SGAG funny girl Annette Lee also sings

The comedienne from the home-grown humour site SGAG, whose real name is Annette Lee, is launching an EP

She is well-known among netizens as the character Sue Ann from local humour site SGAG.

Now, singer-songwriter Annette Lee is starting to make her mark on the music scene too.

The 25-year-old has put out an independently released EP, All Our Achilles Heels.

Comprising five tracks of electronic pop tunes, the EP is out on digital music services such as iTunes and Spotify.

CD copies are available ($9.98 with free MP3 download) through her Facebook page (www.facebook.com/annette rochellelee).

She will launch it with a live show at the Canvas Club in Boat Quay on Nov 4.

The graduate from Nanyang Technological University's (NTU's) School of Art, Design and Media is also an illustrator and film-maker.

She started making music long before she joined SGAG 11/2 years ago, she tells The Sunday Times.

"I've been writing for many years. I wrote my first song when I was 15, but I wanted to reach a point where I really liked my songs before I released anything, so I kept writing and writing, trashing songs that I didn't like and trying to get better at it."

Earlier this year, she travelled to American city Nashville, a music hub also known as Music City.

She spent a week recording with producer brothers Ed and Scott Cash, known for award-winning work with American gospel artists.

Ed won a Best Contemporary Christian Music Album Grammy award in 2012 for And If Our God Is for Us... by American singer Chris Tomlin.

"In terms of recording vocals, it's really important that I flew there," she says.

"I could have used a studio in Singapore and sent tracks, but it wouldn't be the same because when I was there, they were able to tell me exactly how they wanted the parts to feel like."

She declines to reveal how much was spent on producing the EP.

She received a $10,000 grant from the National Arts Council and paid for the rest with her savings.

"Whatever you do in life, at the end of the day, money shouldn't be your goal," she says.

"For me, this is a passion project and definitely not a money thing."

She adds: "If I don't earn anything from it, it's fine because it's more about the stories and messages that I want to tell, things I want to comment on.

"To me, as long as I make art that is able to touch someone or change someone's perceptions or move somebody, that is the most important thing."

The songs on the EP have positive messages.

The title track, for example, is about confronting weaknesses and recognising that everyone is different.

She has sung at venues such as the Esplanade's concourse, local pubs as well as in NTU, but the EP launch will be her biggest performance to date.

It will be a little nerve-wracking, she admits.

"I used to be really afraid of being on a big stage, in front of a huge crowd.

"But I tell myself, 'I have to do this, I have to overcome the fear'."

She will take comfort in the fact that she will not be alone on stage at the launch as she will be backed by an eight-piece band made up of her musician friends.

As for her gig on the humour site SGAG, Lee is more than just a character - she is also the lead writer and director.

While the site has a sizeable following, she says she hardly gets noticed in public, mostly because she rarely wears glasses when she is not playing the role of bespectacled Sue Ann.

It is fine by her because she prefers to remain low-key when she is not singing or in her SGAG character.

"The last few times I wore glasses, people actually recognised me, so I started wearing glasses less," she says.

She adds that there is a lot more for her to explore in the future and she intends to keep working on her art - whether it is singing, songwriting, writing stories or making films.

"I just want to be a better artist to be able to create art that keeps getting better."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 29, 2017, with the headline 'Funny girl also sings'. Print Edition | Subscribe