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Articles tagged “singapore

Natalie Hiong — Right at home with music

Posted on February 21, 2014

Photo: Hoong Wei Long

Photo: Hoong Wei Long

Natalie Hiong, SINGAPORE

Independent Singer-Songwriter

Akin to starting a business, kickstarting a professional music career and building a name from scratch is by no means easy. Many would dream to bask in limelight with their favourite music idols, yet few would take a leap to pursue their passion relentlessly and eventually play alongside their idols. Not Natalie Hiong, she traded the bullion for the piano and has never looked back since. Her latest EP, Beautiful Mess, pens a heartfelt rendition of love and ambiguity. Inspired by experiences true to life, nothing is quite perfect. Yet in music, she finds comfort knowing everything can end (or begin) on a good note while she sings.

What inspires you to keep writing and singing songs?

Love and personal experiences in life.

What has been some of your most interesting experiences to date as a singer-songwriter?

Opening for Marie Digby’s concert here in Singapore, writing lyrics for the magic extravaganza show, Incanto, previously shown at Resorts World Sentosa and performing at the MEOW Con Showcase in Austin, Texas.

Who are your muses?

Singer songwriters like Sara Bareilles, Christina Perri and Brooke Fraser.

So you’re a fan of Glee?

Not exactly, but I do admire Rachel Berry (played by Lea Michele) and Finn Hudson (played by the late Cory Monteith) performance in Season 1. That’s as far as I’ve watched for Glee the TV series.


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SPOT ART 2013: The Growing Pains of Young ASEAN Artists

Posted on November 19, 2013

SPOT ART 2013 Singapore is an exhibition that celebrates the best of Southeast Asian art talent, all under the age of 30. Supported by the Ministry of Communication & Information (MCI) and the National Arts Council (NAC), the exhibition illuminates the values of collaboration, partnership, and a genuine attempt to build the foundations of a sustainable visual arts industry in Singapore. Through this collaborative effort, the exhibition and its surrounding dialogue fleshes out the difficulties facing young artists in Singapore, fresh out of school and lacking in mentorship for industry experience. But what the exhibition also offers is a platform for artists in the region to collaborate.

Drawing back to the exhibition itself, the layout is an amalgamation of paintings, illustration, print, installation, and video art. The selection committee is comprised of esteemed curators and experts on contemporary art in Southeast Asia, selecting over 200 works of more than 70 artists (out of 1500 submissions.) The exhibition prides itself on its quality, diversity; and particularly celebrates the fact that it is nestled in one homely spot. As the event organizers themselves mention, the Southeast Asian arts scene tends to be quite fragmented, so the motivation to distill this artistic incubation in one single location is a definitive gesture.


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A Night at the Museum

Posted on October 12, 2013

Oh how the Night Festival inaugurated by the National Museum of Singapore has evolved. By evolved, I refer to the growth and diversification of its audience demographics; as well as the development in its programming. The Singapore Night Festival has developed into one of character, scale, grandeur and vision: and it can truly helm itself as one of the annual peaks one looks out for in the calendar. It was marketed consistently across the nation’s paper spreads, as well as along the transportation lines and systems. Furthermore, it was an intrajectory collaboration between not just statutory boards, but arts hubs, performance collectives, visual artists and bands as well. Held over 2 weekends in August, the Night Festival managed to not just draw in the crowd, but make a unique statement about what constitutes successful and long-term festivalisation.

Projection mapping display at the National Museum.

Projection mapping display at the National Museum.


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Pretty Lights: Singapore's urban metropolis at night

Examining a Contemporary Cityscape Through a Kinder Lens

Posted on August 31, 2013

In Singapore, city planning is conducted in an ivory tower governed by the authorities. One could fully leave the incessant process of tearing down and building for bigger and better horizons to the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) or private property developers such as Far East Organisation and CapitaLand, to name a few. In fact, entering the building of the URA is like visiting the museum of Singapore’s entire city planning history and, in fact, you can gather a repository of historical material from its in-house library. But concept plans and ivory towers hardly capture the spirit of a city, and one should dig deeper into the motivations and influences in a city’s design in order to unravel the nooks and crannies of city planning.
Taking Singapore as a case study, I hope to draw attention to the intricacies of our contemporary cityscape and what these reveal about our culture, in an attempt to view my hometown through a kinder lens and in light of its 48th birthday.

Architectural Geomancy

From conducting an informal research into the design of Marina Bay Sands, Singapore’s casino complex comprising of a luxury mall (with an indoor Vienna-style stream) that directly links to an equally ambitious ArtScience Museum, the wisdom behind the architecture is informed by conventional Fengshui wisdom. Without going into specifics in the confines of this article, one can pursue more information from websites detailing hypotheses in architectural geomancy here and here. It is hard not to imagine some tiger-fisted blueprint being helmed by the likes of Cambridge-educated Harry Lee, who could still heed to the conventional superstitions of the old-school fengshui masters. In any case, ever since returning to Singapore in July 2012, the view of Marina Bay Sands from the Benjamin Sheares Bridge has never been more beautiful.


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Posted on July 31, 2013

oddfellows 02
Photo by Ivan Thomasz

In May 1988, 20-year-old songwriter Patrick Chng entered a jamming studio with two friends, a boombox and a simple plan to record his own tunes and share these with his small circle of indie music fans in Singapore.

His band was The Oddfellows, and the result of those sessions was a cassette EP called “Mild”. This selection of six songs set the template for Singapore’s indie bands from then on: original songs, self produced releases, modest circulation. But more than that, it created a new chapter in the evolution of local pop music.

Over the next few years, against expectations, the band made the magical transformation from underground status to mainstream acclaim. Chris Ho, musician, DJ and music writer, calls The Oddfellows the “true sons of local indie”. He recalls: “They were the first Singapore indie band to top the local Top 10 chart. That does say much about how the band captured the hearts of music-lovers here at a time when support for original-local was at an all-time low.”

Avid fan Ivan Thomasz shared photos of his treasured copy of “Mild” for this article. “It’s been a long time since I last played “Mild” on my old tape deck, and it has brought back a flood of memories, bitter, sour and sweet, from that time,” he writes. “This is testament to the passion, faith, and love that Patrick and his band members (drummer Casey Soo and bassist Stephen Tan) invested in this little tape that is as deceivingly ordinary-looking as the persons who put it together.”

We spoke to Patrick about those pioneering days, twenty-five years ago, and the six songs the kicked off his esteemed career as an indie rocker.

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