Hailed by TimeOut magazine as one of Singapore's "best loved entertainers", Alemay Fernandez is a rising star in the Asian jazz scene.
She has performed with the likes of The Count Basie Orchestra, David Foster, Bobby Soul (The Platters), William Close & The Earth Harp Collective, and opened for Laura Fygi & Incognito. In 2013, Alemay shared the lineup with Natalie Cole, Jamie Callum, & India Arie in the region's premiere jazz festival, Java Jazz, and has sung for A-listers like Kevin Spacey, Ethan Hawke, Joss Stone, Kurt Elling, Lea Salonga, Paloma Picasso, Serena Williams, as well as Presidents & Prime Ministers.
Alemay is known for her sultry tone, powerhouse vocals and an onstage presence that keeps the audience eating out of the palm of her hand. In 2012, The Esplanade Theatres on The Bay (Singapore) gave her the award for "Biggest Lungs" at their 10th anniversary award ceremony.
A stage veteran, she performed lead roles in the musicals "Ah Kong's Birthday Party" (1998/99), "Beauty World" (2008), and "Fried Rice Paradise" (2010). When she's not on stage, she helps shape the next generation of Singaporean musicians teaching vocal and performance technique at Singapore's LaSalle College of the Arts.
"Hard to Imagine" comprises 10 jazz tracks with a touch of soul, gospel and blues and is Alemay's first foray into writing, arranging and producing. It features nine original tracks - with six of them written by Alemay - in collaboration with her co-producer, musician and songwriter Shawn Letts, bassist William Gathright, and pianist, organist, & arranger Kerong Chok. Other originals on the album were written by Sara Wee and Alemay's sister, Sabina. The album was mixed by Grammy-nominated producer, Michael C. Ross, and mastered at the famed Bernie Grundman studio in Los Angeles.
The album features a total of 20 musicians, including Drummers Erik Hargrove (who toured with James Brown and Bootsy Collins) and Pablo Calzado (who performed with Buena Vista Social Club); Bassist William Gathright (who studied with Ron Carter); and Organist Oliver von Essen (who recorded with Shirley Horn).
Alemay Fernandez said that "Hard to Imagine" was inspired by a series of life-changing events. “It is hard to imagine how much my life has changed in the last five years", she remarks from her home in Singapore. "I am thankful for all the ups and downs. While my father’s passing was a turning point, I put all the life lessons he taught me into my music. Together with my life-partner, Richard [Jackson]'s encouragement, this led to the discovery that I could touch people with my songs. From the melody down to the lyrics, music has the ability to heal and help us walk through what life throws at us.”
The "Hard To Imagine" CD release concert was held on July 9th, 2016 at the Esplanade Recital Studio in Singapore, and featured a stellar eight-piece band - including Kerong Chok (piano/organ), Munir Alsagoff (guitar), Pablo Calzado (drums) Ben Poh and Will Gathright (Bass) and a three- piece horn section. Guest performers include Richard Jackson, Michaela Therese and Alemay's cousin, Vanessa Fernandez.
- Jazz & Blues