by KT Leong
Ipoh Echo readers may remember reading a book review on the life and times of Tan Sri Lee Loy Seng, aka the Taiko of Plantations. The review was well written and well received, and eagle eyed readers would also notice that the review wasn’t written by an Ipoh Echo regular, but rather, by one Corey Koh.
Corey’s not just a talented wordsmith contributing to Ipoh Echo though. He’s actually many things and at an astoundingly young age as well.
But perhaps first and foremost, he’s a classically trained tenor vocalist who has travelled and sung at venues all around the world, from Carnegie Hall in New York to Suntory Hall in Tokyo; and yes, even to the hometown of his father, Ipoh, where he performed at a charity fund-raiser for the Perak Community Specialist Hospital (PCSH) back in 2018. I’m sure he had plenty of his beloved Ipoh Kai Si Hor Fun while he was there.
With the recent release of his first single, “Only Love”, he has also made his debut as a bonafide pop musical artiste.
Ipoh Echo recently got to have an interview with Corey, who is taking his first break in 7 years to spend some time with his family, before the next phase of his career is about to begin.
We spoke on a wide number of topics, from how he had to juggle between his music and schoolwork, as well as his love of history and research, including Malaysian history such as the decolonisation of Malaya and Indonesia. We also learned that he’s passed his grade 8 in Oboe and grade 5 in Saxophone and that he also plays electric guitar and the Gu Qin.
We spent quite some time talking about how he came from a family who loved music; where his father enjoyed classical music while his mother was into the pop music of the 70s and 80s. As a result, Corey has an eclectic taste in music. He enjoys not just classical music by the likes of Edward Elgar and Ralph Vaughan Williams, but even rock music like Guns N’ Roses, Queen and Aerosmith. Most surprising to me, he even enjoys the jazzy vocals of Edith Piaf and the “First Lady of Song” herself, Ella Fitzgerald.
But for someone who has always been associated as being a classical performer, “Only Love” is his first foray into the world of pop and he says that the pop style is amazing and that he’s learned a lot from it. The experience opened his eyes and he’s sure that he will continue to grow as he navigates the spectrum between classical and pop music.
It was an enjoyable interview with a very giving interviewee. For someone who has picked up so many skills and accomplished so much at only 20 years of age, Corey’s certainly not plagued with pride or arrogance. Instead, I found him to be pleasant, unassuming and courteous. Far from being arrogant, some might say he’s unduly humble.
Corey will release a Chinese song on May 9, which is written by Malaysians. A music video will follow on May 20.
For aspiring artistes looking for someone to represent them, Corey’s represented by Music & Movement (S) Pte Ltd.
Visit www.coreykohmusic.com to learn more on Corey.