Vengadesan reflects on soundtrack of his life with third book

Former entertainment reporter turned hard news editor Martin Vengadesan once nursed aspirations to become a full-time musician and saw writing as something he would only do before his career took off.

However, while his passion for music never died, he found his niche as a writer and hardcore journalist.

His third book “101 Albums You Need to Hear Before I Die” takes him back to his beginnings, the music that influenced him as a child and a young man, and eventually his path in life.

Vengadesan had already written two books. The first is the hugely successful non-fiction “Malaysian Murders and Mysteries”, co-authored with Andrew Sagayam, which is now in its fifth reprint and his second book is the dystopian thriller “Malaya 2057: A Thousand Moons Have Passed”.

He previously contributed to the books “March 8: The Day Malaysia Woke Up” and the “KL Noir” series.

He started working on “101 Albums You Need to Hear Before I Die” two years ago during the pandemic. He was also working on “Malaya 2057” which was published last year.

“101 Albums” will be available online on May 3 and in bookstores on May 6.

His band Martin Vengadesan and The Stalemate Factor’s fourth album will also be released this week, which coincides with his 50th birthday celebrations.

During an interview with Malaysiakini, the first question was naturally, why “101 Albums You Need to Hear Before I Die” instead of “Before You Die”?

“When I was growing up, there were a lot of those album lists with that kind of title. It is very common in the title, albums you need to hear before you die.

“So I just wanted to be cheeky and play with words. Before I die, meaning maybe you want to read it and you will listen to the albums and we can have a discussion,” explained Vengadesan.

Most personal book

Unlike his previous books, “101 Albums” is perhaps his most personal, as he described how he was introduced to certain music by his family members and friends, his own experiences meeting the musicians he idolised, and how the story behind the songs is what intrigued him more than the song itself.

The book is interesting on its own, capturing the music that moved him from the 1920s to 1973, the year he was born.

The first chapter is on blues legend…

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