Over 10 years have passed, since Ng Chee Yang 黄智阳 was crowned champion in the first season of Campus Superstar. While the runner-up Teresa Tseng 曾詠霖 (now 曾詠熙) has had successful runs on singing contests in China and Taiwan, Chee Yang has mostly flew under the radar in the region while studying in the Berklee College of Music. What a surprise, then, to see his name emerge in the credits as co-singer and composer of subtheme song 那一刻 in the Mediacorp end-of-year drama 知星人!
The Apex Project 《那一刻》 <知星人 My Friends From Afar>
Chee Yang begins the duet, but I didn’t recognize his voice because it is in lower registers than heard in his Campus Superstar days. In the short one-minute version on TV, the girl Jean Goh 吴思佳’s voice is much more discernible. Jean could have sung this ballad alone; her voice packs enough emotion.
Yet it would also be predictable.
The Apex of the Song
Chee Yang lent variety to this song by jumping registers. The chorus begins with Jean singing these lyrics. I was unsure initially, because he was back at chest voice right after, but the final 4 words here were sung by Chee Yang at falsetto.
Yet he used his alluring falsetto only sparingly; in the final chorus, he powered through the high notes with head voice. This creates an affective progression, with the earlier tentativeness culminating in an intense release.
I felt at first that the song was set up to spotlight Jean’s voice. Chee Yang does indeed do more of harmonizing. Yet the more I listened, the more I was attracted to the latter’s vocal application.
His range helped to construct a much more potent storyline.
This may only be The Apex Project‘s second original available on YouTube, but certainly worth multiple listens. The lyrics speak to “waiting for someone who is never there.” It’s a common theme in love songs, but there is added meaning in the context of the human-alien bonds in the drama 知星人. I shall end with the second verse, which I found rather well-written: