Music for self-isolation? A capella group slays Jay Chou cover while quarantined

Music Dynasty singers harmonize to a song by Taiwanese singer Jay Chou. Image: Music Dynasty/Facebook
Music Dynasty singers harmonize to a song by Taiwanese singer Jay Chou. Image: Music Dynasty/Facebook

All entertainment venues including karaoke outlets and open mic bars may have closed in Singapore due to COVID-19, with Singaporeans this week expected to stay at home more often than usual as part of stricter safe distancing measures. But that doesn’t mean the music – and good company – needs to stop. 

A group of talented a capella singers from Johns Hopkins University in the United States last week showed the internet how that can be done through video conferencing and good ol’ Jay Chou tunes. The most interesting thing was, there were no audio lags. 

The roughly one-minute clip by the Music Dynasty group singing the Taiwanese singer’s 2007 hit 青花瓷 (Qing Hua Ci) was posted to the group’s official Facebook page as well as the popular Subtle Asian Traits group, which has more than a million members from around the world including Singapore. 

“Quarantine can’t stop us from jamming to some Jay Chou,” the video caption read. It was posted by the soprano of the group, Annie Lien. Johns Hopkins students have been studying from home since March 19, when the university announced the suspension of all in-person classes until the end of the spring 2020 semester in June.

All soprano, alto, bass, tenor, and baritone singers had the entire singing session recorded using the popular video conferencing software Zoom. The clip has since been viewed more than 100,000 times, garnered more than 22,000 comments, and over 50,000 Facebook reactions.

Viewers left mainly positive comments and words of encouragement. 

Facebook user Rachel Ambrose, for example, even requested for the group to cover more Asian songs.

“Love you guyss!! Request for more [A]sian songs please! Y’all the first group I’ve seen doing them. And full versions too?!?! Highkey will want to listen to y’all on [S]potify,” she wrote. 

The group’s harmonizing skills also impressed Facebook user Gnok Gnoix, who had expressed hopes to learn how to sing just like them. 

“You guys are simply amazing! [I don’t know] how to harmonize and I would love to learn, but keep posting more songs!!! You all have beautiful voice and the synchronization is amazing!” he said. 

Others like Tina Le and Faith Chen were just in awe at how good the internet connection and sound quality were. 

“[T]heir internet connection must be top notch! No lagging or buffering,” Le said. 

“How is the sound quality so good compared to when we use this?” Chen said. 

The 41-year-old Mandopop star behind the song is no stranger to Singaporeans and has held several sold-out concerts here. 

The song 青花瓷 (Qing Hua Ci), which means Blue and White Porcelain, was released in 2007 as part of his eighth studio album. Other songs popular among Singaporeans include 安静 (An Jing), or Silence, and 說好不哭 (Shou Hao Bu Ku) or Won’t Cry.

Music Dynasty was formed as part of the university’s efforts to diversify its art scene amid a growing number of Chinese students, according to the institution’s website. Located in Baltimore, Maryland, the 13-member group is also the university’s first and only Chinese a cappella group.

With the pandemic weighing us down emotionally, it is nice to see groups like Music Dynasty attempting to lift people’s spirits. 

The coronavirus has infected more than a million people around the world, including 337,274 in the United States as of this morning. 

In Singapore, total confirmed cases rose to 1,309 last night after 120 new infections were reported, a bulk of which were linked to migrant worker dormitories. Six people have died in Singapore, with the latest death reported on Saturday. 

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