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Joanna Lim wrote the toughest song ever | Parallel Vortex

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Joanna Lim wrote the toughest song, the Parallel Vortex

Joanna Lim is no stranger to composing tough songs like Parallel Vortex! In fact, there is a reason why this amazing keyboardist is a friend to the god of keyboard Jordan Rudess. However, there are more than meets the eye. We are lucky enough to sit and chat with Singapore’s goddess of the keyboard.

Joanna Lim

Firstly congratulations again on your 2 babies! Firstly your very adorable son Denver and secondly your album Parallel Vortex! Can we confirm that you are the most hardworking Mother/Musician in Singapore?

Thank you for having me, Vinnie! I guess being a mom really unlocked strengths and abilities that I never knew I had. Haha 

Being a mother is serious work! What is the driving force behind writing your album while raising a baby?

I think being a mom is really the toughest job in the world (kudos to all moms out there!). Parallel Vortex was actually written before having a kid. I told a Chinese newspaper reporter that I wanted to write something for my late dad who passed on in 2008 due to cancer.  After much procrastination and agonizing years of writing and recording, I finally got it out of the system in 2020. I was recording till my third trimester because I knew I would not have time to do so with a kid around.

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I know you from your Zero Sequence days! Totally impressed by those forward-tilted keyboards with fast running note actions. That was a long time ago, what has changed for you?

Age. Haha. Playing with a keyboard tilted is not good for your wrists. As time goes by, my setup for gigs becomes smaller (lazier to carry more things!) and more efficient (thanks to technology!)
I do miss those days with the adrenaline rush from all those fast notes. Nowadays, I get my adrenaline from open jams with improvisations. I love those spontaneous moments and the chance to play with many different musicians.

You play the piano, keyboard, and saxophone in your songs. If you want to introduce yourself with one of your songs, which will it be and why?

This is a tough one because every track represents different stages of my life. If I were to pick one, perhaps the first track – Parallel Vortex? The song has a mix of everything. From heavy guitar riffs, double pedals, and synth to mid-tempo fusion solos and it has a symphonic ending.  Pretty much gives you the summary of the entire album.

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As a musician from Singapore, what do you have to say to budding musicians who have the aspiration to be like you?

Friendship and family first. Never sacrifice the above just to pursue your music career. Love people and the musicians, jobs, and inspiration will come to you. Be yourself. 

Do you have any juicy stories to share?

I don’t really have any juicy story to share. haha
However, do check out my husband’s albums too! Simon Yong’s second guitar instrumental album – The Nasty Catawumpus was also released in 2020. We wanted to release our albums at the same time. I guess the “healthy competition” between us pushes each other to write and record. Now we have each started writing for our next album (cannot lose out. haha)

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Vinnie Mah

Author Vinnie Mah

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