When you think of local artistes, one would think of a few names: Stefanie Sun, JJ Lin and Kit Chan. But Singapore has more talented singers and artistes than we know. As we celebrate National Day this week, we take a look at the underrated local musicians who continue to create and entertain during these extraordinary times.
Off the back of his new 12-track mixtape S$ (pronounced as $ing Dolla), homegrown rhyme master Shigga Shay releases his new slow-burning catchy new single No Sound which is a testament to how he remains to be a force in Singapore’s burgeoning hip-hop scene.
Awarded Best Southeast Asian Act at last year’s MTV EMAs, Singapore’s top electro-pop singer-songwriter Jasmine Sokko is back and has just released her latest earworm that is as melodic as it is siren-like. Taking a familiar sonic tune similar to her track #0000FF, this third Mandarin single unlike her past tracks is about a sizzling hot fatal attraction and desire between lovers. Even Sokko has admitted jokingly that it has to be her “sexiest sounding song till date.”
困兽游戏 (I Like It) is available for listening on Spotify.
Citing Macklemore, Childish Gambino, 360, and Eminem, as some of his favourite rappers; Grizzle Grind Crew’s Charles Enero has come into his own in this latest rap track mid 90s. An introspective ode to growing up as a 90s kid and his observations as a young adult entering this new decade.
mid 90s is available for listening on Spotify.
For ultimate chill R&B soul vibes, On Me is the steamy new track that you won’t be able to resist. Combining piano keys with sensual backing instrumentals and vocals that could melt butter, we can’t wait to see what this local non-binary singer-songwriter will release next.
On Me is available for listening on Spotify.
With lyrics like “You are the muse to my unheard tunes”, up-and-coming musician AIRII’s How Do I gives us all the feels and transports us to those fleeting moments when you’re crushing hard on someone you like. If you’re a fan of Conan Grey, we can guarantee that you’ll especially adore this romantic bedroom-pop jam.
How Do I is available for listening on Spotify.
The perfect rap anthem during these trying times, this single was written by the seasoned rapper to remind us that, well, things could be worse. The fresh tune dropped on May 15 and sees him acknowledging family, community, and love as values that truly matter in his life. This one is bound to give you the warm fuzzies.
Could Be Worse is available for listening on Spotify.
This one-named singer-songwriter/activist is the newest kid on the block – though you might find her face familiar if you’ve been flipping through the pages of magazines here or your Instagram feed. That’s because the part Ghanian, part Singaporean-Chinese is also a fashion model on top of being a dancer and choreographer. Her debut single Save It shows that this 17-year-old could very well be our answer to American singer-rapper and songwriter SZA with her sparkling R&B sound and fiery vocals.
Save It is available for listening on Spotify.
Indie singer-songwriter Kotoji’s debut single Roulette In My Head is the kind of song you might find in the soundtrack of coming-of-age films like The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Wholly written, composed, arranged and mastered by the 24-year-old, the tune was inspired by her anxiety of things being too good to be true and the failure to appreciate the moment.
Roulette In My Head is available for listening on various major streaming platforms like Spotify.
This is what an all-star tribute looks and sounds like during the age of quarantine. The 14-artist cast comprised some of the exciting young names in local music like Shye, Yung Raja, Fariz Jabba, and Iman Fandi who recorded and performed the song from their own homes in 11 days to cheer the nation on during this trying times. The final music video was edited by the rising Singapore filmmaker Jasper Tan, a.k.a Vadbibes. The end result is a five-minute uplifting song that has since garnered over 194,000 views as of press time.
The indie-electronic duo .gif – made up of Nurudin Sadali and Weish – dropped their second album Hail Nothing on April 24. The nine-track album sounds more aggressive and less serious compared to Soma, their first album released in 2015, according to the singer. If their first album is perfect for some easy listening on rainy days, this one is made for lounging at home.
Hail Nothing is available for listening on Spotify.
After the release of his solo debut with the single Ready For Ya following the split of The Sam Willows, Jon Chua JX released his second single, Give It Back, on May 1. Depicting the yearning of untroubled times after a bad experience, Chua explores the “if only” in these scenarios where things could be much better. With a mesh of hip hop-inspired beats, pop melodies and lyrics like “I just really want my life back,” it seems to be a pretty apt song in uncertain times like these, no?
Give It Back is available for listening on Spotify.
(Read also “Local Singer Rriley Is A Big Dreamer“)
This Gen-Z bedroom dream-pop sensation has six singles and an album (titled Augus7ine) all under her belt by the time she turned 17 years old. On May 1, Shye dropped a new single, Too Well, musing about the dangers of getting too close to anyone. The ditty features Shye’s smooth vocals and signature synth beats but takes on a more edgy vibe as compared to her previously released songs.
Too Well is available for listening on Spotify.
A song dripping in confidence and self-assuredness, rapper Fariz Jabba’s collaborated with producer and fellow rapper omarKENOBI for his latest single, Kalah. Translating to “lose” in Malay, this feel-good anthem comes with the main message that Fariz Jabba will always prevail.
Kalah is available for listening on Spotify.
With her raspy sensuous vocals and hip hop beats, Huda might be Singapore’s answer to American rapper Saweetie. The 21-year-old just dropped her first single, Bad Love, which dropped on May 1 is a hypnotic beat that is perfect for breaking it down at home.
Bad Love is available for listening on Spotify.
Rapper Masia One takes things back to her cultural roots and goes for a ballad instead of her usual rap with this new single, layering Chinese instrumentation on top of Masia’s honey-smooth voice. The song is also the theme song of Ti Tou Dao, a 13-part drama series about a wayang troupe in Singapore set in the 1940s-80s.
You’ll Only Love Me (When I’m Gone) is available for listening on Spotify.
What happens when you mesh Joel Tan’s (aka Gentle Bones) soothing vocals with the smooth, jazzy tones of Charlie Lim? A song reminiscent of hot chocolate on a cold day. An ode to those going through a heartbreak, the two artists wanted to convey a perspective of heartbreak and longing through the song.
Two Sides is available for listening on Spotify.
This article was first published in Female.