Winners at inaugural NEXT Music Awards include The Sam Willows, Gentle Bones and Kenny Khoo

Pop band The Sam Willows won Best Song for Save Myself at the NEXT Music Awards, a new local initiative that recognises new pop artists who sing in the four main languages.
Pop band The Sam Willows won Best Song for Save Myself at the NEXT Music Awards, a new local initiative that recognises new pop artists who sing in the four main languages.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singapore's rising music talents were feted at the inaugural NEXT Music Awards, a new initiative that recognises new pop artists who sing in the four main languages, at the Pavilion @ Far East Square on Thursday (Nov30).

Pop band The Sam Willows won Best Song for Save Myself, a single which was released in July and will be included in their second album to be released next year.

Singer and musician Sandra Riley Tang, 26, who collected the award with bandmate Jonathan Chua, 27, said the win was "humbling".

"This music award is important, not just for ourselves, but also for the whole local music scene. We all help each other and push each other."

Singer-songwriter Gentle Bones, whose real name is Joel Tan, was named Best Emerging Act (English) while singer Kenny Khoo was Best Emerging Act (Chinese).

The Best Emerging Act (Malay) prize went to singer Aisyah Aziz while Best Emerging Act (Tamil) was conferred on singer Suthasini. Aisyah performed recent single Mimpi while Suthasini sang a new song, Kaatrile, at the ceremony.

Singer-songwriter Linying won the Best Music Video prize for the clip to her song Sticky Leaves, which was directed and produced by fashion photographer Lenne Chai.

Each winner took home $3,000 in cash and a trophy. The nominees are all artists who made their debut in the last five years.

The results were decided by a committee that comprises prominent names in the music industry. These include Cultural Medallion recipient, singer and composer Dick Lee, veteran entertainer Najip Ali, the Musicians Guild of Singapore chairman and composer Professor Bernard Tan and music director, composer and musician Mohamed Raffee.

The committee is led by Ms Serene Goh, advisory board member of the Sing50 Fund and head of content lab, Singapore Press Holdings.

The awards are 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.

The event is co-organised by non-profit arts organisation, The Rice Company, which manages the Sing50 fund; its subsidiary Global Cultural Alliance and entertainment companies Music & Movement and Unusual.

The Rice Company's director, Mr Tan Tee Tong, said that there are plans to make the NEXT awards an annual affair.

"It bodes well for the Singapore music scene that we have so many talented young artists. Through these awards, we want to give prominence to their achievements and give them the recognition that they deserve."