Soul music

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 11 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 11 November, 2007, 12:00am

Jon Wu, aka Clementine Is My Sunshine, was the opening act at Avril Lavigne's concert in Hong Kong in August.

But the up-and-coming singer-songwriter says his music is totally different from Lavigne's sugar-coated pop.

'I don't know why she's so popular,' says the 17-year-old International Christian School student.

'If I were to perform her songs, I would feel embarrassed. Her lyrics are so childish.

'Think about Bob Dylan and the things he wrote when he was 19. Compared with the work of the now 20-something Lavigne, there's such a big contrast. You have to ask: what happened?'

What has happened is that times have changed: today it is pop, not folk, that rules.

Jon created a buzz on the local indie music scene by winning the Gold Prize and Best Original Song with his first song, Needing You, in the Tom Lee Soundbase Acoustic Festival 2005 and the Bronze Prize and Best Original Song in the same competition the following year.

He says folk is the music closest to his heart.

'Personally I think folk is the closest thing to the human soul and it is the music that speaks most to people. I guess music is like humans. We all have different personalities, and music parallels that,' says Jon.

Jon's musical hero is Bob Dylan, a folk and rock singer-songwriter who has been in the business for five decades.

Jon describes his own music as 'a poor imitation of Bob Dylan before The Band'.

'Dylan is a legend because he is able to translate what's happening around him into his music,' says Jon.

Jon is currently working on his third album. He worked with his friend (with whom he formed the band Natural City) on his first two albums, Suzanne and We're Such Dreamers.

'I feel I'm still at the beginning of my musical journey - the past two years were all about discovery,'

he says.

His new song Mongkok reflects a teenager's hopes and fears for the future: 'Honey, it's okay, it's okay/Future will work out/You just have to be patient and wait.'

'The recurring theme on my albums is change, and not knowing what will happen in the future. Change is very difficult.

'Most of my friends have gone to university. They are away from home and have to make friends all over again,' says Jon.

'It's a scary thought that I have now grown up, my parents are becoming older and I have to become independent.'

But Jon says he is braced for the challenges ahead - both as a young man and a musician - and is looking forward to making the world a better place with music, just like Dylan has done over the years.

'I think artists shouldn't just sit down and write songs without contributing to the world. If I were to do this full-time, I'd want to write songs to help people.

'I don't want to write music that is irrelevant to the world,' says the young star.

'As a musician, or a person, you should help people.'

Jon is part of AMP, Asia's Music Platform (www., an online community where artists promote their music, exchange ideas and get connected.

Visit to listen to Jon's music.