Live music is back in Singapore. Now what? Artists have their say

Hear from Singaporean musicians, DJs and organisers as they reflect on the devastating impact of the pandemic on the country’s music scene – and share their hopes for what lies ahead

In partnership with SGMUSO

After two years, live music has returned to Singapore in a big way. In March, concertgoers rejoiced as the government announced live music could return to all venues, and in late April nightclubs were allowed to resume business. It feels like Singapore has reached the light at the end of a long, exhausting tunnel.

At the end of March 2022, NME Asia and SGMUSO sat down with eight Singaporean artists to take stock of the coronavirus pandemic and the marks it has left on the country’s music scene and creative industry. Speaking before the curb on live music was lifted, these artists – among them seasoned live performers, record label owners and venue operators – were candid about the damage done: Artists’ careers have stalled, venues have shuttered and talent has bled out of the scene.

At the same time, they were cautiously hopeful about the future, whether they saw Singapore’s potential to build a music-loving culture or were anticipating the one-of-a-kind energy of a live show before a rowdy audience. Key to rebuilding Singapore’s music scene, they agreed, are audiences and music fans, whose curiosity and passion will help unlock brighter futures for local artists. They also discussed other strategies, such as engaging with government to create opportunities for local music and creating new platforms for artists.

This series “Live music is back in Singapore. Now what?” is a partnership between NME Asia and SGMUSO, a charity that envisions a vibrant and viable Singapore music ecosystem where our music people can improve the lives of Singapore communities. In 2021, SGMUSO began funds to support music people affected by the pandemic to pay off bills and costs of daily living, and to support musicians who lost gig opportunities due to COVID-19. With this series, SGMUSO renews its commitment to sparking conversation and building community among music people.

Watch all videos in this series below, and join the conversation on SGMUSO and NME Asia’s Instagram accounts.

NME Asia x SGMUSO present: Live music is finally back in Singapore. Now what? Artists discuss

Live music is finally returning to the city-state of Singapore after two long, silent years. As stages light up again and the concert calendar refills, NME Asia and SG MUSO invite artists to take the pulse of Singapore’s music scene and talk candidly about the damage done and the problems that still lie ahead. In this first video of this series “Live music is finally back in Singapore. Now what?”, hear from Daniel Sid Music, inch, FUNK BSTRD and Dreebsby as they reflect on the devastating impact of the pandemic on musicians’ lives and careers, and share their hopes for the country’s music scene as it restarts again.This series is a partnership between NME Asia and SGMUSO, a charity that envisions a vibrant and viable Singapore music ecosystem where our music people can improve the lives of Singapore communities. In 2021, SGMUSO began funds to support music people affected by the pandemic to pay off bills and costs of daily living, and to support musicians who lost gig opportunities due to COVID-19.Director: Karen GweeAccount Manager: Danielle KohProject Manager: Charlotte WortProduction House: Hei StudioAnimation & Motion Graphics: Liting NgCamera Operator: Aaron Andrew Ang, Matthew Judah OwyongSound Recordist: Nur Bibiyana HussainThis video was shot in adherence to prevailing Safe Management Measures.

Posted by NME on Thursday, April 14, 2022

 

Daniel Sid, Inch Chua, Dean Chew and Dreebsby

Daniel Sid, Inch Chua, Dean Chew and Dreebsby come together to discuss what losing momentum can do to an artist, how the pandemic brought failing systems in music and society at large into sharp relief, and the chilling effect of pandemic regulations on ‘safe’ live performances.

NME Asia x SGMUSO present: Live music is finally back in Singapore. Now what? Artists reflect

Live music is finally returning to the city-state of Singapore after two long, silent years. As stages light up again and the concert calendar refills, NME Asia and SGMUSO invite artists to take the pulse of Singapore’s music scene and talk candidly about the damage done and the problems that still lie ahead.In the final video of this series “Live music is finally back in Singapore. Now what?”, hear from SGMUSO fund beneficiaries Daniel Sid, Dreebsby and NyaLi as they discuss the detrimental impact of the pandemic on Singapore’s music scene and how they’re feeling as restrictions ease and gigs return.This series is a partnership between NME Asia and SGMUSO, a charity that envisions a vibrant and viable Singapore music ecosystem where our music people can improve the lives of Singapore communities. In 2021, SGMUSO began funds to support music people affected by the pandemic to pay off bills and costs of daily living, and to support musicians who lost gig opportunities due to COVID-19. With this series, SGMUSO renews its commitment to sparking conversation and building community among music people.Director: Karen GweeAccount Manager: Danielle KohProject Manager: Charlotte WortProduction House: Hei StudioAnimation & Motion Graphics: Liting NgCamera Operator: Aaron Andrew Ang, Matthew Judah OwyongSound Recordist: Nur Bibiyana HussainThis video was shot in adherence to prevailing Safe Management Measures.

