrics and a driving beat throttles the song forwards. Sing Lok said that he wanted to write a song about keeping your head up when you have a really bad day. “Just convert [negativity] into happiness, make it into lemonade, make it into Kool Aid,” Sing says. “I based it mainly off school life because we all know what it feels like when you get a bad test back; you get pushed around in the halls. And it’s like, ‘Man, today sucks.’ Just make the best out of everything.”
When asked about his inspiration for the song, Sing told us that he had had a really bad day and was taking a shower. The thought ‘If life gives me lemons, I make lemonade,’ popped into his head. “What rhymes with lemonade? Kool-Aid. I ran out of the shower butt-naked and wrote the first verse in ten minutes. It was like Mr. Kool-Aid Magic Man came into my head and told me to write that song.”
The epiphany for his second verse took a while longer to surface. It took the rest of the summer for him to think up the follow-up to his chorus, Sing says, even though he wrote down the second verse itself on that one day. Michael Hung, who is Sing’s producer and editor, helped Sing look over his lyrics and decide on rhyming verses before they actually began recording. The first recording, Michael says, was made through a $20 Apple headset at his house. “It sounded really good though, so we decided to start recording content using professional sound equipment,” Michael says.
Michael first became involved in the making of the video when he approached Sing with a request that Sing rap in a cover song with him. Instead, Sing showed Michael the original song ideas he had and Michael asked him to write a draft of his first song. After the first draft was produced, Michael says, “there came a point where we kept on refining the recordings that we were getting until it sounded
From there on out, Michael and Sing borrowed a beat composed by Empty Beatz to use in the music video. Michael made edits so Sing’s lyrics would flow smoothly over the beat, and Yunie Fuchioka gave some critique on this process. “Overall it was pretty good. I really liked it after he made [some] edits,” says Yunie. “After the lyrics were added I thought it was great; it sounded really professional.”
Director Bobby Zheng, who has been making films circa 2008, says that the video was purposely filmed with “smooth shots and vibrant colours to match the relaxed tone of the video”. Both static shots and moving shots were incorporated to provide a mixture of movement. The filming for the bulk of the video took place over two days and lasted seven hours, while the filming of the trailer took only around three hours of time. Editing the complete video took a week of on-and-off work. The biggest difficulty in the entire process, however, was uploading the video onto Youtube. “The file was really big, 500 MB and in the highest quality. It took three uploading attempts to finally get it onto Youtube,” says Bobby. Yet, he isn’t satisfied with the final product. “I feel like the product could have been better if we had had better
The actors in the music, however, disagree for the most part. Ethan Hu, an extra in the classroom and the student who moonwalked across the hallway, says that it was way better than he expected. “I was really surprised that it got over 1000 views in one week,” he admits. Susanna Fang and Nicole Zhang, who were both extras in the classroom, agree.”It sure didn’t disappoint,” said Susanna. “The [atmosphere was great] and we got more laughing done than filming.” Nicole adds that Bobby’s film highlighted many cool effects. “He made it into a piece of artwork, and it was really cool to see the music video come alive. It was cool to see that I was part of that.” Kevin Yang, along with numerous other actors, states with finality that he feels proud of the final product.
Raymond Diamonds agrees that the video came out above his expectations, but he says that it could have been better organized. “It was hard to schedule … so I think if it was a bit more organized,
Guest star Mr. Chen says that it was fun to be part of the music video. Michael and Sing Lok first asked Mr. Chen to high-five Sing in the hallway for his trailer; this later lead to a full-blown classroom scene where Mr. Chen took on the role of Sing’s teacher. He admits that personally, he does not like to be filmed, and that he would have preferred a script to read from. He does say that it’s a good idea to try something new, though. “It’s nice to get out of your comfort zone. For example when I was in school I ran for Gr 12 rep and I did get elected. And that experience informed me not to be a politician.”
As for other songs, Sing revealed some secrets to us about his masterpiece called ‘Chicken and Waffles’. When asked to divulge a tidbit about his piece, Sing revealed the first verse to us: “Chicken and waffles, America’s sole food / My rhymes are like chicken and waffles; for the soul, dude.” In this new song, Sing says he’s comparing chickens and waffles to his music. “Chicken and waffles are both really good, and I wants them,” Sing says, just like he wants to pursue music in career. “But you know you can’t eat them or you’ll get fat. Music is like that; I want it, but I can’t have it.”
Geoffrey Scales, who was an extra camera during the filming process, is also part of the Behind the Scenes video. Geoffrey says the video contains little snippets and random interviews about the actors
Michael adds that SINGLOK is planning to launch a full album later in 2014. “In the next couple months, we are pushing to have two or three more songs ready, and maybe another music video,” he says.