New awards for emerging local pop artists

Local pop-rock a capella group The Apex Project at the Next music showcase on Saturday at Max Atria.ST VIDEO: OLIVIA HO
ST VIDEO: OLIVIA HO

SINGAPORE - A new series of awards to recognise emerging local pop acts was launched on Saturday (April 29).

The awards are part of a new initiative, Next, which is a platform to help young artists break into the music scene.

It is part of the Sing50 Fund, which was formed in 2015 to promote and preserve Singapore's music heritage and is supported by The Straits Times and The Business Times.

It showcased 20 acts from newcomers, such as Lew and Lin Si Tong, to established musicians, such as Jack and Rai and Art Fazil over 10 hours on Saturday at Max Atria at the Singapore Expo.

At the event, Sing50 Board of Trustees representative Serene Goh announced that Next will be hosting a series of awards in six categories.

Four recognise the best emerging artist in English, Malay, Chinese and Tamil, while the last two are for best song and best music video.

To qualify, solo performers must be Singaporeans or permanent residents (PR), while for groups, more than half the members must be Singaporeans or PRs. They must have made their debut on a social media or digital platform, such as YouTube, iTunes or Spotify, within the past five years.

The winners will be decided by an advisory committee of established Singapore musicians as well as representatives from music organisations, record labels and industry players.

Members of the public are also invited to suggest nominations at sing50enquiries@gmail.com.

Winners will receive $3,000 each, and the organisers will also explore local and regional platforms for them to perform. The awards will be announced in August.

Pop-jazz a cappella group The Apex Project, which was formed a year ago and is releasing an EP of four original songs in July, welcomed the news of the awards.

Said member Ng Chee Yang, 27, winner of Campus Superstar in 2006: "Competitions are a good way to challenge ourselves and see where you stand among your peers. They should not be the be-all and end-all, but through them we can improve ourselves."

Next is co-produced by non-profit organisation The Rice Company Limited (TRCL), which manages the Sing50 fund, and music companies Unusual Entertainment and Music & Movement Singapore.

TRCL director Tan Tee Tong said: "The music scene in Singapore has become very vibrant with new and emerging artistes for almost every music genre. For artistes to build their presence, it is important to constantly engage and establish new audiences, which is what Next is all about - music, people and communities."

The Next music showcase will run at Max Atria, Singapore Expo, from 11am on April 29 until late. Tickets are $20 per show, available from Sistic (call 6348-5555 or go to www.sistic.com.sg).