We spoke to young singer-songwriter on the banks of the Singapore River about his new EP, Letters and what he’s been doing in the music scene recently. Check it out!



PoPTV: Talkin’ the Line is brought to you by Walk On Music and Power of Pop.


KAI 11:11 EP

Upon initial listening to Kai’s debut EP, 11:11, with the opening track Crowds, her vocals instantaneously struck me, and literally, stuck itself onto me. I find myself struggling to figure out which artiste’s vocals she reminds me clearly of. Is it Tanya Chua, Joanna Wang, Norah Jones, Colbie Caillat or Zee Avi?

Continue reading “KAI”



Another packed crowd at Timbre at the Substation witnessed the 2nd edition of the Noise-Timbre Singer-Songwriter Programme. In truth, the majority of the Timbre patrons may have been present for the excellent pizzas rather than the Programme itself but the whole point of the Programme is to expose Singapore songwriting (and songwriters) to audiences unfamiliar with it and so on that count, the Programme has certainly achieved its aim, thus far.





Singapore singer-songwriter Natalie Hiong has been a recent addition to the Singapore indie music scene but she has certainly wasted no time to make an impact. PoPTV: Talkin’ The Line caught up with Natalie (within the bustling environs of the Singapore Management University) to find out what she has been up to since becoming a full-time musician.



Talkin’ The Line is jointly presented by Walk On Music and Power of Pop.


CHARLES J TAN The Pelham Sessions EP (Self-released)

The first thing you’d notice on this record is Tan’s vocals – you can’t miss them. Husky, deep, well-rounded and full, it makes you sit up and pay attention. His enunciation is clear and brings out each word carefully, which is a very positive thing… But unfortunately this is also what brings out the bone I have to pick with this EP: the less-than-satisfactory lyrics.

Continue reading “CHARLES J TAN”


You could say that this event was almost a year in the making. Having spoken to Timbre co-founder Danny Loong about a dedicated programme for Singapore singer-songwriters in March 2010, it was very satisfactory to finally stand on the Timbre stage and host this event. Happy to say that the venue was packed and particularly so to see my RP students (viz Bryan, Linqi, Emily and Peiqi) turn up as well! In addition, the support of Noise Singapore has been invaluable to the cause.



I am counting on all you Power of Pop regulars to be at Timbre @ Substation in force to support this landmark event – let’s show everyone that Singapore songwriting is worth the time, effort and $$$! Not forgetting also the Noise music showcases. A good S-ROCK week, all told!

Come up and say hi – take a photo with me and I will post it here on Power of Pop!

… still there’s more …


It seems like I’ve been waiting for a singer-songwriter centric event to come to pass for the longest time. Well, it’s finally here. Mark your calendars to turn up at Timbre @ Substation on Wednesday 23rd February 7.15pm to witness the first installment of the Noise-Timbre Singer Songwriter Programme.

I am also equally excited to be able to have talented singer-songwriter Ling Kai as our very first special guest star to share with us her songs and her methods/inspirations. Perhaps she will tell us about her internationally renowned song – Larkin Step – which garnered more than a million views on YouTube.com. Check out the sheer number of cover versions and you will understand the wide appeal of Ling’s song.



LLOYD COLE Broken Record (Self-released)

Cole’s country and folk influences are evident in the use of instruments like the pedal steel, banjo and mandolin, as well as the narrative nature of his lyrics. I must confess that’s basically the extent of my knowledge about Cole or any other pop-country-folk-ish music, so if I go ahead and say that this album is worth listening to, it’s completely without reference or comparison or expectation. And this album really is worth listening to.

Continue reading “LLOYD COLE”


A couple of days ago, I was interviewed by The New Paper regarding the Noise-Timbre Singer-Songwriter Programme and was asked if I had any tips for aspiring singer-songwriters to be noticed in this Programme. Well, one tip is of course to watch, listen and learn from people who write good songs and perform them well on youtube. Alright, I have made this process a little easier for you – check out the examples below.



Rachael Teo (left, who with Yinky make up Cove Red) was one of my first apprentices under the Noise Apprenticeship Programme. When we started working together, she had half a song and in our sessions together, we co–wrote Love & Water, a song I still hold close to my heart. Since then, of course, Rachael has grown so much as a songwriter. Recently, Rachael wrote a beautiful Christmas song called Christmastime and it contains the kind of gorgeous melody that Rachael is now well known for. The gurls have just done a music video for Christmastime and it’s truly appropriate for the season. It certainly made my Christmas! Enjoy and share…

…still there’s more…



Why do I believe so strongly that the development of songwriting in Singapore is crucial to the “saving” of the Singapore music scene? There are many reasons but chief amongst which is the idea that in order to establish a unique Singaporean culture and identity for Singapore music, we must have our OWN songs! Makes sense, doesn’t it? What about the homegrown Chinese, Malay and Indian songs that already exist? Well and good, of course, but we do business in English, we teach in English and by and large we converse in English (or Singlish, same difference) AND we are entertained in English, so it’s not enough. We need our OWN English songs!



