I’ve never met a duo this jovial.
Jack and Rai, as the name suggests, comprises Jack Ho (soon-to-be 39) and Rai Kannu (turning 38 not-so-soon), singer-songwriters who have been doing this on a full-time basis for 14 years.
“We only try to act young!” Jack comments on their age.
How the both came together, summarised: boy meets boy, boys form duo, duo proceeds to leave jobs and be awesome.
Rai recalled when the duo assembled. “When we got together, we thought, ‘OK, no worries, since our repertoire was similar, we can complement each other with our songs’. We start playing as a duo for special events like Christmas.”
“We decided to help each other and keep each other company!” Jack added.
Those early days of collaboration grew to a partnership in 2002 at Holland Village’s Wala Wala Cafe Bar in mid-2002. The rest is history.
Before becoming full-time musicians, Rai was a PE and English teacher, while Jack was doing marketing for Sony – specifically, the now-defunct MiniDisc (MD) player. “Some friends have no idea it existed!”, Jack comments.
Aside from playing tunes, the duo, with the addition of Jack’s wife, opened The Flying Squirrel, a Japanese restaurant. “Wifey does most of the operations; we still do our music… it’s not that time-consuming for us,” Jack elaborates on the behind-the-scenes work.
“We do interviews like this to let people know about our restaurant!” Rai quips.
As the duo grew throughout the years, so did their musical stylings. Their early influences were Coldplay, Jason Mraz, Travis and The Beatles (as does most people); more recently, they list bands like Mumford and Sons and Black Keys.
The duo got its start from doing covers of contemporary hits, but have stretched their creative muscles by producing their first album, “In Stores Now!” in 2008.
“Our first album sounded more like Jason Mraz/John Mayer (acoustic pop rock), and we’re trying to explore different soundscapes. Our sounds is now more experimental. We’re testing ourselves.”
So what’s next? “When we get back, the first thing we’ll do is work on our single… Hopefully we get the song done, then maybe come back to Malaysia first?”
For more information on the band, check out the links below:
Asian Connection is a platform created by Laundry for artistes in our neighbouring region, establishing a tour circuit for South East Asian bands by working together with promoters from the region and Laundry being the main spot for Kuala Lumpur.
With its 2nd edition in February 2016, #AsianConnection featured Jack And Rai as the headliner, with supporting acts Ariff AB, Daniel C and Rozella.
Ariff AB kicked off the show with his laid back and beautifully layered music, sparking emotions with the ability to bring listeners to a journey – a walk in the forest.
The second act was an acoustic-driven solo performance by Daniel C picked up momentum into the show with his energy portrayed through his songs.
Next up was the headliners Jack And Rai, with a great repertoire of different styles of music – from indie, blues, folk and acoustic rock.
Last but not least, Rozella went onstage with her soothing and relaxing electronic indie – comprising of downtempo beats and enchanting vocals.
Asian Connection will be continuing in the month of March with another duo as the featured artiste all the way from India. So keep your eyes on UPPRE’s social media sites and on Laundry’s social media sites as well. ◆
Photo copyright belongs to UPPRE.