12 Malaysian Musicians You Didn't Know Played For World-Famous Artists
1. Raz Azraai has played with several sought-after session musicians such as Rafael Moreira (guitarist for Pink and Christina Aguilera) and Andreas Brobjer (drummer for Lady Gaga)
Currently based in Los Angeles, guitarist and songwriter Raz Azraai started performing at the tender age of 10 and even went on to graduate from the prestigious Musicians Institute LA. His time in LA has also found him playing at some major venues in the city like the House of Blues in Sunset Boulevard, Viper Room, Whisky A Go Go as well as El Corazon in Seattle.
Raz has performed with session guitarist Rafael Moreira (who plays for P!nk, Christina Aguilera, The Voice and American Idol), Swiss Disney artist Manou Oeschger, and Andreas Brobjer, the drummer for Lady Gaga. He has also played alongside LA-based band Art of Shock, who were featured at the 2013 Warped Tour.
2. John Ashley Thomas, son of legendary guitarist Jose Thomas, has performed alongside Cantopop king Jacky Cheung, Taiwanese pop veterans Lo Ta-yu and Jonathan Lee, pop idol David Tao, and even went on tour with rock diva A-Mei
One of Malaysia's most in-demand drummers right now, John Ashley Thomas - son of guitarist Jose Thomas - started drumming at the age of 3 and turned professional by the time he was 15, playing a diverse range of genres from jazz and funk to pop and rock.
John has performed with several internationally acclaimed artists, including Taiwanese rock diva A-Mei (all the way to Los Angeles), Jacky Cheung, David Tao, Lo Ta-yu, Jonathan Lee, Yen-J, Hins Cheung, Soler, as well as world-renowned flautist Nestor Torres. He is also currently on tour with Fish Leong.
Keep up with John Ashley Thomas on Facebook. Watch him in action here:
3. Daniel Veerapen, son of veteran jazz pianist Michael Veerapen as well as a pianist, producer, and composer in his own right, has performed with Singapore's 'King of Swing' Jeremy Monteiro and jazz guitarist Randy Bernsen
As a jazz pianist, Daniel has performed with several international and local artists including Jeremy Monteiro, Jose Thomas, Denise Mininfield, Randy Bernsen, Greg Louis, and many others.
From album production and mash-up arrangements to orchestration work and film scoring, Daniel's work draws influence from a diverse range of genres including electro, house, drum and bass, EDM, nu jazz, jazz, funk, and R&B. He has worked with some of the biggest names in the Malaysian music industry such as Joanne Yeoh and Noryn Aziz, whose second album earned him an AIM nomination for 'Best Producer' when he was only 19.
Keep up with the up-and-coming music producer on Facebook and Instagram. He also posts videos on YouTube, including mash-ups of his own arrangements like this:
4. Arthur Kam, a record-breaking drum prodigy who has performed for Jacky Cheung, Korean-American rapper Jay Park, and many other international musicians
Listed in the Malaysia Book of Records as the 'Youngest Person to Complete a Professional Drum Course', Arthur began his drumming career at the tender age of 6, and has gone on to study contemporary writing and production in Berklee College of Music in Boston, US.
Arthur has performed with a number of international artists including Jacky Cheung, Japanese jazz singer Keiko Lee, saxophonist Sadao Watanabe, Harvey Malaiholo, Jericho Rosales, Fong Fei Fei, and Filipino contemporary jazz legend Boy Katindig. He has also played for Korean-American singer/rapper Jay Park and most recently, in Jacky Cheung's 'Private Concert' in Hong Kong and Singapore.
5. Genervie Kam, Arthur's elder sister, became the youngest touring member in Jacky Cheung's 'Music Odyssey World Tour' and also performed with contemporary pianist Maksim, singer Stefanie Sun, and many others
Genervie played the keyboard and violin in Jacky Cheung's 'Music Odyssey World Tour' in 2002, covering shows in over 50 cities for a year. She also performed for Cheung's shows in Malaysia and Singapore during his 'The Year of Jacky Cheung World Tour 2007'.
