The Music Society of Singapore (or sgmuso) had its second Music Dialogue on Sat, 8th Sep and by all accounts it was an interesting afternoon for all who attended. Now, although I am an EXCO member of sgmuso, I am writing this article NOT as an EXCO member or on behalf of sgmuso but as an fairly objective observer (but take whatever I say with a pinch of salt, if you must).

The event began with singer-songwriter Charlie Lim presenting two songs (viz. “Pedestal” and “Bitter”) delivered only with vocals and Fender electric guitar. The performance felt subdued but there was no denying the sheer talent at Lim’s fingertips (literally!) and new song “Bitter” especially impressed for its sophisticated chord progressions and Lim’s vocal range. After he finished his short set, Lim was interviewed by sgmuso President Graham Perkins, which was informative for all.

To be honest, Lim’s performance was the highlight of the afternoon. Not that the rest of the afternoon was never fun but considering the serious import of the issues facing the Singapore music scene (not to mention sgmuso) the matters presented, discussed and argued over seemed to sometimes polarise certain sections of the participants. But that is to be expected when you consider that the effort to unite the music scene and address the challenges it faces is a fairly new one and it is going to take some time (and loads of effort) to get the scene to a level where most musicians will be satisfied.

As comments were sought from the audience themselves, there was no shortage of folks willing to give their 2cts worth. I do feel that in many cases the feedback was of a very personal nature (and sometimes missing out on the big picture) and a few persons took the opportunity for self-promotion but that is a side-product of our music scene being severely immature. Whatever I thought of the comments, it was important for these thoughts to be voiced out so that steps could be taken to address these concerns (legitimate and otherwise).

It’s clear that we are moving in the right direction at least, the priority really is to engage those most pressing issues and resolve them as quickly as reasonably possible. And we need to see that everyone involved in the music scene has the same goal – to grow the music scene into a thriving, vibrant and inclusive scene . That said, musicians should not look to sgmuso to do all the heavy lifting and expect things to happen for their music but to work hard in their own best interests and let sgmuso work towards providing the conducive environment and relevant platforms needed to achieve our shared goals.

To find out more about sgmuso, visit

… still there’s more …


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