SINGAPORE - When Mandopop duo The Freshman released their song Call Me (Not Maybe) in 2016, their fans said they should perform it at the National Day Parade (NDP).
Their wish has come true, with the duo set to perform the English version of the song at the Marina Bay floating platform on Saturday (Aug 21).
Speaking to the media on Thursday, The Freshman - comprising Ms Carrie Yeo, 39, and Ms Chen Diya, 35 - said the lyrics hold additional meaning in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
"When we sang the lyrics that 'We don't live in virtual reality, come let us meet to la kopi' (have coffee), I think (now) we sing it with the hope that that is near," said Ms Chen.
Ms Yeo added that the song was written as a national message to unite people regardless of their ethnicities or backgrounds.
This will be the duo's first time performing at an NDP.
Ms Chen said that the past year has been extremely challenging for her, as she also runs a cafe.
"The biggest challenge is to remain kind throughout this period," she said.
"As artists trying to navigate the pandemic, we've lost gigs, income streams. We hope that people can see that we haven't given up, so they shouldn't either," added Ms Chen, who has been performing for 12 years.
Another NDP debutant singer-songwriter Shye-Anne Brown will be performing this year's hit theme song The Road Ahead.
The song was written by local musicians Linying and Evan Low and its music video has generated more than 2.8 million views on YouTube.
"It's such a simple melody but it somehow pulls on the right heartstrings and it gets stuck in your head," said Ms Brown, a 19-year-old from Lasalle College of the Arts.
"I just felt so much while listening to it... It's just a very uplifting song; I actually want to listen to it sometimes. I think that's the difference because people are saying that they are putting it on their playlists," she said.
She said she has been reflecting on the lines in the song: "Though the road ahead is daunting/I know we're gonna be alright".
Ms Brown said: "After some time, I was like 'Do I know I'm gonna be alright?' because I just told people that I know we're going to be alright."
She added: "This year has taught me that in order to get better or to heal, you need to take that first step.
"Even though I don't know if we're going to be alright, I'm going to start telling myself that I'm going to be OK, and then slowly from there, I'll continue to work towards it because I have a goal now."
About 600 performers are expected to take to the stage at the Marina Bay floating platform for the NDP show segment amid strict Covid-19 measures, with more joining virtually.
The show has been designed to allow viewers to enjoy it from home. Areas around Marina Bay will be closed to the public that day to prevent crowds.
Other musicians performing include Benjamin Kheng, Sezairi Sezali, Yung Raja and Linying.