ST Sessions: Sister's health made musician Tim De Cotta realise importance of his music career

Tim De Cotta is a man on a mission, and that is to create as much music as he can while he is alive. Describing music as his strength, the singer-songwriter reveals the impetus that began his foray into music.

When his sister was sick, singer and musician Tim De Cotta asked himself what he would do if he were to die the next day.

His answer? Play music.

The 31-year-old songwriter appears in the third episode of the third season of ST Sessions, The Straits Times' online video series featuring rising talents in the home-grown music scene performing stripped- down live sets. The video can be viewed at

In it, he recalls the time his sister went through a health issue. "It made me ask the question: 'If I die tomorrow, what is the one thing I'd want to do if I had one more chance to live?' The only answer that was clear and emphatic in my mind was music."

De Cotta is a familiar name and face among the community of neo-soul musicians here. He makes music under his own name, but he also sings and plays the bass in jazz, R&B, hip-hop and funk groups such as L.A.B, Neodominatrix and TAJ.

His life revolves around music. Besides writing songs and performing, he also teaches music. He is active in organising shows and had a hand in events such as Getai Soul, a two-day neo-soul music festival that took place at Pearl's Hill City Park last year.

"Music is an enabler, music is my life," he says.

In the video, he sings and plays the bass on two of his compositions.

The first, Rain, was inspired by how "change is the only constant".

"The song is about us being averse to change, taking too much comfort in what is around us, not asking that many questions."

The second song, Ride, reveals his romantic side. "It was inspired when I was in a car with the woman that I love, just moving around, seeing different things as we spend that time in the car together."

ST Sessions' third season is part of a series of digital video programmes under a partnership between the Info-communications Media Development Authority and Singapore Press Holdings.

The new season features eight acts, including singer-songwriter Lewis Loh and indie band Take Two. A new episode is launched every other Friday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 20, 2017, with the headline 'Music keeps him alive'. Print Edition | Subscribe