Sunday, November 20, 2011

From Records To Night Spots: Irene Yap Part II

When Irene Yap decided to turn professional, a singing contract during her school holiday in 1971 took her to Genting Highlands, Malaysia, where she performed and was accompanied on stage by The Commandos from Indonesia.
This new life lasted for 15 years and included stage appearances with Rahim Hamid (Singapore's Nat King Cole) and The Pebbles, Sonny Bala and The Moonglows and many other top pop Singapore bands.

She entertained at a string of hotels all over Singapore from about 1972 to 1980 including the Apollo at Ion Bar in Kings at and the Ambassador in the East Coast. Her nightclub stints included the El Amigo, Lido Deluxe (image 2), the Cappuccino at Plaza Singapura and other popular spots.

A journalist from an English newspaper remarked in an article that Irene "has a voice that is light, almost ethereal." With a voice so heavenly like the songbird herself, it was not a wonder that she had encore performances at the clubs that she was in. Irene remembers that in a particular nightspot "management kept asking me to come back..." She did and remained a resident singer for almost five years. And that told a lot about her!

There were moments in her youthful career that Irene sung duet with guitarist and keyboardist Edmund Tan. They entertained audiences with hits like Jackson, Love Me With All Your Heart, He'll Have To Go. Her nightly club acts widened her repertoire and she sang in other languages too.

Irene added, "The regulations in the nightspots were very strict. Being underaged I had to apply for a licence to perform. We were not allowed to patronise customers and had to wear decent costumes."

But it was a varied, colourful and successful life's journey for this songbird. From the first vinyl record contract offered, where the Charles Lazaroo Orchestra accompanied her in Pretty Ribbons and where she went through "hard gruelling sessions of recordings", up to the time that she retired to get married, she never regretted a moment.

Irene moved to the US for a short while, living in two major cities. She had been a housewife since except for a comeback at two nightclubs in 1995. During her very early years, one newspaper headlined her as the "pint-sized veteran of show business".

Today this true veteran reminisced, "When you start singing at such a tender age, you never think about anything else. Singing becomes your life and doing something you love. No regrets except that it had taken some of my childhood."

Irene's story reveals her positive attitude towards a life and career that she chose to take. It is a musical journey spanning quite some years but she has made it a successful one. Thank you, Irene, for sharing your past moments with me. I appreciate it very much.

Images from Irene Yap Collection: 1) Nightclub poster. 2) Chinese New Year songs with two other singers. The three of them did a Chinese Variety Show appearance and also recorded children's songs.

Original article: Andy Lim. All copyrights reserved.


Irene Yap said...

From Irene Yap:

Friends pls read Part 2 . All I did was sent Andy some newspaper interviews cut-outs n some pics of my old records and now he came out with Part 2.

Thanks so much Andy, it was oooh la la... reading them bringing back memories...Great ones..:)))

Andy Young* said...

You are welcome Irene. Glad you shared your memories with everyone on this posting.

That's what blogs are for.

Anonymous said...

Irene Yap:

Oh! The feedback I got from people close to me say you have done a great job. They love what you do.

We can tell that it is your passion that makes it so fantastic and because you were a part of the scene and knowing the era makes very interesting read.

Andy Young* said...

Thank you Irene for the compliment. Appreciate.

irene said...

A good friend of mine just called me from Boston, he was surprised to read about my singing past. Happy surprised and happy talk.....:)))

Andy Young* said...

I love your frank and sincere attitude Irene.

I think these factors contributed to your success as a singer in a period and place that could be fraught with negative vibes and concerns.

As a young girl you have managed to overcome them.

It is good that you have friends who are very supportive.

Thimbuktu said...

Hi Andy, thank you to feature Irene Yap on your blog.

More of these blogs for readers to find out more of the singers in the 1960s. "The singers not the songs" for their fond nostalgic memories for their fans and friends.

Mary Ho said...

Hi Andy,

Thank you again for the postings; Irene Yap so young and talented. So wonderful.:)

Yes keep in touch...


Andy Young* said...

Thanks James for the comment. Yes, it's the singer not the song. I agree. Very appropriate expression from the English Language.

Andy Young* said...

Thanks Mary. You must know her from her postings on Facebook too.

Irene is one of those particularly successful singers who turned professional at such a young age.

FACEBOOK said...

Thank You For liking post

Athena Bagani
Linda Tan
Randy Lee Keng
Thomas Gwee
David Chen
Charlie Yap Locomotion
John Cher
Irene Yap
Chen Hui Si
Ann Rowena Lim

IRENE YAP said...

Thank you, Andy. This is so kind and wonderful of you. You are a dear friend!

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

This post has just been revived and the tremendous support her friends and fans have for Irene was overpowering.

You should come back on stage for a long encore.