#SG50: Local Tunes to Spend Your Afternoon

It’s Singapore’s birthday! Here, have some local music.

This year has been a great one for local music. Local singer Gentle Bones got signed to Universal Music, a first for Singaporean artists. Sony Music Entertainment Asia set up a brand consultancy to groom local talents and has signed acts such as The Sam Willows, Sezairi and Trick. Local label Riot! Records became the first to organise an event  – House of Riot! – headlined by purely local acts at the best music venue available here: the Esplanade Concert Hall. BayBeats, a regional music festival organised by Esplanade, drew thousands of fans to its multiple stages.

It isn’t just the artists, either. The Musicians’ Guild of Singapore was established in May, and follows the footsteps of SGMUSO, or The Music Society of Singapore, in supporting and developing local musicians. BayBeats also has a mentorship programme, along with the National Arts Council’s Noise Singapore initiative. Both offer budding talents the opportunity to train and learn under veterans of the local music scene.

So here, in celebration of our nation’s 50th birthday – a collection of some of my favourite local songs.

Gentle Bones – Sixty Five

Sixty Five is a track off the movie 1965, and the music video directed by Narelle Kheng of The Sam Willows. 1965 is a dramatic thriller starring Lim Kay Tong, Qi Yu Wu, Joanne Peh and Sezairi Sezali, whose song, Selamat Pagi (Malay greeting for “Good Morning”), is also featured in the film. He performed an acoustic version of the song at the press conference for the movie:

The Sam Willows – Home

Although released last year, this one still remains a favourite and will be performed by the band at the National Day Parade! Featuring Josh Wei on violin, this is a stripped-down acoustic rendition of the 1998 theme song. It was originally composed by Dick Lee and performed by Kit Chan.

Corrinne May & Charlie Lim – Kite

Kite is part of Sing, Love, an album that showcases both old and new talents of Singapore’s music scene. Written by Corrinne May and Charlie Lim, the emotional depth of the music is brought by local classical music greats The T’ang QuartetSing, Love boasts five original songs and music videos illustrating how the artists interpret the meaning of what the themes of Singapore, ‘family’, and ‘home’ mean to them. The album is available for free download here.

Stefanie Sun (孙燕姿) – Cloudy Day (天黑黑)

Stefanie Sun is not only a local star, she’s also hugely popular in China and Taiwan. Throughout her career, she has sold over 30 million records, won two Golden Melody Awards and an MTV Asia Award for Favourite Artist (Singapore), and set up her own artiste management company, Make Music. 天黑黑 is an adaptation of a Hokkien folk song released in 2000, and remains one of her most popular songs.

Mavis Hee (许美静) – Moonlight In The City (城里的月光)

Mavis Hee is another local starlet who branched out to the Mainland Chinese and Taiwanese markets. She became known as the ‘Heavenly Queen Killer’ by the Chinese media after she beat Faye Wong and the Four Heavenly Kings of Cantopop (Andy Lau, Jacky Cheung, Aaron Kwok and Leon Lai) in the sales charts. She is also the first Singaporean to win Most Popular Singer at the Hong Kong Metro Hit Awards, once again beating Faye Wong. Moonlight In The City (城里的月光) was released on 5 December, 1995 and is featured in the soundtrack for local TV series 118.

Taufik Batisah – Berserah

Taufik Batisah is the winner of the first season of Singapore Idol. Written and performed by Taufik himself in 2007, Berserah went on to clinch the Most Popular Artiste (Singapore) Award and Most Popular Song (Singapore) Award at Anugerah Planet Muzik 2008. It also hit the No. 1 spot for Song of the Year on the RIA 89.7FM radio station’s 2008 Top 30 Countdown. Berserah was also sung by Singapore Idol’s second season winner Hady Mirza, who went on to win the title of Asian Idol.

Daphne Khoo – Raise Your Voice

Daphne Khoo was born in Perth, Australia, and moved to Singapore with her family when she was 3. After completing her ‘O’ Levels, she worked with MTV as host of its first television series, and joined Singapore Idol, emerging 3rd runner up. Since then, she has played sold-out concerts, TV events and music festivals. She has recently composed the song Greatest for the 2015 SEA Games held in Singapore, and performed it at the Opening Ceremony. Raise Your Voice is the latest offering on her YouTube channel, posted in conjunction with National Day. It is a stripped down track, with appropriately uplifting lyrics and comprising just of her sweet vocals and the strains of the piano.

Bonus: Inch Chua – Aqueous Oblivion

No video for this (Boo hoo :/) but this is my favourite song from her!

That’s all I have, and these are just scratching the surface – share your favourites with me below!



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