Posted by NME on Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Dreebsby, NyaLi and Daniel Sid

Dreebsby, NyaLi and Daniel Sid are three Singapore artists who played livestreams in 2021 with the support of SGMUSO’s Fund-A-Gig campaign. They untangle how the lack of live music for the better part of two years has impacted both them and their audiences – and how Singapore’s music scene can rebound to an international standard.

NME Asia x SGMUSO present: Artist Inch Chua wants Singaporeans to be curious about music

Live music is finally returning to the city-state of Singapore after two long, silent years. As stages light up again and the concert calendar refills, NME Asia and SG MUSO invite artists to take the pulse of Singapore’s music scene and talk candidly about the damage done and the problems that still lie ahead. For this series “Live music is finally back in Singapore. Now what?”, we speak to multi-hyphenate inch, who during the heart of the pandemic hit pause on music to briefly work sanitation in migrant workers’ dormitories. She shares more about the experience and how Singaporeans can support artists by being open-minded and curious about new creative experiences.Inch also joined fellow Singapore musicians Daniel Sid Music, FUNK BSTRD and Dreebsby to discuss the devastating impact of the pandemic on musicians’ lives and careers, and share their hopes for the country’s music scene as it restarts again. Watch that conversation here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1213938582475251This series is a partnership between NME Asia and SGMUSO, a charity that envisions a vibrant and viable Singapore music ecosystem where our music people can improve the lives of Singapore communities. In 2021, SGMUSO began funds to support music people affected by the pandemic to pay off bills and costs of daily living, and to support musicians who lost gig opportunities due to COVID-19. With this series, SGMUSO renews its commitment to sparking conversation and building community among music people.Director: Karen GweeAccount Manager: Danielle KohProject Manager: Charlotte WortProduction House: Hei Studio Animation & Motion Graphics: Liting NgCamera Operator: Aaron Andrew Ang, Matthew Judah OwyongSound Recordist: Nur Bibiyana HussainThis video was shot in adherence to prevailing Safe Management Measures.

Posted by NME on Monday, April 18, 2022

 

Inch Chua, singer-songwriter

During the heart of the pandemic, singer-songwriter Inch Chua hit pause on music to briefly work sanitation in migrant workers’ dormitories. She shares more about the experience and how Singaporeans can support artists by being open-minded and curious about new creative experiences.

NME Asia x SGMUSO present: DJ Dean Chew on what Singapore music needs to thrive

Live music is finally returning to the city-state of Singapore after two long, silent years. As stages light up again and the concert calendar refills, NME Asia and SG MUSO invite artists to take the pulse of Singapore’s music scene and talk candidly about the damage done and the problems that still lie ahead. For this series “Live music is finally back in Singapore. Now what?”, we spotlight Dean Chew (FUNK BSTRD), a veteran DJ who is the co-founder of the record label Darker Than Wax and the listening bar and restaurant Offtrack, which opened during the pandemic. Dean shares his thoughts on how Singapore can harness the “raw energy” that courses through every society to get live music back up and thriving in the city again.Dean also joined fellow Singapore musicians Daniel Sid Music, inch and Dreebsby to discuss the devastating impact of the pandemic on musicians’ lives and careers, and share their hopes for the country’s music scene as it restarts again. Watch that conversation here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1213938582475251This series is a partnership between NME Asia and SGMUSO, a charity that envisions a vibrant and viable Singapore music ecosystem where our music people can improve the lives of Singapore communities. In 2021, SGMUSO began funds to support music people affected by the pandemic to pay off bills and costs of daily living, and to support musicians who lost gig opportunities due to COVID-19. With this series, SGMUSO renews its commitment to sparking conversation and building community among music people.Director: Karen GweeAccount Manager: Danielle KohProject Manager: Charlotte WortProduction House: Hei Studio Animation & Motion Graphics: Liting NgCamera Operator: Aaron Andrew Ang, Matthew Judah OwyongSound Recordist: Nur Bibiyana HussainThis video was shot in adherence to prevailing Safe Management Measures.

