Aiming to take Coliseum show abroad

(From far left) Benjamin and Narelle Kheng, Sandra Riley Tang and Jonathan Chua of The Sam Willows will be performing at The Coliseum on Friday.
(From far left) Benjamin and Narelle Kheng, Sandra Riley Tang and Jonathan Chua of The Sam Willows will be performing at The Coliseum on Friday.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

If anyone had thought The Sam Willows were just another indietype local band, their concert on Friday at The Coliseum will shelve those impressions.

Not only will the quartet be backed by six session musicians, but they will also have four dancers doing choreographed routines.

The Sam Willows are pulling out all the stops to make their biggest show to date a memorable one for their fans.

Singer and musician Sandra Riley Tang, 25, says: "The concert is kind of like a milestone of where we are at now, something to show every piece of us. We want to celebrate what we've done so far ."

Guitarist and singer Jonathan Chua, 26, adds: "We're constantly doing something, it's rare that we sit down and ask ourselves, 'What have we done these last few years?' This concert is that feeling put together into one night."

Singer and musician Benjamin Kheng, 25, says the show is something they have wanted to do for a long time. "The idea is all ours, we've always wanted to do this concert since we released our album."

The band's debut album, Take Heart, came out in October last year and has sold 3,000 copies and chalked up more than 13 million streams on Spotify. The singles also made it to the charts on local radio station 987FM: Take Heart went to No. 1, For Love peaked at No. 2 and All Time High reached No. 6.

Even a knee injury that Kheng suffered recently is not going to stop him from giving his all, he says.

Formed in 2012, The Sam Willows, which also include Benjamin's sister Narelle, 22, have steadily risen to become one of the home-grown English music scene's most popular groups.

Besides making music with the band, the members are also busy with their own creative works.

Narelle will make her Kollywood debut in upcoming Tamil film Parandhu Sella Vaa, which features both Indian and Singaporean cast and crew and is shot and set in Singapore. In late May, she released her solo debut single and music video, Some They Lie.

Tang recently made her directorial debut on a music video, Mousedeer, for singer-songwriter Inch Chua. It was filmed in the rural setting of Pulau Ubin. She also runs a yoga business, The Yoga Co.

Kheng acts in theatre and TV and makes music with many fellow local artists, most recently collaborating with rapper TheLionCityBoy on his new single, Yaya. Jonathan Chua runs his own music and audio production studio, Zendyll.

The band have also been making inroads into the South-east Asian music scene recently. A ticketed gig in Kuala Lumpur in March attracted 500 fans and the band also played two shows in Manila in May, one of which was in support of British girl group Little Mix. The band also opened for Little Mix's gig in Singapore.

Plans are afoot for more shows to build their regional fan base.

Chua says: "What we hope to do is to take this Coliseum concert and use the same arrangements and take it to other cities such as Jakarta, Manila and KL and hopefully cities in Australia as well."

Eddino Abdul Hadi

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 20, 2016, with the headline 'Aiming to take Coliseum show abroad'. Print Edition | Subscribe