This programme is an excellent collaboration between the Noise Singapore and Timbre Music Academy and a good opportunity for aspiring singer-songwriters to be heard. Not only because I have been fighting for something like this for a couple of years (and thus I am deeply involved) but also because this programme is a welcome shot in the arm for the S-ROCK scene! Kudos to National Arts Council and Timbre Music for sticking their collective necks out to invest time, money and effort in our music scene. So my message to all singer-songwriters out there, send a strong message to the movers and shakers out there (whether on the government or commercial side of the fence) that this is the sort of programme YOU want and submit those songs and videos now. We will be waiting for you…

…still there’s more…


Press release

SINGAPORE, 13 DEC 2010 – What do Zee Avi and David Choi have in common? They were both made famous thanks to YouTube. The phenomenon that is the video-sharing website has paved the road to fame for a rare, talented few and has inspired many others to upload their own homemade videos for a chance at making it big.

To help aspiring local musicians be heard amidst the clutter of the massively crowded YouTube, Noise Singapore and Timbre are launching a platform to provide young, talented singer-songwriters in Singapore with the first step to becoming the next big thing. The Noise-Timbre Singer-Songwriter Programme, which opens on 14 December 2011, aims to uncover unknown gems on YouTube and have them trained by top musicians in Singapore before giving them the chance to perform live at Timbre @ The Substation.

“The Noise-Timbre Singer-Songwriter programme provides young Singaporeans with the rare opportunity to perform at a popular music venue, and at the same time receive training by music professionals. That is essentially what Noise Singapore aims to do – provide youths with opportunities to learn and showcase their talent,” said Ms Chua Ai Liang, Director, Arts Engagement, National Arts Council.



Back in the day, critics would bestow the dubious honour of the “new Bob Dylan” on every promising folkie singer-songwriter. This list would include the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Loudon Wainwright III, Steve Forbert and John Prine, amongst others. Well, that habit has died down a little but let me revive it once again by placing this burden squarely on the shoulders on Joe Pug.

Continue reading “JOE PUG”


JIMMY GNECCO The Heart (Bright Antenna/ILG)

With the release of his solo album The Heart, Jimmy Gnecco joins the multitudes of sad, fine-voiced, male singer-songwriters gracing the shelves. The frontman of the American alt-rock band Ours turns in a heartfelt performance, his falsetto soaring through the fragile melodies in a vein similar to a darker, more disaffected Sufjan Stevens.

Continue reading “JIMMY GNECCO”


I am really excited about TAB, the new music bar set to open anytime soon at the junction of Orchard, Tanglin and Orange Grove Roads. And according to TAB’s site

“…the big idea behind TAB has always been to provide a unique music experience in Singapore. Not just once, but six days a week. Lots of places play host to bands, some with bigger stages than others, but when we looked to find a place where local artists perform their own songs on a regular basis, we came up short. Furthermore, opportunities for Singaporean bands to play alongside up and coming foreign artists and even some of the biggest international names in music are few and far between. Don’t even mention mixing genres in one venue. We believe TAB will change all of that.”



CELINA has held aspirations of becoming a successful singer-songwriter since weekly singing competitions at her grandmother’s when she was five years old. Armed with her 90s-style brand of music and her ability to translate the inspiration she receives from listening to an artiste into original songs, Celina hopes the experience of this showcase will bring her closer to her dreams.

Continue reading “BAYBEATS 2010: CELINA”


JON LINDSAY Escape From Plaza-Midwood (Chocolate Lab)

It’s easy to despair about the future of rock ‘n’ roll, when you’re a music writer and singer-songwriter. I mean, nobody seems to care about passion, creativity and craft in songwriting anymore – it’s all a cynical exercise to make the most money as possible.

Of late, I’ve also been a little jaded with the torrent of indie bands/singer-songwriters whose range of influence is other indie bands/singer-songwriters rather than the broad spectrum of music out there. Here’s an exception to the rule that I’m eager to trumpet – Jon Lindsay!

