New initiative Hear65 to get Singaporeans in tune with local music launched

Nathan Hartono performs at the launch of Hear65 at The Projector on April 24, 2018.
Nathan Hartono performs at the launch of Hear65 at The Projector on April 24, 2018.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO
Shak'thiya performs at the launch of Hear65 at The Projector on April 24, 2018.
Shak'thiya performs at the launch of Hear65 at The Projector on April 24, 2018.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO
Art Fazil performs at the launch of Hear65 at The Projector on April 24, 2018.
Art Fazil performs at the launch of Hear65 at The Projector on April 24, 2018.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

SINGAPORE - When it comes to home-grown singers, Mandopop stars JJ Lin and Stefanie Sun are the most recognisable among Singaporeans, according to a recent National Music Consumption Survey.

But there is far more to local music.

A new initiative, Hear65, aims to get fans to be more familiar with the rich variety of made-in-Singapore music that spans different languages, genres and decades.

Initiated by the National Arts Council (NAC) and produced by music company Bandwagon, the movement is anchored by a website www.hear65.com. Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth Baey Yam Keng launched the movement and website at independent cinema The Projector on Tuesday (April 24).

Designed as a one-stop portal, the website will feature more than 1,800 songs and 350 Singapore artists, as well as articles and videos highlighting music made by Singapore talent.

The director of projects at NAC, Yeow Kai Chai, says: “We want to show great music is being made across generations. That’s why we are appealing to everyone to share their stories, whether as a music lover or as a musician.”

He also adds that NAC will track the project’s progress and Singaporeans’ listenership through its biennial music consumption survey.

Hear65 will also tap several partners to help spread local music, including media companies Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) and Mediacorp, arts venue the Esplanade and independent cinema The Projector.

SPH's chief executive officer Ng Yat Chung says: "SPH has been promoting home-grown music talents through initiatives like the SPH Gift of Music and the SPH Foundation Arts Fund.

"This is another opportunity for us to do our part to support and recognise local music and musicians. Through our multiple media platforms, we hope to promote awareness for this national music movement to a wider audience."

Also, Hear65 will work with Australia's annual Bigsound music festival to feature Singapore acts as part of its industry conferences and performances.

Hear65 was first announced last year (2017) together with the bulk of the results of a music survey of 1,000 citizens and permanent residents conducted by NAC. According to the report, 71 per cent listen to Singaporean music, and two out of three take pride in home-grown artists and songs.

More results were revealed at the launch, such as the most recognised local artists being Lin (41 per cent) and Sun (34 per cent). Other popular acts include Dick Lee, Taufik Batisah, Liang Wern Fook and Shabir.

Younger listeners from 15 to 24 also recognised the more recent wave of pop and indie acts like Gentle Bones and The Sam Willows.

Singer Nathan Hartono, one of the artists who performed at the launch, says that he has been seeing more and younger audiences who are interested in discovering Singapore music.

“To have a platform like Hear65 where you can discover for yourself and find your preferred genre, language, or era - all made in Singapore - it’s unique and eye-opening for me as an artist and as a music fan."