Posted by NME on Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Dean Chew, DJ and co-founder of Darker Than Wax and Offtrack

Dean Chew, veteran DJ and co-founder of record label Darker Than Wax and music-centric bar and restaurant Offtrack, shares his experience collaborating with government and his thoughts on how Singapore can harness the “raw energy” that courses through every society to get live music back up and thriving in the city again.

NME Asia x SGMUSO present: Singer Daniel Sid wants a music-loving culture in Singapore

Live music is finally returning to the city-state of Singapore after two long, silent years. As stages light up again and the concert calendar refills, NME Asia and SG MUSO invite artists to take the pulse of Singapore’s music scene and talk candidly about the damage done and the problems that still lie ahead. For this series “Live music is finally back in Singapore. Now what?”, we speak to singer-songwriter and live performer Daniel Sid Music. After playing some 200 shows at home and abroad in 2019, Daniel had his touring momentum brutally halted by COVID-19. He reflects on how talent has bled out of Singapore’s music community due to the pandemic – and the urgency of cultivating a culture fuelled by enthusiastic supporters of art and music.Daniel also joined fellow Singapore musicians Inch Chua, Dean Chew and Dreebsby to discuss the devastating impact of the pandemic on musicians’ lives and careers, and share their hopes for the country’s music scene as it restarts again. Watch that conversation here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1213938582475251This series is a partnership between NME Asia and SGMUSO, a charity that envisions a vibrant and viable Singapore music ecosystem where our music people can improve the lives of Singapore communities. In 2021, SGMUSO began funds to support music people affected by the pandemic to pay off bills and costs of daily living, and to support musicians who lost gig opportunities due to COVID-19. With this series, SGMUSO renews its commitment to sparking conversation and building community among music people.Director: Karen GweeAccount Manager: Danielle KohProject Manager: Charlotte WortProduction House: Hei Studio Animation & Motion Graphics: Liting NgCamera Operator: Aaron Andrew Ang, Matthew Judah OwyongSound Recordist: Nur Bibiyana HussainThis video was shot in adherence to prevailing Safe Management Measures.

Posted by NME on Thursday, April 21, 2022

Daniel Sid, singer-songwriter

After playing some 200 shows at home and abroad in 2019, Daniel Sid had his touring momentum brutally halted by COVID-19. He reflects on how talent has bled out of Singapore’s music community due to the pandemic – and the urgency of cultivating a culture fuelled by enthusiastic supporters of art and music.

NME Asia x SGMUSO present: Shirlyn & the UnXpected on Singaporean entertainers’ uncertain future

Live music is finally returning to the city-state of Singapore after two long, silent years. As stages light up again and the concert calendar refills, NME Asia and SGMUSO invite artists to take the pulse of Singapore’s music scene and talk candidly about the damage done and the problems that still lie ahead. For this series “Live music is finally back in Singapore. Now what?”, we hear from Shirlyn Tan, frontwoman of the scene stalwarts Shirlyn & The UnXpected. The “magic” of the live music experience is reenergising Singapore once again, but as Shirlyn points out, it’s a bittersweet time: we’ve lost beloved venues and the state of live musicians’ rates remains precarious.This series is a partnership between NME Asia and SGMUSO, a charity that envisions a vibrant and viable Singapore music ecosystem where our music people can improve the lives of Singapore communities. In 2021, SGMUSO began funds to support music people affected by the pandemic to pay off bills and costs of daily living, and to support musicians who lost gig opportunities due to COVID-19. With this series, SGMUSO renews its commitment to sparking conversation and building community among music people.Director: Karen GweeAccount Manager: Danielle KohProject Manager: Charlotte WortProduction House: Hei Studio Animation & Motion Graphics: Liting NgCamera Operator: Aaron Andrew Ang, Matthew Judah OwyongSound Recordist: Nur Bibiyana HussainThis video was shot in adherence to prevailing Safe Management Measures.

