Karencici performs at Skechers Sundown Festival

Taiwan-based singer-songwriter Karencici will perform in Singapore for the first time tonight at the Skechers Sundown Festival.

The 21-year-old Chinese-American, whose real name is Karen Lam, released her first full-length album, Sha Yan, last December.

Here are five things to know about her.

1. Raised in Hainan and Los Angeles, Lam sings in English and Mandarin on many of the tracks on Sha Yan, a combination of R&B, hip-hop and dancehall music.

"Sha Yan has a lot of genres that you don't typically hear in Chinese music. I wanted to bring both of my cultures together and do a perfect blend," she says.

2. She has composed songs for Mandopop stars, including the 2016 song, Useless, for Hebe Tien, a member of Taiwan girl band S.H.E.

After joining HIM International Music, Karencici was given the chance to pitch songs for labelmate Tien's solo album.

"I wrote three songs in one day and I threw it back to them and thought that they were probably going to say no or something," she says.

"But then, the next day, they said that Hebe likes one of them. It was pretty crazy for me because she was my idol and I listened to her songs when I was young."

3. She found her own voice after a stint as a contestant on reality talent competition Sing! China in 2016, in which she was part of Chinese rock musician Wang Feng's team.

"It was crazy for me because I was 18 and, at the time, I didn't know what I was doing or what music I was into. I was basically doing whatever the directors were telling me to do and they gave me the image of a dark rocker girl," she says.

"When I look back on that, I guess it was a part of me, but it also wasn't who I am. Now, a lot of people say that my album is so different from that past image. I tell them that this is me."

4. People often think she is unapproachable because of her brooding facial expression.

"A lot of people think that I'm mean because my face is straight if I don't smile, so people are scared of me sometimes. But I'm pretty chill.

"If you want to talk to me, just come up and say hi. I'm definitely nice."

5. She draws inspiration for her songs from real life. She sings about a cheating boyfriend on the title track, Sha Yan. The song is, in fact, based on her friend's relationship with "a very bad guy".

"I felt angry, so I wanted to write a song for her and diss this guy," she says.

• Sketchers Sundown Festival ends on Sunday. Go to www.sundownfestival.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 20, 2019, with the headline 'Karencici performs at Skechers Sundown Festival'. Print Edition | Subscribe