Saturday, August 22, 2015

1970's Peter Chua: Best Singer Singapore Produced

With the focus on the 1960's these last few months because of the SG50 National Jubilee, readers of this blog have learnt a bit more about Singapore music and need a respite. So, for a change, we go into the 1970's and allow John Cher (drummer and contributing writer) to introduce yet another one of his music buddies.  

"In 1987 for the first time I decided to join a church group.  This was the Music Ministry of the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Quite strangely it was through this group that I really got to know Peter Chua Hung Yong.  Mr Talentime himself.
Peter attended the same school as I, (Montfort Primary and Secondary Schools) attended the same church and lived in the same kampong in U.S.A. Singapore. USA means, Upper Serangoon Area.

Peter first entered a talentime contest while in secondary school. He participated in the solo section.  He sang There Goes My Everything and not unexpectedly, he came in first.

Three years earlier I was in the school talentime, but in the band section.  My band came in second.    But then, there were only two bands!   For this particular contest my rhythm guitarist was a friend, Henry Tay.  

Henry had his own band and he had this fantastic guitarist. When I first saw him play, I was blown away. He was probably about 15 years old then.  The man was Rex Goh (image right).  Years later to be the lead guitarist of Air Supply!

Back to Peter Chua.    He first entered the TV Talentime series in 1976 and subsequently in 1978 and finally in 1980.   Almost immediately after the 1980 Show, he decided to join the Singapore Broadcasting Corporation (SBC) as a full time singer.   He remained with SBC for nearly ten years.  

Back in those days, with the exception of Tracy Huang, I think an artiste is well known either on Channel 5 or on Channel 8. But not on both.  In the case of Peter he was well known on both channels, meaning he is known to both the English and Chinese speaking audiences.  
At that time, around the mid-80's,  the local press had hailed him as arguably the best singer that Singapore had ever produced.  Johnny Young Productions had offered to engage him to do concerts in Taiwan and Hong Kong.  However Peter declined because he could not agree to some of the terms and conditions stipulated by JYP.

During his tenure with SBC, Peter represented Singapore for a number of international cultural and music events, notably, the ABU  (Asian Broadcasting Union) Event.  He was also selected by the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board (STPB) for a series of shoots in various exotic locations, ranging from Club Mauritius, The Maldives, New Zealand as well as the major popular attractions of West Malaysia.

After leaving SBC,  Peter became a CD producer.  He was engaged by record companies to produce albums. Though he did some pop recordings, he was mainly into producing gospel songs and church hymns. He also had his own band,  The Swinging Js and later Peter Chua and Frens.  With his band, Peter played a lot at private functions such as company D and D,  weddings, anniversaries and other gatherings.  

The Ponggol Marina was new in the 1990's and Peter sang on board The Columbus, which was owned by Ponggol Marina.  Lawyer William Lai, the boss of P.M. was a supportive and good friend.  Doing his bit for charity, Peter was an integral part of the Lions Club Changi Band. Together with Veronica Young, guitarist Tony Kwek, Joe Woon, Victor Lum and others, they did several charity gigs for various good causes!
Peter and his band were one of the first performers to do the Coffee Shows at the Esplanade. They had performed five times at the Recital Studio. These were tribute shows to John Denver, Engelbert Humperdinck, Tom Jones and other stars from the 1960's. Of course there was an 'Oldies" show.   I had the opportunity to play the drums on three of those shows.  

Some of your readers will recall that Peter appeared on the original Rollin' Good Times with Douglas Oliviero and Lauretta Alabons some years ago. His fans must have missed him for the recent RGT series which was aired in May this year. 

He still gets lots of invites to sing at both commercial and charity events.  He enjoys these functions as he gets an avenue to keep in touch with his passion for singing and music and to meet with old friends.   In October this year, Peter will be the guest singer for Jerry Fernandez at the Pek Kio Performance Hall.
              Peter Chua: Love Me With All Your Heart by elvinkangsuperstar
I wish that the producers at MediaCorp  will plan a music show featuring artists such as Peter Chua and others from his era. This would facilitate to record the works of our very own singers and musicians.  It is a matter of time before it is too late to ever do it!  And that would be another opportunity lost.

Good luck Peter Chua and all local musicians!  All of you have, in your own way, helped to place bricks in the construction of our local music industry.   It may not be the greatest thing to happen in fifty years.  But it is not always about being the greatest or the best.  It is about all the fun and joy we shared during our journey together.