Genervie has also performed alongside international artists such as Croatian pianist Maksim, Indonesia's Harvey Malaiholo, Filipino actor Jericho Rosales, Taiwanese singer Fong Fei Fei, as well as Singaporean singer/songwriter Stefanie Sun for her Asian tour between 2004 and 2006 and a short tour in Beijing 2010. She has also performed with local artistes such as Ning Baizura, Datuk Siti Nurhaliza, Mawi, Vince, Jaclyn Victor, Z Chen, and Nicholas Teo.
Besides performing, Genervie is also a music director and arranger, having done so for Ning Baizura, Vince Chong, Anuar Zain, Ruffedge, and Siti Nurhaliza as well as having directed the opening gambit of Astro's Classic Golden Melody 2006 and 2007 Finals. Genervie also servd as Vocal and Music instructor in Season 6 of reality show 'Akademi Fantasia'.
Catch up with Genervie on Facebook, and watch her in action alongside Malaysian beatboxer Shawn Lee here:
6. Dr. Joanne Yeoh participated in Jacky Cheung's 'Music Odyssey Tour' as a solo violinist as well as David Tao's 'Soul Power Tour' and Alan Tam's 'Live in Genting' concert
Yeoh may have been classically-trained at playing the violin since she was 8, but her repertoire includes contemporary settings like pop, dance, and rap.
In 2002 and 2003, Yeoh served as the solo violinist in Jacky Cheung's 'Music Odyssey Tour', which saw her playing at the front of the stage next the superstar himself in shows all over the world, including Hong Kong, Malaysia, Japan, Australia, US, UK, and Canada. She also took part in Taiwanese pop star David Tao's 'Soul Power Tour' in 2003 and Cantopop veteran Alan Tam's Genting concert in 2008.
Currently a lecturer at the Music Department of Universiti Putra Malaysia, Yeoh has also released 2 albums - 'Pulse of the Metropolis' (2005) and 'After Dreams' (2013).
See what else she's been up to on her website. Also, watch her in action at Jacky Cheung's show here:
7. Roger Wang, acclaimed fingerstyle guitarist whose original composition was featured in Jacky Cheung's jazz album 'Private Corner' and even played the guitar for a recording of that particular song in the album
Besides being an award-winning composer, Sabah-born Roger Wong - better known by his stage name Roger Wang - is also a prolific acoustic guitarist who is known for his fingerstyle technique.
In 2010, one of Cantopop's 'Four Heavenly Kings' Jacky Cheung recorded one of Wang's songs - 'Love Scale' - in Cantonese to be featured in his jazz album, 'Private Corner'. Wang was also asked to play guitar on the track, alongside Simon Lau on bass, Lewis Pragasam on drums and Steve Thornton on percussion.
A sound engineer by training, Wang is also a producer who runs his recording studio in Sabah. And as if working full-time in the studio isn’t enough, Wang also composes songs, performs at gigs and concerts, teaches music technology, organises music festivals and concerts, AND produces and arranges his own albums.rogerwang.net
8. Julian Chan, saxophonist and flutist, has played for Dutch jazz diva Laura Fygi, jazz musicians Jeremy Monteiro and Anthony Strong, as well as Taiwanese singer/songwriters Jeff Chang and Jonathan Lee
Currently based in Kuala Lumpur, Julian Chan graduated with a Masters degree in Jazz Performance from Queens College in NYC, where he studied with jazz greats Antonio Hart, Michael Mossman, (the late) Prof. Emeritus Howard Brofsky and David Berkman.
In the course of his career, Chan has performed for international artists including Laura Fygi, Jonathan Lee, Jeff Chang, Anthony Strong, Peter Grant, Singapore's Jeremy Monteiro and Alemay Fernandez, as well as local musicians such as Greg Lyons, Thomas Theseira, David Gomes, Michael Veerapen, Jose Thomas, and many others.
9. Mac Chew, a long-time collaboration partner of Taiwanese record producer Jonathan Lee, has worked with Eason Chan, Sandy Lam, and Karen Mok, amongst others. He also composed the film score for Jackie Chan's 1992 film 'Police Story 3: Super Cop'.
