Derrick Hoh samples ‘Lemon Tree’ for his nieces

Homegrown singer releases first album in five years


Photos: Teo Sijia, Derrick Hoh (@derrickhoh) via Instagram
Video: Vanessa Lim

For Singaporean Taiwan-based singer Derrick Hoh so loved his two nieces, that he took inspiration from Tarcy Su’s hit 1995 cover of ‘Lemon Tree’ and put his own spin on it.

“Nowadays many children can’t speak Mandarin,” the 30-year-old singer said, and explained his two nieces, aged 7 and 4, are the same.

“But the first Mandarin pop songs they learned were Tarcy Su’s, including ‘Lemon Tree,’ ‘Duck’ and ‘Fool,’ which they find catchy. So I set out to record a song the girls could sing along to.”

Derrick’s version of ‘Lemon Tree’ shot to the top of the singles charts in just five hours after it was launched on iTunes on October 14. And the track was a hit with his nieces too, he said - they picked up the melody and the dance even before the song was officially released.


The quirky moves seen in the single’s music video paid homage to the classic Great Singapore Workout, a rite of passage for children growing up in the 90s. “When I was young we were all forced to do the routine, so it left a deep impression,” Derrick said.

And the doting uncle made sure his nieces found the dance steps acceptable. “I’d demonstrate it to the girls, and if they couldn’t keep up, the move was dropped,” he said.

The album Lemon Tree comes five years after Derrick’s sophomore release, Change, and the singer has moved away from a brooding image to try out a sunnier, ‘lemonier’ style that matches the feel of the title track.

“Actually I’m rather cheeky in real life, and I like to crack jokes and make people happy,” he said. “So I think this new image is closer to who I am.”

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