Jean Tan’s latest single “Oak Cherry Wine” sees her continuing strong in a signature, bluesy vein, dropping on 24 July on all major digital streaming platforms via Leeway. This is Jean’s third and final single before the anticipated 5-song EP is released in fall 2020, produced and arranged by Singaporean R&B artist and multi-instrumentalist Dru Chen.
So is this just another love song? Definitely not. Though familiar themes of courtship and romance feature like they do in the previous singles, this is perhaps Jean’s most personal release to date. This is an ode to love, but a deeper kind – one that grows better with age, holds steady in both the valley and mountain moments. It is a lettre d’amour to the lover who decides to stay for better and worse, richer and poorer, in sickness and in health.
This is after all a song born out of Jean’s own story – her personal health struggles with kidney disease and the man who married her despite the uncertainty of a lifetime together. Perhaps it’s why it feels so powerful despite the simple instrumentation of keys and a couple of guitars. Everything is felt so keenly from the moment Jean whispers 1, 2, 3, 4 in your ear at the start to the soaring, dulcet tones of the chorus: I love you / and it’s funny how / I’ll need you and breathe you / Be with you every moment now…
Even in the simplicity of the arrangement, the listener is taken on a journey as the melodies of the two guitars dance around each other like two binary stars. Seventh chords. A walking, no, skipping bass line. An unexpected twinkling of the electric piano right at the end to bring it all home.
The song offers endless contrasts and complexity in so few elements that it’s hard not to be intrigued. It is sentimental, but fierce. Sweet but not saccharine. A glass of oak cherry wine, tilted to the lips – bittersweet, familiar, true.
About Jean Tan
Jean is a singer-songwriter based in Singapore. Her music is a blend of folk, indie, and vocal jazz.
Jean has performed at Singapore’s National Stadium and Gardens by the Bay for the Southeast Asian Games 2015, as well as events like the Singapore Night Festival, Esplanade’s All Things New, Come Together, and Foreword festivals, Riverside Flow, and Zandari Festa in Seoul, Korea. Her last EP ‘Hideaway’ (2017) was co-produced by Kevin Foo and et aliae, and features songs like ‘Crowns’, which surpassed 100,000 streaming plays within two months of release. Her songs ‘6.55pm’ and ‘Waiting for Love’ have also been featured in the Korean drama mini-series Barefoot Diva and Le Jour.
Jean often weaves her life challenges into her songs and uses her music for social good. She has performed at schools, teenage homes, community spaces, and for organisations such as Halogen Foundation, World Vision, Relief Singapore, Operation Smile, and Architects of Life. Many have been inspired by her life.