Top Local Contemporary Instrumental (2017)

It could be said that my love for aesthetics and all things beautiful began with music.

I started violin lessons from as early as 6 years old. Forced into the traditional progression of earning the musical grades and locked into playing exclusively test pieces, I hated every aspect of playing music.

It was when I was 13, that I first experienced someone play Richard Claydermans Ballad Por Adeline. From that moment, I fell in love with the beauty of the piece, and was obsessed in recreating it on my brothers piano at home.

One note led to another, I somehow managed to recreate the song by ear, and continued playing and learning by ear from then on. 

After years of practice, I eventually acquired the ability to play and harmonise practically any melody by ear on the piano. One piece in particular that made me a little famous back in 2001 was this piano theme from the Hong Kong movie, Love on a Diet (2001) starring Andy Lau and Sammi Cheng. I had recorded a rendition of the piano theme in the movie based on my impression of hearing it once from the theatre. The song was uploaded to Napster and became so widespread that I was mistaken to be the original composer of the song.

Piano Theme from 瘦身男女 Love on a Diet
Arranger/Performer: Fred Lin

Since my piano playing was based on contemporary and pop genres, I naturally got curious in how those songs were created and put together. 

Having no such thing as the internet back then, I studied music production magazines and bought them faithfully every month. Slowly and surely, I started investing in a home production studio, starting with a M-audio keyboard, Behringer condenser microphone and a Behringer mixer, along with a licensed copy of Cubase. Those would serve as the foundation of my music journey.

Fred Lin, 2009.

I self recorded and produced many compositions and published them on a number of websites I had created to showcase my music ( ). I was determined to become a singer-songwriter.

I had approached and sent my music to many record labels, but never succeeded in getting signed and always got shot down for being not good enough. That didn’t stop me from getting stronger. I learnt to arrange music; pairing drum beats and strings with my usual piano base track. Layer by layer, I listened to thousands of tracks and dissected their anatomy in my head while trying to replicate them.

Recreating Black Eyed Peas’ Pump It.
Arrangement: Fred Lin

I also attended Speech Level Singing lessons from certified coach, Daniel Singh. I was super excited for these lessons because they were from the same system that Michael Jackson used and Daniel was the only person teaching it in Singapore.

Eventually word of my music production abilities got out, and I helped many budding singer/songwriters arrange and record their songs from my home studio. The most famous of these were Yong Bang and Jeric.

Somehow I also caught the attention of Musical Theatre producer/composer, Ken Lyen, who convinced me to participate in his music theatre production group, then called Five Foot Broadway, now Musical Theatre Limited. 

I arranged, composed, wrote lyrics and even performed for 2 musicals, one performed at NAFA and the other at the Esplanade.

Heats are meant to be broken, from Closer to Your Heart.
Vocals: Dhaniah Suhana
Composer/Arranger: Fred Lin
Closer to Your Heart Finale, from Closer to Your Heart
Vocals: Cast of Closer to your Heart
Composer/Arranger: Fred Lin

In April 2007, the same year I was accepted to the Ontario Institute of Audio Recording Technology, I was invited by Singaporean singer, Yong Bang to check out opportunities at a recording label in Shanghai called Orientalsky. I made the visit in April, arranged a hip-hop track for their upcoming girl-group Baby Monkiz from 10pm to 9am on the first day, and got offered the job of production supervisor. I gave up my position at OIART and officially moved to Shanghai in June 2007, where I would live for the next 11 years.

Baby Monkiz Debut EP, 2008.
Production Supervisor: Fred Lin
Title track by Baby Monkiz.
I arranged this on my first day in Shanghai from 10pm to 9am.
Arranger/Production Supervisor: Fred Lin
Oriental Sky Records 2007
Hip Hop by Baby Monkiz.
Arranger/Production Supervisor: Fred Lin
Oriental Sky Records 2007
异想天开 (Wishful Thinking) by Baby Monkiz.
Arranger/Production Supervisor: Fred Lin
Oriental Sky Records 2007

During my time in Shanghai, I wrote and produced a library of works, including Piano Spa 4 and Piano Spa 5 published by Warner Music Singapore, of which I composed and produced instrumental piano music, the Unshakable Peace by Streams of Grace, and many more compositions.

Piano Spa 5 – Love Theme.
Composer/Arranger/Performer: Fred Lin
Warner Music Singapore 2008
Piano Spa 5 – Her Return.
Composer/Arranger/Performer: Fred Lin
Warner Music Singapore 2008
Piano Spa 5 – One.
Composer/Arranger/Performer: Fred Lin
Warner Music Singapore 2008

In 2018, one of my songs from the Piano Spa 5, “Love at First Sight” won COMPASS’s best local contemporary song of the year award based on royalties, a dream that took 10 years to fulfil.

Accepting the award for Top Local Contemporary Instrumental by COMPASS, 2018.
Piano Spa 5 – Love at First Sight.
Composer/Arranger/Performer: Fred Lin
Warner Music Singapore 2008

Today, I’m no longer active in the professional music scene, but continue to play the piano and dissect songs in my head on a recreational level.

More selected works

风险中的平安 from the Unshakable Peace album.
Arranger/Vocals: Fred Lin.
Streams of Grace 2009.
National Archives Reference.
Original composition, 无能为力 (Helpless)
Composer/Lyrics/Arranger/Vocals: Fred Lin
Original composition, Indian World
Composer/Arranger: Fred Lin