Singapore's music scene has always been vibrant, from the likes of the The Quests and The Crescendos in the 60s to today’s latest crop of muscians. Since then, we've been blessed with a mix of musical talents such as Tokyo Square, The Odfellows, Awol, Humpback Oak, Kick, Electrico, Tanya Chua and Corinne May. This isn't even taking into account Mandarin singers with regional success, such as Stefanie Sun and JJ Lin, and Malay artists like Ramli Sarip. We're pleased that Singapore music is still making us proud, and here are five acts we especially love.
Image: Universal Music Singapore
Probably the most exciting music act to come out of Singapore in recent years, Gentle Bones is actually 21-year-old singer-songwriter Joel Tan. His debut self-titled EP won him many fans and, thankfully, his sophomore EP, Geniuses & Thieves, has lived up to all the hype and is pretty amazing too. He won the Supernova Award at the Hong Kong Asian-Pop Music Festival 2016, played two sold-out gigs at the Esplanade, and was also featured in the inaugural Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list. Best described as a mix of Ed Sheeran and Justin Timberlake, with a heck of a lot more in between too, Gentle Bones is definitely flying the flag for Singapore in the music scene – and we're a hundred per cent behind him all the way.
THE SAM WILLOWS
Image: Sony Music Entertainment
There isn't actually anyone called Sam or Willow in this band but we're not going to take issue with them for this. Consisting of siblings Benjamin and Narelle Kheng and their friends Sandra Riley Tang and Jon Chua, the band was formed just four years ago but they already have the chemistry and tight sound of a band that has been together for a long time. They received instant attention when their self-titled debut EP was released in late 2012 and, since then, they have performed internationally too, at music festivals such as SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas, MU:CON in Seoul and WAM Festival in Perth. Their album, Take Heart, is where you'll find For Love, which has received a lot of radio airplay, and the rest of the album is an excellent listen too.
Image: The Straits Times
Best known as the winner of the third season of Singapore Idol, Sezairi Sezali hit the headlines earlier this year when he got married to his longtime girlfriend. But his music is taking centrestage again, thanks to the release of his self-titled EP in July, which marked his return to English music, after creating waves in the Malay music scene these past few years. Fire To The Floor is guaranteed to get your feet tapping, while Empty is just the kind of tune you'll want to listen to late at night. The 28-year-old is proof that there is life after winning a talent show and we don't think we'll be saying goodbye to him anytime soon.
Image: Aimee Hann
This singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer released his self-titled debut EP in 2001 and, since then, has performed at the likes of the Singapore International Jazz Festival and Mosaic Music Festival – and in several other festivals in the region. He also closed the SEA Games at the National Stadium last year with a song he penned especially for the occasion, Still. Time/Space is his new double EP, made it to the top of the iTunes Singapore chart a mere hour after it was released and it was named as one of the best albums of last year in many local publications. His music is a mix between, folk, jazz and soul and we've certainly not heard anything like him locally.
This Singapore girl has been reviewed in Billboard magazine and was also a Spotify Spotlight on 2016 Featured Artist. Her first single, Sticky Leaves, landed on Spotify's viral charts and received its worldwide premiere on Billboard. The singer-songwriter's debut EP, Paris 12, is set to be released very soon and we're predicting even more big things for her. She'll also be performing at the Japanese music festival Summer Sonic 2016 later this month.