KUALA LUMPUR: For parents, there is nothing more important than spending quality time with your children, especially during their formative years.
But for many urban mums and dads, finding a suitable – and enjoyable – activity, not to mention carving out the time for it, can be challenging.
When Andrew Chan heard his older daughter sing two years ago as she recorded a video for a virtual concert, he recognised her potential and was inspired to come up with a clever way for them to spend quality time together.
A singer and musician himself, the 44-year-old father of two toyed with the idea of them recording songs and shooting music videos – partly as a means of nurturing her talent, and partly as a fun activity during the pandemic.
“I noticed that vocally, she has a nice tone,” said Andrew, who is also the chief executive officer of Cempaka Performing Arts Company (CPAC). “So I thought we could try doing some duets.”
But before he set anything in motion, he first made sure to find out how Kimberly felt. To his delight, she said yes!
“I felt excited and happy,” nine-year-old Kimberly shared, telling FMT she “loves to sing”. And that was how the Daddy Daughter Duo was born.
In September 2021, they recorded the audio for their first cover song, “I See the Light” from the Disney animated film “Tangled”, and filmed the video for it the following month.
They have since released over 20 music videos, with covers of songs such as “Remember Me” from “Coco”, “Beauty and the Beast”, and “You Raise Me Up”, posted to YouTube and other social media.
Their first-ever video, Andrew revealed, involved father and daughter riding (safely) on a motorcycle. “We did it with just one shot, where we started singing and didn’t stop. I rode a motorbike and Kimberly was in front of me.
“We had to do many, many takes to get everything right because it was all about the timing.”
“It was fun,” Kimberly agreed, adding, however, that it was “a bit windy” when she was on the motorcycle.
According to Andrew, it was “a big challenge, but a good start for our first song”. Also challenging? Finding songs that fit their vocal ranges.
“There are very few written specifically for a father and daughter,” Andrew pointed out. As such, after making their selection, they have to work with a musical arranger to find the key that best suits both their voices.
Kimberly, a student at Cempaka International School, receives vocal training at CPAC, while Andrew devotes time to practise with her every night.
“I’m glad to have instilled this discipline in her,” he said, adding that their efforts have paid off as their performances have largely garnered encouraging feedback.
The talented pair have even performed live, including at an event in February organised by Persatuan Siswazah Wanita Malaysia and attended by Dr Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali – quite the memorable occasion for young Kimberly indeed!
The proud dad further shared that Kimberly has grown more confident on stage, and this was evident when the duo performed exclusively for FMT – “My Father”, an original song composed for Father’s Day today, with music by Andrew’s colleague at CPAC, Wong Shen Vee.
As Kimberly sang the lyrics written by Andrew, it was clear she was having a ball, with absolutely no sign of the jitters. Bravo!
So, what does Andrew hope for the future of Daddy Daughter Duo? For one, that they get to travel across the country and beyond, performing together.
“Through our music, we wish to spread love, happiness, kindness, and hope,” he said. “We want to reach out to people, especially those who are less fortunate, or in retirement centres, old folks’ homes and orphanages.”
And, asked what the best part of their journey thus far has been, Kimberly immediately replied that it was rehearsing with her father. “It’s fun to spend time with Dad,” she said with a smile.
As for Andrew, one strong memory involves an on-location shoot that featured a stream. Kimberly was dressed in a beautiful Pocahontas costume, and he didn’t want her outfit to get wet.
So, naturally, he carried her across the water. “If not the father, then who else would do that for her?” he said.