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'It' boy Benjamin Kheng on a roll in music and on stage

The guitarist, vocalist and songwriter has his feet planted firmly in both the theatre and music industries, but he seems almost surprised at his own success, armed with a firm grip on reality and a healthy dose of self-awareness.

Published on Apr 21, 2014 1:45 PM

There is just something about singer-actor Benjamin Kheng that exudes effortless hipster chic.

The 23-year-old sweeps into Costa Coffee at VivoCity with some sort of cardigan-scarf hybrid around his neck. His hair, buzzed at the sides but long and slicked back down the middle, is the sort of with-it hairstyle that would launch a thousand eager copycats. Wooden bracelets clack around his wrist.

One gets the sense that he can't help it. He's just... cool.

"It's time to get rid of this creature," he declares as he runs his fingers through his mop of hair which, by the time you read this, would have been shorn off for his lead role in the army musical Ah Boys To Men.

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Background story

My life so far

"The media might call us the indie-folk band, but in the indie circuit, we're known as the most commercial thing ever. But we love it because you get the best of both worlds. You get to keep that cred and be relatable."

On how his band, The Sam Willows (Kheng with sister Narelle and friends Sandra Tang and Jonathan Chua), are perceived

“The biggest thing I realised was that they all loved it so much. They’ve all bled for this craft. And I realised if I wanted to get into it, I would have to pay my dues.”

On meeting and performing with his favourite local actors

“No matter what you do, even if it’s a bad product, they still like you, which is dangerous. It makes you complacent as a performer.”

On reacting to fans

“I do enjoy both. I’d like to be a Lim Kay Siu and a Lim Kay Tong, if that makes sense. They’re amazing.”

On whether he prefers to perform on screen or on stage