Joshua Tan’s “painful” musical experience for ‘Fine Tune’

The self-proclaimed musically disinclined actor sings and plays guitar for TV for the first time in the Channel 5 dramedy

Joshua Tan’s “painful” music lessons for new drama

Photos: Channel 5, Joshua Tan/Instagram

He may have loads of experience performing with his Ah Boys to Men co-stars at showcases and fan meetings (they also participated in an episode of My Squad is Better Than Yours), but Joshua Tan recently stepped out of the group – and his comfort zone – to channel his inner solo musician for Fine Tune.

In the Channel 5 dramedy, which is created in conjunction with Radio 80, the 26-year-old actor plays Bernard, the teenhood crush of Lisa (played by Gold 905 DJ Vernetta Lopez) who aspires to be a top musician. To prepare for his role, which included singing and playing the guitar live on set (backing tracks were eschewed in case of technical errors), Joshua enlisted the help of his more musically-talented fellow Ah Boy Bunz, who provided personal lessons completely free of charge.

“He’s probably one of the most gifted musicians I know and it was great that he was willing to step up and help me; how often can you find friends like that?” said Joshua during a phone interview with Toggle.

When asked what feedback he received from his teacher, he shared with a chuckle, “(Bunz told me), ‘Josh, you need to spend more time on this’, so I got the hint. I took a couple of piano lessons when I was younger but I quit because I think I started to irritate everyone in the class! (laughs) I’m just musically disinclined.”

Another person who provided useful guidance was Fine Tune’s director Ong Kuo Sin (who also directed Mr. Unbelievable the movie and the viral music video that inspired it). “It was really tough for me because I’m not a confident singer and I personally think I’m semi tone-deaf, but he gave me a lot of coaching and encouragement, especially during scenes where I had to sing in front of a lot of people,” said Joshua. “I was hoping for a closed-off area, but I had to sing in front of over 50 extras! Sometimes I could see people trying to stifle their laughter.”

Joshua Tan’s “painful” music lessons for new drama

Despite the “painful process” (as he worded it), Joshua did not stop being a professional, and it may not be the last time we see him sing live for a TV show.

“I’m not really gifted (in music) but I try to be a hard worker,” he said. “I won’t rule out singing for TV again but because of some issues, I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare (for Fine Tune); if I was given more time to prepare, then I’d like to push myself again.”

So how would Joshua rate his performance? “Five out of 10, at least I can still pass,” he said. “But out of that five, four points go to Bunz and Kuo Sin, and one is for my own effort!”

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