Singaporean musicians, personalities, DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam react to David Bowie's death

British pop star David Bowie performing on stage during his concert in Vienna on Feb 4, 1996.
British pop star David Bowie performing on stage during his concert in Vienna on Feb 4, 1996.PHOTO: REUTERS

Dick Lee, Cultural Medallion recipient, singer, composer, songwriter:

"He was my idol. All I can say is that a legend has left us. He was my biggest inspiration when I was a teenager, he inspired me to follow my own path. I painted my nails like him, to my parents' horror, and my hair was cut spiky just like his.

I covered his song Rebel Rebel on my 1974 debut album, although now I think it sounded horrific - I'm so ashamed, I feel now that I should have done more for the song. The album producer wanted it on the album to show my 'rock' side.

"I've also performed his songs at concerts and used them at fashion shows."

Chris Ho, also known as X'ho, DJ, singer and songwriter:

"I surprised myself by crying at the news of his death. I didn't think it would hit me this way because I kind of lost interest in him after a while, and I wasn't really won over by his 2013 album, The Next Day.

But I grew up on Bowie, he was the biggest influence on me during the 1970s. Not many people were into Bowie in Singapore, his music was restricted on air and so were his music videos.

When his 1977 album, Low, came out the record company did not even bring it in so I had to track it down by parallel import.

I interviewed him when he first came to Singapore to perform at the National Stadium, in 1983 for the Serious Moonlight Tour. He was a very warm and genuine person, he had no airs whatsoever. The big, huge ones have no airs, like him and Mick Jagger. He was really nice to talk to.

On the first television show that I hosted, The Sony Betamax Show, I pushed for his music videos from his album Lodger (1979) to be screened but the producer said they couldn't air them because they weren't family entertainment.

One time, when I went back to Singapore Armed Forces' (SAF) Music and Drama Company (MDC) for reservist, I even did a performance, a dance to his song, The Secret Life Of Arabia, from his album Heroes (1977).

I think a lot of people think that I sing like Bowie, although I'd like to think that I'm more like Velvet Underground singer Lou Reed."

Adrian Pang, actor, on sharing a scene with David Bowie in 1999 British gangster film Everybody Loves Sunshine:

"In my very brief encounter, he certainly came across as a very warm, very sweet, very kind gentleman. He was the epitome of class, elegance and grace and authenticity right to the very core.

"I had the privilege of meeting him again a few years ago when he played a show in Singapore. I got to say hello to him backstage. He was just the sweetest, sweetest guy, very self-deprecating and just very genuine.

I have been a fan of his music since my early teens, I got introduced to his music in the middle of his varied career, and by that time I had a little bit of catching up to do.

To be honest, I haven't really processed that he's gone. I am on my way to New York now actually. There is a musical based on his music and I am hoping to be able to catch it while I am there."

Inch Chua, singer and songwriter:

"David Bowie is one of the most unique and prolific artist that ever lived. He's courageous in all aspects of his life and he has such sensitivity to humanity."

"Bowie's body of work taught me to love and understand theatrics in music, as well as develop an appreciation for fantasy, sci-fi and unworldly things.

"He is beautifully odd, as he is. His music and artistry are the reason why I am the artist that I am."

"He is continuously putting out work after work. It's easy for legends to stop producing work after a point, because they want to 'protect' their legacy. but David Bowie was one of those people who continued to put out compelling work as long as he had something to say. His work goes beyond generations."

Lim Teck Kheng, Universal Music Singapore's head of artist and repertoire:

"Bowie was a "pop chameleon" whose music pushed boundaries and had an impact on several generations of musicians and music fans.

"His death is so unexpected. I have been a fan of Bowie's music since my teenage years. Back then, I was into all kinds of alternative music, from goth to industrial, but when a friend introduced me to Starman, a song from Bowie's landmark 1972 album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, I was blown away.

My experimental band back then, Kim, we used to cover another Bowie song, Space Oddity, at our gigs. Tonight at home, I'm going to pull out my Bowie albums on vinyl, and listen and appreciate the music and lyrics."

Eddie Sung, rock photographer and David Bowie fan:

"Bowie was a changeling in the fashion and music spectrum. He pushed the creative envelope, then would decide to tear it up and create something totally new and awesome. He hit the charts in the late 1970s and his latest album Blackstar was just released. He was creative right to his end days. Bowie gave us five decades of solid music.

As expected, Bowie lived and died in his own times, he was stellar to the end. He must have known he was dying and only he knows why his album is titled Blackstar. That album's final track was titled I Can't Give Everything Away and that's akin to the Beatles' final album track on Abbey Road being The End. A suitable Bowie closure to an awesome music career."

Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister

"Musical genius of a generation. David Bowie, born Jan 1947, raised in Brixton, London. Died 11 Jan 2016 from cancer."