Tag Archives: Sui Zhen

Fly away songbird: Sui Zhen heads OS

After a huge twelve months including an inspiring stint at London’s prestigious Red Bull Music Academy, Sydney songstress Sui Zhen is about to leave our shores once more. The singer, also known as Becky Freeman, has decided it’s time to pack her bags (and an acoustic guitar) and embark on a lengthy stint overseas ahead of the release of her two-years-in-the-making debut album.

Keen to take flight from the heavy heartache of a recent break-up and also keen to re-examine her approach to songwriting post-London, Becky flies out of Australia tomorrow. But she’s reassured In The Pines her jet setting ways won’t delay her debut record too much longer.

Speaking on FBi last week, Becky said the long-awaited debut had hit a few snags in the past because of a niggling perfectionism, but her time at the Red Bull Music Academy has inspired a more carefree approach.

“I guess I was just really obsessed with the technical aspects and perfect sound, when now I don’t so much care about perfect sound. I think the most interesting music has so many imperfections in it and that’s why it’s interesting.”

The carefree approach isn’t just limited to recording either. Becky has been gung-ho in her approach to song writing lately and has been sharing many of her new tunes (recorded on garage band) online. Her latest efforts are a series of love songs imaginatively titled according the order in which they were written.

Here’s Love Song 005 performed live on FBi.

Sad as it is that Becky won’t be playing shows in Sydney for a while, there is one last chance to see Sui Zhen in action and that’s tonight. She’s playing at Raval alongside Leroy Lee and Emma Davis. Tickets are available on the door.

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Mid-week Mixtape: Sui Zhen

This week’s Mid-week Mixtape has been put together by Sydney performer Sui Zhen. Known to her family and friends as Becky Freeman, Sui Zhen has been sharing her beautiful and bittersweet music with audiences since 2003 and is about to release her debut album. You can check out her music here.

Always endearing, always delightful and always fun to have on the radio, Becky will be joining me on In The Pines soon to talk about her recent experiences at the Red Bull Music Academy in London. But first, she’s agreed to share her Top 5 with us online. Thanks, Becky!

Arthur Russell – Wild Combination

This song breaks my heart to hear. I first truly understood the sentiment on the bus route from the suburb where I grew up to the city, driving over the Harbour Bridge in the morning and texting the person I loved most in the world, who’d texted me simultaneously. The last time I listened to this I cried for the entire duration, twice. Arthur Russell’s music has that affect on me, he has a sadness and beauty that is most attractive to me. This wonderful, gentle, fragile nature that transgresses genre, blending soul and folk with experimental disco beats and then the abstract and loving lyrics which carry infinite joy and melancholy I can’t help but cry for it.

Lou Reed – Heroin

I can’t help but feel safe within this song. It carries so much that I feel and to hear this song in entirety is really liberating and refreshing for me. Lou Reed has a wild, wise and destructive quality that I find so engaging. There is nothing hidden just this journey of a song, a window to his experience of the world, an addiction, it doesn’t really matter. I feel like a battery being charged for life. There is some sense of freedom here to, a moment where you don’t know what will happen next, and I guess that is how I like to live sometimes.

Lou Reed – Heroin

Talking Heads – Once In A Lifetime

I don’t even need to talk about this band. They are one of the most important bands in the last four decades for me. An experience that has come close to watching the Stop Making Sense film for the first time was recently experiencing The Dirty Projectors live whom I wanted to include on this mix but haven’t formed quite the same relationship with, yet. This song is all encompassing, a mantra, a surrealist spat from David Byrne. It never ceases to get me to where I need to be in any situation. I love this band with every inch of my body.

Talking Heads – Once In A Lifetime

Karen Dalton – Something On Your Mind
This woman’s voice melts me and makes me proud to be about to sing. I guess it’s empowering to hear this song. Even if the arrangements feel almost alien around the purity of voice there is a first time played or incidental quality to the strings and percussion, an immediacy to her performance that makes it all seem so unrepeatable. There are few voices that come close to the fragility and beauty of Karen Dalton.

Karen Dalton – Something On Your Mind

Telegraph Avenue – Happy

This is a newly discovered song for me, showed to by someone while I was in London recently. I liked it then, but I fell in love with it when I returned to Sydney after going through a hard break up. In those situations I feel vulnerable to new music. Sometimes it works and sometimes it is too strange and new and sometimes that is just what you need. The approach to English when it is spoken as a second language is endearing to me. I feel there is an overwhelming charm to this song, a sublime contradiction of sadness for a song so Happy. Telegraph Avenue’s self titled album encapsulates all the necessary moods to make me feel some sense of purpose and understanding with the world through the feeling it evokes.

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