Catch pairs of friends performing in upcoming Esplanade music gigs

In October, Singaporean Celeste Syn (left) will join Taiwanese Lara Liang to present a cross-border showcase themed around the pursuit of perfection. In November, pop-duo StellaVee (right) will charm audiences with their yet-to-be-released original s
In October, Singaporean Celeste Syn (left) will join Taiwanese Lara Liang to present a cross-border showcase themed around the pursuit of perfection. In November, pop-duo StellaVee (right) will charm audiences with their yet-to-be-released original songs.PHOTOS: ESPLANADE – THEATRES ON THE BAY

SINGAPORE - Spend an evening with two best friends and their music inspired by their everyday lives. Or listen to the stories of two singer-songwriters's quest for perfection.

These are among the offerings at this year's in::music series, part of Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay's efforts to provide a platform for rising Mandopop singer-songwriters.

The series features three showcases, starting on Friday (Aug 30) with local singer song-writers Ruth Kueo and Nat Wu sharing a "wander-ful" evening with original compositions inspired by sights, sounds and storiesculled from their personal journeys.

In October, Singaporean singer-songwriter Celeste Syn will join hands with Taiwanese pop chanteuse Lara Liang to present a cross-border showcase themed around the pursuit of perfection. In the following month, eclectic pop-duo StellaVee will charm audiences with their yet-to-be-released original songs.

The pair - made up of Singaporean singer-songwriters Stella Seah and Vee from homegrown record label Ocean Butterflies Music - tells The Straits Times that they are looking forward to their first ticketed showcase.

Vee, 29, the more boisterous, talkative one, says: "Whether it is a free or ticketed performance, we always try our best. This time, we have our own space and find it more intimate."

Seah, 26, who is more shy and reserved, adds: "Through the show, we also have a story to share - our background, how we formed the group and our current state"

Vee chimes in: "It is a journey everyone can experience when they come to the concert."

They met in 2012 through reality singing competition Sunsilk Academy Fantasia, which Seah won

After the contest, they became best friends and in 2017, formed StellaVee. They have released two Mandarin singles - A Friend Says and Tears From The Sky - and are expected to put out a seven-track album shortly before their Esplanade showcase.

They are coy about the details for the upcoming album and Vee would only say: "All the songs are very relatable. We are usually inspired by our daily lives and conversations with each other.

A Friend Says, for example, is a person who relies on friends for relationship advice. Vee, who wrote the song, explains: "It actually happened to a friend of mine."

She elaborates: "I wondered why when it is not our relationship, we can be so clear about the situation. But when we are in the middle of it, we cannot see (clearly) and always need friends to be honest with us about things which we already know."

Seah adds: "And because we have a very good friendship, we hope the audience will also feel they are our friends - we can share things with, and support and encourage, one another."

Syn, in her 30s, is also ready to take the stage with songs such as Control Freak and Throw You In The River, from her 2015 album Why.

She too will perform with a friend, Liang, 31, whom she met when they were under the same record label a few years ago.

Explaining why they want to explore perfection in the showcase, Syn, who admits she is a "recovering perfectionist", says: "At the worst part of my perfectionism, I would feel that the world was going to crumble if something was not perfect, even if it was just a small thing, and it would drive me insane."

  • in::music - Ruth Kueo & Nat Wu: Parallel

    Where: Esplanade Annexe Studio, 1 Esplanade Drive

    When: Friday (Aug 30), 8pm

    Admission: $20 (free standing)

  • in::music - Celeste Syn & Lara Liang: Farewell Perfection

    Where: Esplanade Annexe Studio

    When: Oct 18, 8pm

    Admission: $20 (free standing)

  • in::music - StellaVee: Say Whaaat?

    Where: Esplanade Annexe Studio

    When: Nov 29, 8pm

    Admission: $20 (free standing)

For example, as a music student, during an exam, she once had to write down notes which a teacher was playing on a piano. She recalls: "When I realised I missed a few notes, I gave up completely because I could not bear to have less than an ideal score. I would rather get zero. I just sat there and cried - I just didn't want to do the exam anymore."

Thankfully, those days are long over. Years later, as she was working on her album, she realised there was beauty in imperfection.

"There were certain times when I played something wrongly, but I kept it in the album because it sounded really good," she adds. "By allowing myself to be slightly imperfect, I discovered new things that I added on to my music."

Through the show, she hopes to reach out to people who might face similar struggles.

"I want people to know that it is (also) about embracing life and all its unexpected twists."

Tickets available from Sistic (call 6348-5555 or go to sistic.com.sg).