Sandra Tang and Narelle Kheng.jpg

They are part of local indie band The Sam Willows, who have performed in major international music events and caught the attention of a Grammy-winning producer.

Although The Sam Willows became a Youtube sensation because of their cover versions of popular songs (their channel has more than 50,000 subscribers and boasts more than three million views), Narelle is quick to point out that they have two original songs in their repertoire – Nightlight and Glasshouse.

The latter was recorded and produced in 2013 by Steve Lillywhite – a five-time Grammy-Award-winning producer responsible for the sound on albums by U2 and The Killers – who was enamoured with the band’s sounds when he visited Singapore.

Formed in 2012, the quartet comprises Sandra (who owns yoga studio The Yoga Co.), Narelle (who is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Communication Studies at Nanyang Technological University), her brother Benjamin, and their friend Jonathan Chua.

Since their genesis, they have done covers of hits such as Meghan Trainor’s All About That Bass – the video of this song is their most viewed Youtube video to date, with more than half a million views – and have toured North America, making stops in Texas (at the renowned South by Southwest music festival) as well as Toronto (for Canadian Music Week).

The secret to their popularity? “We don’t hide who we are,” says Sandra, who insists they are the same on and off screen. “Performing songs helps us connect with people and share stories. Music is powerful like that.”

Styling: Evon Chng, Hair: Ann Lin/Athens Salon, Makeup: Melissa Yeo, using Makeup For Ever, On Narelle; Blouse: Sinequanone, On Sandra; Jacket: Lie by Lie Sang Bong, Tank top & Ring: Sandra’s own

This story was first published in Her World Magazine July 2015. 

Want to read more about successful Singapore women? Find out what it’s like to open a pastry cafe and what it’s like to run a funeral parlour.