Singer Charlie Lim takes on bigger roles in the music scene

Singaporean singer-songwriter Charlie Lim will feature fellow home-grown acts at his Esplanade Concert Hall show. PHOTO: LEE CHANG MING

SINGAPORE – Singaporean Charlie Lim first made his name as a singer-songwriter in 2011, with critically acclaimed albums and even National Day Parade songs under his belt.

The 33-year-old has since been making bigger strides, like taking on more active roles in the development of the home-grown music industry.

Earlier this year, he helped to launch The Great Wave, a tech-based artiste collective, and Decentralised Autonomous Organisation (DAO), a community without centralised leadership that helps musicians collaborate with one another and connect directly with fans.

“With The Great Wave, we’re trying to connect artistes directly with fans and supporters, and also helping to source funding,” says Lim, who was a recipient of the National Arts Council’s (NAC) Young Artist Award in 2021.

“At the same time, we don’t tie anybody down with long recording contracts or management deals,” he adds.

At his upcoming Esplanade Concert Hall show on Friday, Lim will perform with artistes from the collective’s roster, including pop singer Aisyah Aziz and Singapore Symphony Orchestra principal cellist Ng Pei-Sian, as well as newcomers like R&B singer Keyana.

The show is part of the Esplanade’s year-long PopLore programme that celebrates the past, present and future of Singapore music.

Fans who buy the VIP package tickets priced at $80 will get to meet the artistes after the show and also receive a limited-edition gNFT, a type of non-fungible token. Those who buy the artistes’ merchandise will also get the gNFTs.

Backed by his long-time band The Mothership, Lim and the line-up will perform songs released under The Great Wave banner in recent months, including Trade My Heart, which he will do a duet with Keyana. 

Other artistes appearing on the show are singer-songwriters Dru Chen and Umar Sirhan, as well as singer-songwriter-producers Kitty Purrnaz and Yeo, who recently released the collaborative single Little Secret.

Lim and Ng will also perform Utopia Reimagined: Into Dreams, a collaboration they released earlier this year.

The artistes on the show will also play re-arranged versions of their own songs.

“It’s kind of like a super jam with all these special guests coming on board. It’s going to be interesting and exciting,” Lim says of the 110-minute gig.

The Great Wave is not the only thing that has kept Lim – who sang the 2018 NDP theme song, a remake of We Are Singapore – busy.

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He recently launched The Hit Academy Asia together with British musician-producer Sister Bliss, creative community Tileyard London and music publishing company Prolific Songs. The Singapore-based programme offers an online songwriting and music production course.

He is also music director of indiego, a music streaming platform by Mediacorp that puts the focus on local music.

Lim says that watching and listening to local artistes like singer Corrinne May and alternative rock band The Observatory when he was younger inspired him to pursue music as a career.

In the past decade, he has racked up several achievements, such as having his two albums, Time/Space (2015) and Check-Hook (2018), reach No. 1 on the iTunes Singapore album charts.

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Charlie Lim's remake of We Are Singapore, the official National Day Parade theme song for 2018, was the top trending non-music YouTube video in Singapore this year.

In 2017, he was named Young Songwriter of the Year at the Compass (Composers and Authors Society of Singapore) awards. In 2021, he won the Indie/Alternative Artist of the Year prize at the Youth Music Awards. That year, members of Compass voted him into its board of directors.

Taking on music projects and roles is his way of giving back to the home-grown music community, he says.

“We need to make use of new tools and media to reach out to a wider and younger audience, and hopefully, an international audience,” he adds. “Let them know that there is actually a lot of local talent here in our own backyard and we should be proud of this.”

Charlie Lim & The Great Wave

Where: Esplanade Concert Hall, 1 Esplanade Drive
When: Friday, 7.30pm
Admission: From $40 via Sistic (go to https://str.sg/wKU3 or call 6348-5555)

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