It’s a jackpot for Ginny Bloop and Theodora! They get to have a crack at arguably the most recognisable song on the list, You’re the Boy by Shirley Nair & The Silver Strings. Upon the big reveal, we hear gasps of “Ohhh”. They do a little celebratory high five...
It’s a jackpot for Ginny Bloop and Theodora! They get to have a crack at arguably the most recognisable song on the list, You’re the Boy by Shirley Nair & The Silver Strings. Upon the big reveal, we hear gasps of “Ohhh”. They do a little celebratory high five and immediately get down to business.
Making Different Sounds Work
With a moniker like Ginny Bloop, it should set some expectations on the music she makes. The funky songstress fronts not just one, but two bands – electronic pop outfit Riot! In Magenta and the groovy The Steve McQueens. Theodora, couldn’t be any more different. A solo artist and a singer songwriter, she is more used to acoustic guitars.
Despite their contrasting sounds, they click just right once they get going. The duo work in tandem, sparking ideas off of one another. Ginny suggests converting guitars into vocal harmonies, and Theodora lights up, building onto that idea. It’s a constant flow of motion.
As this free-flowing pair builds momentum, it’s clear that they won’t be reshaping the 60s classic by the constraints of any genre. “It [my sound] used to sit so well within a genre, but now I think it draws from a much wider range of inspiration and pulls a larger variety of elements into its sound,” Theodora muses.
“I think as I reimagine a classic, my sound will be stretched even more.”
Tinkering with Tech
One thing’s for sure, there will be synths. The pair are quick to break down the opportunities for reimagining with terms like “vocal production” and “reharmonising” thrown into the mix. It’s safe to say their laptops and digital production tricks will play a big part in the remake.
You’re the Boy is a sweet and simple love song that is very much entrenched in the 60s. From its iconic melody to simple lyrics, the song gives Theodora and Ginny quite a few elements to work with. The challenge however lies with updating the song while staying true to its spirit – retaining a “sixties vibe and the warmth of it while giving it a contemporary twist.”
Their enthusiasm of blending technology with music is clear from the get-go.
“It’s given birth to wide array of subgenres which would never have existed if not for the openness towards making technology a part of music making,” Ginny says.
The possibilities are endless, think, hip hop beats and electronic jazz. Unusual pairings much like Theodora and Ginny Bloop. Still, there is always the risk of taking it too far and losing the “warmth” of the original.
Writing About Jellyfish… and Beyonce
So, where does this eclectic pair find inspiration? The pair collects inspiration from everything and anything, it appears.
“I’ve recently been checking jellyfish out,” is not something you would expect to hear about a songwriting process, but that’s just part of Ginny’s masterplan.
“I enjoy collecting concepts and keeping them in my head while I read up on the [things] that I would love for a particular story.” For Ginny, there are no limits to creativity, be it a jellyfish or maybe even something a little more local, stingray perhaps?
Theodora too, is a collector of sorts, “I have a notebook that I think out loud in; all the possible lyrics, titles, and structures are scribbled and struck out.” She breaks down her songwriting process, “It normally starts with a phrase – either lyrical or melodic. I let that percolate and build on it over a period of time, usually a few days.”
“There’s a phrase in my upcoming single, ‘you had me move to the left,’” Theodora reveals, which of course references the iconic “to the left, to the left” in Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable”. She chuckles, “I quite like how I snuck that in.”
Will their version of You’re the Boy be Beyonce-fied? It doesn’t seem too far-fetched at this point. Maybe jellyfish will make an appearance too. Ginny isn’t at all worried and believes that their combined bag of ideas will have just the right elements needed.
Whatever come into play, be it a heavily produced electronic soundscape or a stripped down vocal-centric performance, we can definitely expect the eclectic duo’s reimagination to put a heavy emphasis on imagination.
“We dig that kind of dark,” says Ginny. “A bit dark but optimistic at the end.”
“Wistful” and “melancholic” isn’t what comes to mind when you listen to You’re the Boy by Shirley Nair and the Silver Strings. The song is 60s Singapore at its sweetest. However, the pair has taken up quite a different interpretation of the song.
“Our version of You’re the Boy is about finding the one and losing him,” says Theodora.
Room for Reimagination
“I think we both have the tendency to make songs very sad,” Theodora shares.
For the duo, You’re the Boy has a certain ambiguity that leads them to project parts of themselves into it. “The way the lyrics were written allows you to view love in so many different dimensions,” says Ginny.
Still, after soaking in so much of You’re the Boy, it was no easy task for them to detach themselves from the song. Some time was needed for the pair to “think about it with a fresh pair of ears and head space.”
But when they got down to it, it didn’t take long to find alignment. “Just hearing her [Theodora] sing and her interpretation of the words, we got onto the same page after a while,” says Ginny.
The Complementary Gap
Ginny and Theodora bring very different skills to the partnership.
Because of her wide range of musical exposure, Ginny is constantly pulling in influences from various sources and shaping how Theodora approaches the song. Theodora on the other hand brings a refreshing simplicity. “Theodora’s voice breathes life into words which really allowed us to strip the music down to the essentials, and build things from there,” says Ginny.
With both of them listening to and looking out for very different things, it’s safe to say that their partnership makes the best out of their differences. Ginny confesses, “There are things I might not have picked up if I didn’t hear her [Theodora] sing.”
While they appear to be just the right fit, there were doubts before the project took off. Theodora was concerned by the differences in their musical styles. “I was afraid that we might be so different and our gap might be so big.”
Yet a mix of apprehension and enthusiasm combined with contrasting strengths is perhaps just the right cocktail the two needed to get You’re the Boy where it is now.
Craft Comes First
“More people are starting to get excited about local music,” says Theodora.
It’s not just about listening to local music, but it seems like more people are making music as well and Ginny can testify to that. “The scene is great because we have a diverse number of genres and styles even though it’s really contained and small.”
Theodora nods along and says, “It’s a good time for us [musicians].”
And the hope is that this wide range of musical styles continue to influence and inspire others, expanding the scene even more. Ultimately, Ginny has her mind on sustainability. “Subsidies and grants are a great help, but the idea of being able to do that [music] entirely on your own without going broke. That’s where I’d love for us and myself to be at!”
Becoming a sustainable industry might take a while and involve many working parts. But for the pair, it all boils down to craft. While people are more open-minded to check out local music, they do it not because of the “local” label but because it is good music.
For Ginny and Theodora, the road ahead is clear. “We have to pursue our craft wholeheartedly with no hypocrisy.”