Posted by NME on Monday, April 25, 2022

Shirlyn Tan, vocalist of Shirlyn & The UnXpected

Shirlyn Tan, frontwoman of scene stalwarts Shirlyn & The UnXpected, explains why it’s a bittersweet time: The “magic” of the live music experience is reenergising Singapore once again, but we’ve lost beloved venues, and performers’ livelihoods remain precarious.

NME Asia x SGMUSO present: Lithe House co-founder Anvea Chieu on the importance of small music venues

Live music is finally returning to the city-state of Singapore after two long, silent years. As stages light up again and the concert calendar refills, NME Asia and SG MUSO invite artists to take the pulse of Singapore’s music scene and talk candidly about the damage done and the problems that still lie ahead. For this series “Live music is finally back in Singapore. Now what?”, we speak to Anvea Chieu, co-founder of the jamming studio and tiny gig space known as LITHE HOUSE (which as of April 2022 has come under new management and been renamed Lithe.Style). Anvea, who also plays in the band Yumi, shares how Lithe House was forced to crowdfund for its own survival and reflects on the importance of sweaty, intimate live shows to a music scene.This series is a partnership between NME Asia and SGMUSO, a charity that envisions a vibrant and viable Singapore music ecosystem where our music people can improve the lives of Singapore communities. In 2021, SGMUSO began funds to support music people affected by the pandemic to pay off bills and costs of daily living, and to support musicians who lost gig opportunities due to COVID-19. With this series, SGMUSO renews its commitment to sparking conversation and building community among music people.Director: Karen GweeAccount Manager: Danielle KohProject Manager: Charlotte WortProduction House: Hei Studio Animation & Motion Graphics: Liting NgCamera Operator: Aaron Andrew Ang, Matthew Judah OwyongSound Recordist: Nur Bibiyana HussainThis video was shot in adherence to prevailing Safe Management Measures.

Posted by NME on Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Anvea Chieu, co-founder of Lithe House

Anvea Chieu, co-founder of the jamming studio and tiny gig space known as Lithe House (which as of April 2022 has come under new management and been renamed Lithe Style), shares how the beloved DIY space was forced to crowdfund for its own survival and reflects on the importance of sweaty, intimate live shows to a music scene.

NME Asia x SGMUSO present: Singapore rock band Saints Amongst Sinners on the power of live music

Live music is finally returning to the city-state of Singapore after two long, silent years. As stages light up again and the concert calendar refills, NME Asia and SG MUSO invite artists to take the pulse of Singapore’s music scene and talk candidly about the damage done and the problems that still lie ahead. For this series “Live music is finally back in Singapore. Now what?”, Mateen, vocalist of the Singaporean indie/psychedelic band Saints Amongst Sinners, tells NME: “For us, all roads lead up to the live show.” So it was no wonder that the seven-member band were hit hard by the pandemic. Mateen, who also helps run the local label Allure Records, reflects on the current state of Singapore music and the silver linings of COVID-19.This series is a partnership between NME Asia and SGMUSO, a charity that envisions a vibrant and viable Singapore music ecosystem where our music people can improve the lives of Singapore communities. In 2021, SGMUSO began funds to support music people affected by the pandemic to pay off bills and costs of daily living, and to support musicians who lost gig opportunities due to COVID-19. With this series, SGMUSO renews its commitment to sparking conversation and building community among music people.Director: Karen GweeAccount Manager: Danielle KohProject Manager: Charlotte WortProduction House: Hei Studio Animation & Motion Graphics: Liting NgCamera Operator: Aaron Andrew Ang, Matthew Judah OwyongSound Recordist: Nur Bibiyana HussainThis video was shot in adherence to prevailing Safe Management Measures.

Posted by NME on Thursday, April 28, 2022

Mateen, vocalist of Saints Amongst Sinners

“For us, all roads lead up to the live show,” explains Mateen, vocalist of Singaporean indie/psychedelic band Saints Amongst Sinners. So it was no wonder that the seven-piece group were hit hard by the pandemic. Mateen, who also helps run the local label Allure Records, reflects on the current state of Singapore music and the silver linings of COVID-19.

Watch the series “Live music is back in Singapore. Now what?” in its entirety here and join in the conversation on SGMUSO and NME Asia’s Instagram accounts

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