Contemporary Singapore pop music reaches US audiences through Pandora

Singaporean pop music from acts such as Gentle Bones (left), Nathan Hartono (centre) and Linying will reach American audiences who subscribe to the Internet radio service Pandora.
Singaporean pop music from acts such as Gentle Bones (left), Nathan Hartono (centre) and Linying will reach American audiences who subscribe to the Internet radio service Pandora.PHOTO: UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP, ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Some of the best contemporary Singaporean pop music from acts such as Gentle Bones, Nathan Hartono and Linying will reach American audiences who subscribe to the Internet radio service Pandora.

Pandora launched its dedicated Singapore station on Tuesday night (Nov 22), featuring about 90 songs by 30 home-grown acts including multi-instrumentalist Charlie Lim, local grindcore music group Wormrot and rapper TheLionCityBoy.

Lim says that the artists represented on the playlist are a "nice, broad sample that encapsulates how diverse our scene is even though we're such a small country.

"Everyone has got their own thing going," adds the 28-year-old whose sophomore release, Time/Space, has just been released on vinyl.

In voiceovers that will accompany some songs, some of the musicians will answer questions relating to how everyday experiences in Singapore influence and fuel their creative process.

Pandora is currently available in the United States, Australia and New Zealand. It offers only music in English and Spanish, hence only Singapore artists who produce English-language music have been chosen to be featured.

Its dedicated Singapore radio station is a collaboration with Singapore Tourism Board (STB), with the acts curated by The Music Society, Singapore (SGMUSO).

SGMUSO vice president Mohamed Shahid Isahak, 34, says the aim was to select the "best and brightest and most surprising that Singapore has to offer".

While there were the obvious choices such as Gentle Bones and The Sam Willows who have large followings, the collaborators also drew on the feedback from last year's Singapore Inside Out campaign, which showcased cross-disciplinary facets of Singapore's arts, food and fashion in countries such as Beijing, London and New York .

Shahid says: "We learnt there was sincere excitement in non-pop music forms such as metal, hip-hop and electronic music by Caracal, TheLionCityBoy and Darker Than Wax respectively."

He hopes that the involvement with Pandora will provide home-grown artists "one more opportunity to tap into the biggest and most competitive music market in the world".

Lim adds: "It's also every musician's dream to have their work resonate with new fans from different places, so being featured on a platform like Pandora can only help to create more potential and awareness."

For STB, the collaboration with Pandora - like its tie-up with US-based rideshare app Lyft to give away free flights to Singapore from the US - is in support of non-stop flights between San Francisco and Singapore that started on Singapore Airlines and United Airlines earlier this year.

Ms Kershing Goh, regional director of Americas, Singapore Tourism Board, says: "Through tie-ups with unconventional West Coast brands which share like-minded consumer audiences, we hope to present the authentic voice of Singapore through our artists."

anjalir@sph.com.sg