Monday, September 3, 2012

Artist Spotlight: Dear Jane


Dear Jane is a Hong Kong band formed back in 2003 that is known for their signature pop punk/rock sound.  The band's name "Dear Jane" references a Dear John letter, and signifies how their songs are from a male's point of view. They released their debut record "100" in 2006 under See Music Ltd, whose name originates from how they played 100 shows prior to releasing the album.  After contract disputes with See Music Ltd, the band was signed to Music Nation in 2009 and released their album "XOXO", which scored their first #1 hit "Do Not Speak".  In 2011, Dear Jane was signed by WarnerHK, one of the top music labels in Hong Kong.  They released their "Gamma" EP the same year.  Since then, they have increased in popularity and recognition, becoming one of the bands in Hong Kong's small but steady "band movement".  Their latest EP "Yellow Fever" is now out!

A little more about the members...

The original line up of Dear Jane was Tim Wong as the vocalist, Adam Diaz as the guitarist, Howie Yung as the bassist, and Jackal Ng as the drummer.  Following the departure of Adam, the line up changed and Howie became the guitarist while Jackal the bassist.  Nice Lai later joined the band as the drummer.

Tim Wong - Lead Vocalist Tim was born in Hong Kong on May 6, 1981 and raised in the US.  He studied music at the University of Hawaii.  He previously worked as a model, and had joined TVB in 2003.  He has appeared in several Cantopop music videos as well as TVB series.  His full English name is Timothy Christopher Wong.

Howie Yung - Guitarist Howie was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, and majored in economics in university.  He is well versed in writing, composing, arranging, producing, and recording, making him a truly well rounded and talented musician.  Howie writes and composes a majority of the band's songs.

Jackal Ng - Bassist Jackal was born and raised in Hong Kong.  He graduated from University of Hong Kong's School of Design.  He is very skilled at playing the drums.

Nice Lai - Drummer Nice was born and raised in Hong Kong.  He joined Dear Jane as their new drummer shortly after the band signed to Warner.

Artist Critique
There are many great bands in Hong Kong right now, but Dear Jane is my favorite by far.  Their music is catchy yet of quality and substance.  Although I have limited knowledge of Cantonese, I feel like their music is so personal and powerful, whether they're performing an upbeat punk rock song or a soft rock ballad.  There's energy, meaning, passion, and honesty in their music.  I love their pop punk rock musical style, and how they experiment without straying from their signature sound.  Tim's voice has a nice tone, being neither too high or deep.  He has power as well as control in his voice, and transitions from upbeat or hard rock songs to ballads with ease.  The band is a lot of fun to see perform live, as they all have a lot of energy and passion.

What makes me love Dear Jane even more though, is that they all seem like such great guys and very approachable.  They genuinely love what they do, and are so talented, friendly, sweet, and modest.  They frequently update their official Facebook page and constantly keep in communication with fans, even taking the time to reply and thank particular fans once in a while.  Earlier, I had posted the link to my "Goodbye" song review on their page, and they had "liked" the post and personally thanked me.  Also, they just seem like such fun guys to be around!  I love seeing the members joke around and practice in videos.  Tim seems like he has a great sense of humor and can be so silly sometimes.  Also, I have so much respect for Howie.  All the guys are highly involved in Dear Jane and their music, but he is such an insanely talented musician who does so much.  At times, the concentration Howie can have in his music is even laughably endearing.

Dear Jane Song Essentials

"別說話/Do Not Speak"
Their first big hit, "Do Not Speak" went to #1 on several radio stations.  It is a beautiful song with a catchy yet lovely melody.  Howie had originally written the lyrics of the song after a messy break up with his girlfriend.  The lyrics had initially just sat around, but Jackal had played a drum beat Howie liked, and within 30 minutes, the band had composed and arranged a hit.  "Do Not Speak" is a honest and meaningful light rock song about how people should have a silent break up so they can keep the beautiful memories of what a couple once had instead of fighting and causing further pain.

"放大假/Long Vacation"

From their debut album "100", "Long Vacation" is a song everyone can relate to about wanting to take a long vacation from work.  The musical style of the song shows a strong punk influence, which I really like.  It carries a whimsical feel too.  I especially like the second verse where Tim pretends to call in sick to work.  It's a simple, short, fun, and catchy song a lot of people can relate to.

"空中小姐/Air Hostess"
A fun and upbeat song that also has quite the whimsical feel.  The MV is very cute and they look like they're having a lot of fun.  Tim's little "dance moves" are so cute and funny, as are everyone's facial expressions!  Known to be more of rockers, it's endearing to see them in such a goofy yet adorable fashion.

"戰狼三國/Wolf of Three Kingdoms"

One of their heavier rock and punk influenced songs.  I love blasting this song loud and rocking out.  The band sounds wicked here, I love how the electric guitar, bass, and drums come together here.  The chorus sounds very powerful.

"Rising Star"

This song served as the theme song for the Hong Kong Jockey Club in 2011.  The song is one of my favorites because it's such an inspiring, uplifting, and empowering song. I like the simplicity of the alternate MV, with the band performing in an empty room and shots of the members running with a Dear Jane flag.

"慣/Used To"

Although known for their pop punk sound, the band started experimenting with different things as well after signing with Warner.  "Used To" is a beautiful and emotional soft rock ballad.

"Yellow Fever"

A catchy and infectious pop punk song about the guy's like and respect for Asian girls.  This single also marks their first time experimenting with dub step breakdowns.  Read a more in-depth song review here: here.

"Let's Just Do It"

Whether it's getting someone's phone number at a party or asking them to dance, "Let's Just Do It" encourages listeners to just do what they want to do.  It boosts a very sleek sound.  Despite the auto tune used in the song, like "Yellow Fever", it's catchy, infectious, and has a great dubstep break down.  In-depth song review here.


A beautiful song that was executed even more beautifully.  Everything about the song is phenomenal: the vocals, lyrics, composition, arrangement, and overall sound.  It is such a powerful and memorable song that leaves an impact on you.  In-depth song review here.


Dear Jane is a versatile rock band with a distinct punk sound and a great ability to experiment with other styles.  Each member is very talented and makes their own contributions.  Dear Jane is a well rounded band that consistently and constantly makes great music.  Not only is it catchy, but has substance and well executed.  Besides that, they have all proven to be a group of great and fun guys as well.  I sincerely hope that they will be able to win more recognition and popularity.  They are definitely going far!  Go Dear Jane!

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