The Straits Times has launched a new live music video series called ST Sessions. It aims to introduce to a wider audience popular local acts and bands, along with some international names that visit our shores.
While coverage in ST's Life! pages showcase the print and picture format, ST Sessions will broaden the scope for the bands in video, with accompanying short stories and social media links.
Episode 1: Gentle Bones
ST Sessions kicks off with local boy Gentle Bones. The iTunes Singapore Best New Artist of 2014 is actually a one-man show - singer-songwriter Joel Tan.
Why does he perform as Gentle Bones? He told ST: "Because Joel Tan is pretty common name, you can find it anywhere in Singapore."
Episode 2: Tay Kewei
ST Sessions continues with another local act - the comfortably bilingual Tay Kewei - whose dream is to follow in the footsteps of Mandarin-singing compatriots Stefanie Sun and JJ Lin and make it big in the region.
She performed at the 2014 National Day Parade and was also featured in the music video, We Will Get There & One People, One Nation, One Singapore. Her Mandopop album, Turn Back & Smile, was launched in September 2014, after two earlier albums comprising mostly English covers, with her label S2S.
Episode 3: sub:shaman
Within a year of their formation in 2012, the band conjured up several high-profile gigs that included music festival Baybeats and the Night Festival. They were also one of the local bands selected by Grammy-winning English producer Steve Lillywhite when he was looking for Singapore talents to record for his workshop here in 2013.
The producer behind rock and pop juggernauts like U2 and Jason Mraz, Lillywhite singled out the exceptional singing by synth player and vocalist Chew Wei Shan aka Weish, comparing her to the late nu-soul chanteuse Amy Winehouse.
Episode 4: The Glad Stones
If you haven't heard of The Glad Stones yet, ST Sessions is exactly the platform that aims to introduce Singapore musicians to a wider audience that is constantly exposed to bigger international acts and the massive publicity machines powering them.
In 2013, home-grown indie-folk duo The Glad Stones decided to take their act a little farther from their usual busking haunts around Haji Lane. All the way to the streets of Japan, in fact. Busking in the city of Osaka turned out to be a game-changer for singer-songwriters Marcel Lee Pereira, 33, and Jaye Foo, 22.
Episode 5: Kalei Gamiao
On the small size and four strings of the diminutive ukulele, professional Hawaiian ukulele player Kalei Gamiao, 25, explains: “People don’t expect to hear a lot of sound coming from a ukulele because it’s really small, they think it’s a toy. But you can do so much stuff with it.”
He uses his music to raise funds for charity organisation Music For Life Foundation, which provides instruments to schools in Hawaii, as well as gives workshops to teach youth how to play the ukulele. Gamiao, who was in Singapore in November 2014 to perform at The Cathay’s Ukulele Party for the public, has made it a mission to convince sceptics about the versatility of the ukulele.
Episode 6: In Each Hand A Cutlass
Progressive rock band In Each Hand A Cutlass do not cut corners. Neither do they believe in keeping it simple when it comes to crafting their music.
Like the Kraken, a mythical sea creature their new album is named after, the title track itself is a monster of a tune that sprawls over 20 minutes.
Episode 7: Kenny Khoo
Watch Singapore's Kenny Khoo and how he made a Mandarin music giant-slaying debut in Taiwan.
His pretty-boy-next-door looks have won him many female fans but Khoo does not want to be tagged as a particular type of singer-songwriter. Find out more about this 26-year-old who dreams of having his own concert one day in Singapore.
Episode 8: Neonomora
Indonesian singer Neonomora has a mission - to shatter all stereotypes or preconceived notions of what a female pop singer in her country should look or sound like.
"You don't get to see girls wearing black and singing in Indonesia," the 27-year-old, whose real name is Ratih Suryahutamy, told ST Sessions as she and her band became the first South-east Asian band to be featured in this live music performance series by The Straits Times.
Episode 9: Inch Chua
Since March, singer-songwriter Inch Chua has been staying mostly on Pulau Ubin by herself.
A typical day for her starts from between five and seven in the morning, when the sound of roosters crowing wakes her. She goes for a morning jog and then heads down to the coffee shop near the island's jetty to have breakfast as well as use the Wi-Fi connection there to do administrative work on her laptop for an hour or so.
Episode 10: Mark Bonafide
Mark Subramaniam took his performing moniker Bonafide from the days when he and the first Singapore Idol winner Taufik Batisah - his schoolmate at the Boon Lay Primary and Jurong Secondary schools - performed as R&B/hip-hop duo Bonafide.
While both of them have since focused on their solo careers, they have remained firm friends.