Local singer Sylvester Sim of Singapore Idol fame is making a comeback as a performer - a decade after his first and only major release, the Mandarin album Take Flight (2005), and three years after ending his stint as a resident performer at now-defunct Mandopop club Dragonfly.
The 32-year-old, also known as Sly, will be releasing a single next month and plans to follow up with an EP.
Tonight, he will usher in the new year with his fans on a boat at the Singapore River.
He tells The Straits Times: "It will be very meaningful to count down to the new year with my fans. In previous years, I was with strangers because I was performing at countdown shows. This year, I want it to be like a family gathering. We can have fun and sing together."
That moment has kept me going till this day. I have to return to a stage like that.
SYLVESTER SIM on the Singapore Idols final in 2004 where he performed in front of a 10,000-strong audience
Sim, who is an entertainment manager at live music lounge Unplugged in Dempsey Road, hopes to boost support for local talents by returning as a performer.
His new single, which is aptly titled New Hope, is a revamped version of his 2007 ballad Hope. It will be released as a digital single .
For his new EP, he hopes to collaborate with unknown talents.
"Many underrated musicians deserve to get their platform, much more than the stars that can be seen on television or heard on radio nowadays," says Sim, whose debut album sold 23,000 copies.
For starters, he will be holding a contest for aspiring lyricists. The winning entry will be used as the lyrics for a song on the EP.
His single and EP will be released by SGEE Ventures, an events and exhibition organiser which is expanding into talent management. He is a partner in the company, handling the talent arm.
At Unplugged, he has programmed local acts including Singapore Idol contestant Samantha Lee and Project Superstar contestant Benita Cheng.
"It's my call because I'm the manager. I'm glad to have my boss' support. My stage gives singers and reality TV contestants a platform to perform and get recognition," says Sim, who is married to a 31-year-old dance teacher.
He has rarely performed since leaving his six-year stint at Dragonfly in St James Power Station in 2012.
Explaining why he chose to work behind the scenes, he says: "I was upset with the overwhelming support for over-rated musicians. There are not many places that support local acts."
In his own time, however, he continued to work on his music.
He has been penning songs and also lent his vocals to his friend, Mediacorp actor Ian Fang's Mandarin rap number First Attempt, which was released earlier this month.
What keeps Sim going in music is a vivid memory of himself performing at the Singapore Idol final in 2004.
"When I was a kid, I fantasised about performing in a concert while listening to rock music in my dad's car," he recalls.
"In the Singapore Idol finals, I performed in front of a 10,000-strong audience. That moment has kept me going till this day. I have to return to a stage like that."