Pinoy Rocks

Not quite pop, not quite New Age

It's Corinne May, a Singapore-bred now L.A.-based singer-songwriter, who just released her new album, "Crooked Lines."

You could call her inspirational.

"A beautiful life is in living every moment like it could be our last," she sings in the carrier single, "Beautiful Life." In the title track, she reinterprets an ancient Portuguese proverb that says, "God writes straight with crooked lines."

"Life is never a journey that goes in a straight line. It's the detours in our lives that mold us. It's only in looking back that we can truly appreciate why certain things had to happen in our lives," she tells Yahoo! Philippines OMG! in a phone interview.

A little Sarah MacLachlan

In spots, Corrinne sings like Sarah MacLachlan minus the operatic Gothic streak. In others, a bit of Joni Mitchell's lilt shows up. The underlying sentiment comes through as new age-y but when it breaks down to the details of loving the little ones, the neglected and the ones left behind, her music attempts at a cure for pain and sorrow.

Corrinne sings without the desperation usually associated with references to life's unpredictability. Unlike the elegiac tone of her 2001 debut "Far Away," the new album finds a silver lining in the stickiest situation.

"For instance, 'Walk Away' (on her debut) dwelled on my aunt who was in a bad relationship. I also had to deal with long distance relationship being away from Singapore," she said.

Christian music

Corinne left Singapore after graduating from high school to study in Berklee in Boston. When she went to L.A., she produced her own album to help her get gigs. Later, after college, she became active in Christian music ministry.

Still, when she wrote a song titled "Five Loaves and Two Fishes," Corrinne had second thoughts about including the song on the album. She wasn't sure the allusion to the Christian parable would be right. She chose to play it first to her circle of friends who liked the song and encouraged her to go with her gut and put the song on the record.

On her third album, a few people had begun to peg her as a Christian music artist. "I grew up Catholic and my faith has been very important to me," she said. "I think it's a blessing that when I share a little bit more of what inspires me, other people find joy in that as well. That gives me joy too as a songwriter because I feel like I've been able to bring to others some of the joy that I feel through my music."

More upbeat

She discloses that the more upbeat feel of her recent album, "Crooked Lines", comes from her taking up the guitar again. The piano remains her main instrument and the guitar inspires her to write different type of song.

"In my last concert which in Singapore, I shifted between the guitar and piano. It's nice because on the piano I can go for sentimental ballads. I pick up the guitar and I can come closer to the audience."

In the future, she hopes to incorporate more classical arrangements in her songs. "I always think it would be nice to write music for an orchestra. That would be the epitome of my music artistry. If I can do that one day, I would be very happy."

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