Even if you are a seasoned performer like Marcus Chin, memorising lyrics does not come naturally.
In celebration of the radio station’s 29th birthday, Love 972 will be staging a musical on Sept 29 and 30, with their DJs acting as their on-air personas.
When AsiaOne spoke to Marcus in August, the script was still in production and rehearsals were ongoing.
Marcus, 69, will be singing a total of nine songs, three of which are solo performances – Angela Chang’s Walking Through the Rain, Wilber Pan’s Pass Me the Mic, and A-mei and Chang Yu-sheng’s The Person I Love Hurts Me the Most.
He will also be singing a Hokkien song If You Dare, Come, in a group performance.
“Memorising lyrics is the hardest part for me, as [Walking Through the Rain and Pass Me the Mic] are new songs that I have not heard before this musical. Remembering lines from the script is not a problem,” he admitted.
The challenge is compounded by the fact that they have to learn the songs in about a month, during which he rehearses for four days a week until the performance day.
Titled 29 Zheng Jingcai (translated as Battling for Glory 29), the musical show will also star DJs Mark Lee, Dennis Chew, Chen Biyu, Violet Fenying and Bukoh Mary.
Written by director Jonathan Lim with ideas that were brainstormed by the DJs, the story centres around a mysterious hacker called Squid, who has infiltrated a Love 972 broadcast and challenges the DJs to present an extraordinary performance in the form of a team competition.
In the musical, Marcus is acting as a belittled member whom the other DJs do not allow to join the competition initially. As with all stories, there is a mysterious twist eventually.
‘We have broken past stereotypes by speaking Singaporean-style Mandarin’
Marcus also spoke at length about his thoughts on his show on Love 972, The Breakfast Quartet, which he co-hosts with Mark, Dennis and Biyu. The show won Best Radio Show at Star Awards 2023 for the third consecutive year.
When asked if there are any plans to make changes to the show, Marcus said confidently: “No, we get great views the way it is. We have the highest Facebook live numbers among all radio shows!”
He added that one of the keys to their success is that they have “broken past stereotypes by speaking Singaporean-style Mandarin that is mixed with English” and it is closer to how ordinary Singaporeans speak.
“If it’s too standard, then there is a greater distance between us and the listeners. It’s okay for us to have clear diction, but the tone cannot be that of mainland Chinese,” he clarified.
Marcus also added that they bear social responsibility towards their listeners, so they strive to be both educational and entertaining,
“We will share information about preventing scams, or tips to stay healthy, for example. We need a balance, 70 per cent educational content will be too much I feel.”
Marcus shared that they will not discuss topics that are more sensitive, like politics, religion or race.
“Take for example, the issue of Japan discarding radioactive water into the ocean – we will mainly report what is going on, but we won’t tell people to not eat Japanese food, they can decide for themselves,” he said.
He doesn’t feel bad about The Breakfast Quartet winning Best Radio Show three times in a row either.
Marcus said light-heartedly: “Honestly, maybe we want to win it too much. Our team is so strong as people like Mark Lee and Dennis Chew have great exposure on television and movies.
“Biyu is not an ambitious person, but she still won the Top 10 Most Popular Female Artiste award at Star Awards 2023. It’s rare for radio DJs to get the awards and it’s evidence that Love 972 has many listeners and great influence.
“I hope we can win for 10 years straight!” he concluded.
Star Awards’ Top 10 Most Popular Male and Female Artistes are dependent on votes from audiences and the artistes with the most number of votes each year will get the award.
29 Zheng Jingcai will open on Sept 29, 8pm at The Theatre at Mediacorp and will also run on Sept 30 at 3pm and 8pm. Tickets are now available on this website.
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