A prominent figure in the Taiwanese and HK music industry, Mac Chew has produced the albums of pop stars such as Eason Chan, Sandy Lam, Karen Mok, Aska Yang, and Japanese-American jazz singer Monday Michiru.
Mac Chew was also a part of Sheila Majid's iconic 'Lagenda' album, working alongside the jazz diva as well as Roslan Aziz and Jenny Chin. The roster of local artists Chew has worked with also includes Nicholas Teo, Fish Leong, Anuar Zain, Jamal Abdillah, Francissca Peter, Ella, Zainal Abidin, Dayang Nurfaizah, and Fauziah Latif.
10. Gary Gideon has provided the backbeat and/or toured with soft rock duo Air Supply, A-Mei, Jacky Cheung, Taiwanese rock duo Power Station, and even recorded the drum tracks for Cantopop veteran George Lam
A former child star, Gary Gideon illustrious drumming career has seen him share the stage with the likes of Air Supply in several of their Asian shows, as well as having performed with Taiwanese and Hong Kong pop stars such as Jacky Cheung, A-Mei, Power Station, and Rene Liu. He has also recorded drum tracks for film scores and HK pop veteran George Lam in 2013.
Watch him stand-in as Air Supply's drummer in their 2013 Malaysian show:
11. Lewis Pragasam has toured, performed, and/or recorded with Grammy-winning saxophonist Ernie Watts, jazz and R&B singer Randy Crawford, shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute) player John Kaizan Neptune, and many other jazz artists
Hailed as one of Asia's leading percussionists and an innovator of new trends in world music, Lewis Pragasam has toured, performed, and/or recorded with internationally-acclaimed artists such as Paul Jackson, Tony Levin, Billy Cobham, Jeff Berlin, Ernie Watts, Andy Sheppard, Randy Bernsen, David Mann, Anthony Curits, Randy Crawford, John ‘Kaizan’ Neptune, Bob James, Ottmar Liebert, and Torninho Horta, amongst others. Lewis has also performed at major festivals around the world, including a Royal Command Performance for HRH The Prince of Wales, Prince Charles (Prince Trust Concert) in Edinburgh.
The founder of Asiabeat has also produced and organised numerous percussion festivals all over Southeast Asia working with various percussion exponents and groups including Steve Thornton, Yaya Diallo, Pete Lockett, Shanxi Drummers, ‘Parry Pan’s’ Steel Drum Orhestra, ‘Tokyo Dagaki’ Taiko ensemble, Guru Karakkudi R. Mani, ‘Guardians of the Flame’ Mardi Gras Indians, ‘Tepak Rampak’ Drum Ensemble of Indonesia, Drum Drum & the Siale Dancers and many other percussion ensembles from Southeast Asia.
To add, Lewis actually has a documentary short where he shares how he developed his unique sound from the cultural influences around him. Watch it here:
12. Andy Peterson is one of Asia's best bassists who has played in major venues overseas and performed alongside music greats like Robert Palmer and Randy Crawford as well as several HK and Taiwanese superstars
A familiar face in Malaysia's pop, jazz, and fusion circles, self-taught bassist Andy Peterson started out with local band The Falcons in 1976, who actually toured extensively in Europe, and even joined up with the Lewis Pragasam-helmed Asiabeat.
Besides playing in big concert venues like the Royal Albert Hall and London's Wembley Auditorium, Peterson has also performed alongside A-list musicians such as Randy Crawford, Robert Palmer, David Tao, Wang Lee Hom, Jacky Cheung, and A-Mei, as well as local artists including Datuk Siti Nurhaliza and Jaclyn Victor, amongst many others.
In 2011, Peterson released his debut album titled 'Anusha' (the name of his daughter) under the moniker Andy Peterson Independent (A.P.I.); a fusion effort featuring keyboardist Aubrey Suwito, percussionist Steve Thornton, saxophonist Greg Lyons and drummer John Thomas, the son of Jose Thomas, singer Elvira Arul and others.
Watch him in action here:
Homegrown band Paperplane Pursuit really did the words "Malaysia Boleh!" justice when they entered the US Billboard Chart and stayed on for several weeks after: