Jessica Loh Mei-Ern, better known as Jess Loh, dropped by Ipoh as the penultimate stop on her EP (short album) “About that Time” launch tour on Thursday, August 16 at Aud’s by JJ Café. Attended by over 30 people, the intimate solo acoustic gig also featured Nichol Chan.
The 27-year-old Jess grew up in Ipoh and schooled in Methodist Girls’ School. She studied biomedicine in Melbourne University and then medicine at Monash University Melbourne. She is currently working as a resident in her first year of basic physicians training in Frankston Hospital, Victoria, Australia.
“I started writing sounds five years ago, in my first year of medical school in a rural town in Gippsland. I did not have much to do other than study so I decided to start recording covers and putting them on SoundCloud. Without my knowledge, my SoundCloud account was linked to my Facebook account and the track received some attention from friends, and thus, my ‘singing’ career was born. I dabbled in YouTube but I felt that songwriting was the logical next step. I actually never thought myself as a songwriter, but ideas kept on coming, so I kept writing and discovered I enjoyed it!” she recalled.
Inspired by various artists and genres as well as long drives, her songwriting is very much in the folk/pop camp. Writing songs from her own experiences and from people’s stories, she conveys messages about relationship, self-belief and identity.
“I learnt piano formally, and taught myself the guitar. Unfortunately my piano skills are extremely rusty hence I write and perform on the guitar now. I also lead worship at my church and started playing music because of church, so I learnt a lot of my skills and confidence from young,” she explained.
What keeps her doing what she is doing? “Well, not for the money for sure. Writing and performing the songs are sort of a catharsis for me. And seeing friends and strangers resonate with the songs, that’s the best part. Plus, meeting and working together with people you won’t usually meet in the hospital gets me out of my comfort zone and helps me grow,” the amiable Jess enthused.
The self-released sophomore EP (short album) was out in August with five songs: “Rubble”, “Strange Strange Land”, “Carousel”, “Dangerous Game” and “Two Ships”.
“It was recorded, produced, mixed and mastered in Melbourne. I asked producer Simon Moro (ninetynine studios) to be on the project and he roped in top musicians for this project: drummer Daniel Farrugia, guitarist James Ryan, bassist Craig Newman, keyboardist Phil Turcio,” she highlighted.
Priced at RM30, readers can purchase a physical copy of the EP at Aud’s by JJ Café. For more, do swing by her website (http://jessloh.com), YouTube account (jesslohmusic), Instagram page (theonlyjloh), Spotify/Apple Music account (Jess Loh/Jessica Loh), Bandcamp account (jessloh.bandcamp.com) or simply email: firstname.lastname@example.org
“People should support local musicians – not for the sake of supporting ‘local music’, but because they are good music, period. I want to thank all those who have, sacrificed their coffee dollars to buy an album or merchandise, listened on streaming services, went to a show or two, a small gesture like that means all the world to us indie musicians,” she concluded.