It’s been ten years since Rani Singam quit her law job and began singing professionally – and if the title of her second album Contentment is any indication, things are going well. ‘I have been able to develop my musical career in such a harmonious and well-paced manner,’ says Singam. ‘When I made my career switch, I felt really liberated. I first quit my job to stay at home, and subsequently chose to sing after much soul searching. I must thank my son Logan for being born – I am sure I would not have had the courage to do so if I had not stopped working to become a full-time mother.’
And as was the case with the jazz vocalist’s 2004 debut With a Song in My Heart, Contentment was recorded in the US under the watchful eye of an elder mentor. In the case of the former, it was local jazz giant and Cultural Medallion winner Jeremy Monteiro who took her under his wing, performing together onstage and producing her album. The new album, to be released this month during a two-day engagement at the Esplanade, features production credits from Dae Bennett, the son of Tony, and was recorded at Bennett Studios in Englewood, New Jersey.
Contentment also features several of Singam’s longtime collaborators, including pianist Kerong Chok, with whom Singam performed with regularly during her 2007 residency at Barstop, and who co-wrote most of the originals featured on the album (notably, focusing largely on the Hammond B3 organ). Local guitarist Andrew Lim (also now based in New York) performs on the album as well, and Singam credits him with some of her success: ‘Andrew was the person who got me noticed by Jeremy Monteiro when he played my demo CD for him,’ she says. ‘We have been making music together from the day I started singing music professionally in 2002.’
The local duchess of jazz pays homage to late jazz legend Nina Simone, covering classics like ‘My Baby Just Cares for Me’ and ‘I Put a Spell on You’ on 1 Jun, 10pm, as part of SAF 2012. Main Stage, Festival Village.