The best is yet to come!"

Comment anyone?

Written by John Cher.
Images from You Tube, Google and a Personal Collection.
Copyrights Reserved.
Thanks again to John who has so obligingly contributed another post.


SK said...

No comments... just want to sincerely wish him all the best.

Wilfred L. said...

Must say John writes well.

Tony Tan said...

I only know you after you left the music scene to concentrate on your academic career.

ML said...

Was a sailor in the early 1970's and most of the time will be out of town.

LL said...

I remember him from Talentime 1980. The last time i saw him was at lunch hosted by a neighbour. He's a good balladeer...

Audie Ng said...

Talking about the 70's must be careful because singers like Ismail Haron Joe Chandran, Jerry Fernandez and Halil Chik, etc. So Peter is definitely one of them.

chakapchakap said...

Peter used to perform at Ubin Sea Food Centre on Thursdays and Fridays at Change Village. The audience was encouraged to join him on stage. He also performed at the Sultan Jazz (The Sultan, Jalan Sultan, opposite the Textile Centre) in July 2013. Heart warming and beautiful.

(Combined comments from You Tube.)


Peter Chua, recording artiste, band leader, vocal trainer, and one-time Singapore Talentime champion, does the hits of the golden yesteryear in his suave and charming style. Man with the golden voice.

(You Tube profile: March, 10th, 2011.)


Well written. Peter Chua was known as Singapore's Engelbert Humperdinck.

Jessica Koo said...

Peter Chua once my idol n always will ! Thank u for your guidance n singing tips !


Hillview alive with the sound of music (4)

Peter Chua used to live at the 3-storey block of flats just beside the community centre (blk 17). At PEE, he started a boy band called The Jumping Jades, comprising himself with the 3 D'Silva brothers, Alex, Richard and Kenny. However, the band broke up later as they had to focus on their school studies. (Richard D'Silva later went on to join the Pest Infested.)

Peter, now in his young 60's, formed another band called The Wrong Note. Even though Princess Elizabeth Estate is just a memory for us, Peter's band The Wrong Note is still performing today!

The members of the Wrong Note are:
Paul Shankar - bass guitarist, who once played for the Duke in the 60s. He is a retired Seniorr Teacher
Kelly Tan - rhythm guitar, who plays now and then with the band Locomotion.
John Cher - He used to play for a band in 60s as well (cant remember the band's name)
Alvin Tan - Keyboardist (He's a civil servant currently )

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Many thanks for the one-liners from your SMS's. Appreciate the time you all took to provide comments about the posting.

James Tann has a great posting about Peter on his blog. Jessica Koo, whoever you are, why don't you write in to explain how Peter Chua guided you in your singing. Would be interesting to know.

John Cher said...

Hi James. Thanks and appreciate your comments. However, I must point out that we are talking about a different Peter Chua. The subject of this article is from U.S.A., (Upper Serangoon Area) and not from Hillview. I should point out that the Peter you are referring to is a good friend as well. Cheers!

Jessica Koo said...

Hi all peter Chua's supporter ! The first time I met Peter was at my regular jamming studio with the ubians n peter will come join us w John ▪ always willing to share n guide us amatuer singers ! Looking forward to see u again at your upcoming concert at pei kio !

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

I guess it is my fault. I was browsing through James Tann's blog and thought it is the same Peter Chua so I decided to put it on Comment and connect the excerpts from his blog. Thanks for pointing it out John.

My work and absence in the early 1970's has taken me away from Singapore Music and the country itself. I apologise to John and readers for my ignorance.

But now we know there are two Peter Chuas and I'm sure both have made some impact on Singapore's music scene.

24.8.15 Delete

John Cher said...

Hi brother Andy. It is nobody's fault. Simply one of those things! Some weeks ago a good friend Joseph Woon asked if I was taking drum lessons from Jerry Tuck? I told him that I wasn't. Subsequently I met Henson (drummer for Vernon Cornelius, Matthew Tan etc) and he also asked the same question, whether I was taking drum lessons from Tuck. I told him that he was the second person to ask me the same question. Eventually the question was answered. There was another chap by the same name as me who was really taking lessons from Tuck!

So you see, even though Cher is a little less common than Chua, it still happened!