On this album – his debut – Lindsay demonstrates that he doesn’t care about being hip and cool, all he cares about is the music. And how! The fifteen songs on his impressive debut not only display a wide range of classic pop and rock inspirations but in addition, reek of the blood, sweat and tears of a songwriter who gives a damn!

I know when I’ve run across a keeper, it takes me a couple of listens to get into the head space of an album – so to speak. The songs are simple, the melodies are memorable and the words are clever, you know, like early Elvis Costello, Graham Parker, Grandaddy, Weezer and Fountains of Wayne.

Pointless to highlight any particular song as every single one hits the sweet spot. You know there’ll be a tune, lyric or arrangement that makes me go – “Wow! Cool!” – and I hit repeat again when the album ends. Yes, boys and girls, Escape From Plaza-Midwood is one of those complete album experiences that we’re getting less and less of in recent times. Hold on tight and don’t let go, babes…

Official Site


The lovely and supremely talented Ling Kai will be doing a mini-tour of Starbucks outlets in January. Her first performance is today, 9 Jan. Check out the schedule below and make your way to a Starbucks outlet for coffee and great music…

Sat, 9 Jan, 4pm: Liat Towers

Thu, 14 Jan, 1pm: Capital Tower

Sat, 16 Jan, 4pm: Tanglin Mall

Thu, 21 Jan, 12.30pm: Singapore Land Tower

Sat, 23 Jan, 4pm: Raffles City

Thu, 28 Jan, 12.30pm: OCBC Building

Sat, 30 Jan, 4pm: ION Orchard

Exclusively at Starbucks:

Purchase a copy of Ling Kai’s debut EP “Honestly” for the price of $11.95 (U.P. $13.95) when you buy Ling’s favourite beverage: a Grande Triple Shot Caramel Macchiato.

Official Site

Facebook event page



I arrived at the Esplanade Recital Studio in the early hours of Monday afternoon and was welcomed by the distracting noise of the Esplanade sound crew carrying out its microphone check. The purpose of my visit? To provide Lloyd with a couple of guitar stands! Anything to meet the man, I guess. He turned up, greying hair and slight paunch (like me, I guess) and proceeded to go about his sound check in a business-like manner. Armed with his two acoustic guitars, Lloyd sounded warm and pristine as the Recital Studio resounded with his baritone voice. Nice.

It didn’t take long for Lloyd to finish up what was required and Dinesh and I escorted him back to his hotel. Dinesh & I chatted for awhile before he had to meet up with his wife, Sylvia and by then it was two hours plus to the gig.

So there I was, macbook on my lap, in the Esplanade Concourse, typing out these words and trying to figure out how I will approach this review. I guess I could begin by referring to my love of Rattlesnakes, that magnificent debut LP of Lloyd Cole and the Commotions. With literate words and folk-jazz arrangements, Rattlesnakes spent more than a fair amount of of time on my turntable in the early 80s. Or I could pontificate about how in the internet age, even obscure artists could turn their musical gift into a cottage industry of sorts. Or maybe I could write about how Chris Collingwood and Lloyd Cole are friends and live in the same area in the USA.



I rather start with Tim Ellis. Tim is an Aussie Lloyd Cole fan who flew down to Singapore to sell Lloyd’s CDs. Mind you, Tim is a volunteer (!) and does so purely out of his love and passion for Lloyd’s music. Which to me says more about Lloyd’s music than a million press releases and glowing reviews. And… the 52 CDs that Tim brought with him were sold out during the half time interval between Lloyd’s two sets.

So here I am warm in the afterglow of Lloyd’s performance, listening to Lloyd’s recording of his Whelan (in Dublin) gig and whilst the CD is good in its own right, it cannot compare to a special intimate night with Lloyd as he shared songs from his early days with the Commotions, his middle period as a solo artist (and the Negatives) and his newer material.

Certainly, the songs he popularized with the Commotions eg Perfect Skin, Are You Ready to be Heartbroken (which Lloyd actually played twice for the folks who returned late after the break!!), Lost Weekend and the like, go down well with the sold out audience whilst latter-day solo material like My Other Life, Late Night Early Town, Old Enough To Know Better, Undressed, No More Love Songs, Unhappy Song, What’s Wrong With This Picture hit the spot every single time.

Personally, I found the set truly inspiring and its the sort of influential performance that make us musician-types wanna pick up a guitar and start playing. I am richer for having had the experience. Good enough reasons for re-visiting the music of this talented and distinctive singer-songwriter.

Official Site


Pix by Jonathan Kwa.