Tall Mountains/Sydney Yeo by Xin Zhe Toh


I am constantly (pleasantly) surprised by the sheer volume of songwriting and performing talent that we have here in Singapore. Despite our inhospitable arts climate, our singer-songwriter-musicians continue to believe in themselves and their own music and against all odds, thrive.

What these talents need is a platform. Which is what I had hoped to achieve with SING A NEW SONG. Glad to report that the first edition (in what I desire to be a regular series) yesterday afternoon at the Library @ Esplanade went down even better than I had expected. Although the size of the audience fluctuated throughout the five-odd hours, there was enough of a critical mass of appreciation and support to adjudge the event as a success.

I had ‘gambled’ a little on Tall Mountains and The Sam Willows – basing their inclusions on videos and demo recordings – but I was so blown away by both artists – by the exciting potential that so obviously exists. In the former case, Tall Mountains (aka Sydney Yeo) charmed her way into my heart with her songs, singing, words and winning personality and in the latter case, The Sam Willows (viz Ben, Jon, Narelle & Sandra) demonstrated a commitment to the music and the event – being there for other artists, bringing a big group of friends, family and fans and ultimately delivering a intriguing set that was once casual and accomplished. Two artists to certainly look out for in the immediate future!

For artists I had worked with before – Celina Foo (my former Noise apprentice) and Vicki Ho (together with her band Tricks & Cider) it was a case of marveling at the development of craft unfolding before my eyes. Celina had not been performing for a while but that was not too apparent as she was ably backed by Jared Oh (cajon) and Eugene Huang (guitar) and performed two exciting new songs as well. Tricks & Cider (with Karen Lee on piano and David Liu on drums), on the other hand, play regularly and there was a definite chemistry in how they communicated their original musical ideas, favouring the classic singer-songwriter era of the 70s, with Vicki’s vocals the highlight.

Lydia Low by Xin Zhe Toh

Last but not least, the two KAMCO Music artists Maricelle Wong and Lydia Low closed out the evening with characteristically interesting sets. Maricelle captivated the audience with her heartfelt words and mesmerizing voice whilst Lydia (with Roy on cajon) delivered strongly with an edgy, angry and dynamic performance.

I want to thank Library @ Esplanade for giving me the opportunity to organize SING A NEW SONG and would acknowledge the major contribution of Thong Yang (for the invitation) as well as Melissa and Daniel on the day itself. It was a wonderful afternoon of great music with the added bonus of it being made in Singapore!

… still there’s more …


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