Singer prepares to take to national stage

The last time home-grown singer Robert Fernando performed in front of the nation was 25 years ago, when he sang at the Padang, during Singapore's Silver Jubilee parade.

Since then, the now 56-year-old has been more accustomed to crooning to smaller crowds at National Day celebrations such as the ones in the heartlands.

However, he will again take to the national stage this Sundayand belt out crowd favourites, including the Tamil song Munnaeru Vaalibaa and the familiar tune Count On Me, Singapore, along with other home-grown musicians like Clement Chow and Douglas Oliverio.

Sunday's National Day Parade will be his third. Mr Fernando, who was well known in the 1970s and 1980s for singing in the vocal group Stardust, performed in the 1987 parade as well as in 1990.

He said: "This is a gigantic event. It's really spectacular compared to 1987. There is a great feeling of accomplishment because it feels almost like we have arrived. Everybody is proud to play a part in it."

Fellow performer jazz singer Jacintha Abisheganaden, 57, agreed. "This production is spectacular visually and it is epic... I feel like I'm one with the crowd, and there's a beautiful, still moment when we all sing the National Anthem," she said.

Performing at the NDP is a humbling experience, said Mr Fernando, especially when looking out at the multitude of bright lights in the spectator stands.

"Looking up to the sky and seeing all these 'stars', it's just huge. It's like looking up into the universe. You see the number of people all around you. The surge of energy is overwhelming," he said.

"You feel a sense of pride - you can't not feel it - no matter how disgruntled a person you might be."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 04, 2015, with the headline 'Singer prepares to take to national stage'. Print Edition | Subscribe