Love for pop classics binds ‘Chinito Crooners’’ unlikely tandem
Aside from the fact that they have the same first name and are both of Chinese descent, Richard Poon and Richard Yap make for a rather unexpected pairing for a music concert: One is a recording artist focusing on jazz and standards; the other, an unlikely matinee idol in his 40s.
Even they thought it was odd at first.
“He (Yap) probably thinks, ‘I’m an actor. What am I doing here?’ On the other hand, I think, ‘What am I doing singing with a heartthrob? It’s a good kind of weird,” Poon said at a recent press conference for their coming concert, “Richard x Richard: The Chinito Crooners.”
But ultimately, they said that, music-wise, it’s their love for pop classics that bind them. “Many songs back then had meaningful lyrics. We want to put a modern twist to them for younger listeners,” said Yap, who performed “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” with Poon, also at the event.
While Yap—a member of a glee club in high school and a band in college—can carry a decent tune, has an album, and has performed in mall shows, the actor has nowhere near the experience of Poon, who’s a tested performer, both as a solo singer and band musician (with U-Turn).
That’s why Yap is grateful that Poon has been supportive of him in this endeavor. “I’ve been offered to do concerts in the past, but I didn’t want to do it alone,” Yap, 49, related. “I remember being in a gig with him when I was just starting in show biz, about five years ago. I asked him what he does before going onstage. He sent me [a module] on vocal exercises.”
“From then on,” Yap added, “I knew that he’s a good soul.”
Their concert, which will be held on Aug. 26 at The Theatre at Solaire (call 8919999), will present a set list dominated by “oldies”—Sinatra and other 1950s tunes from Poon; 1980s and early 1990s hits from Yap. “We chose most of the songs. We have solo spots, as well as duets and medleys,” said Yap.
“It’s always nice to do new collaborations,” pointed out Poon, 42, who revealed that he and Poon are also planning to come up with a record that would have a similar concept. He added that there will be small doses of choreography in the show, much to the entertainment press’ amusement.
“Just cute, little dance moves, though!” he quipped.
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