Goh Kheng Long: Music-maker for the stars


Staff member


Goh, 50, might work behind the scenes when it comes to producing, composing and arranging music, but he is also highly visible as the concert music director and keyboardist for the biggest names in Chinese pop, including Hong Kong's God of Songs Jacky Cheung and Taiwanese diva A-mei.

His love of music was evident early in his life. At four, he was "the clown destroying everything" as he banged on the furniture at home with a pair of chopsticks.

His 84-year-old father, then a businessman in the furniture industry, decided to channel his middle child's energy towards Electone organ lessons at Yamaha music school.

Goh's mother, 80, is a housewife. His elder brother, 54, was an accountant, now semi-retired, and his younger sister, 48, is a housewife.

When he was eight, Yamaha awarded him a scholarship that helped him through his music education for the next eight years. In that period, he learnt arrangement, composition and harmony from local and Japanese instructors.

Music was so much a part of his life that studies took a backseat.

There was one day in Secondary 2 when he went to school and wondered why everyone was studying. It turned out to be the start of the mid-year examinations.

Goh made it through Anglo-Chinese Junior College and wanted to start working in pubs after his A levels. And because his father had "freaked out" over his decision, he felt the need to prove himself as quickly as possible.

As his family could not afford to pay for a formal music education, life after national service consisted of teaching at Yamaha music school from noon to 7pm, gigging at a pub until about midnight and then holing up at a friend's place as a freelance music arranger to learn more about that aspect of the industry.

He would sleep for only four or five hours a day.

He was later roped in as keyboardist for local band Jive Talkin', which performed at Hard Rock Cafe after it opened in Singapore in 1990.

Read the full article at http://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/entertainment/music-maker-for-the-stars

Photo: Kevin Lim
Article: Boon Chan
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