Parade song for and about S'poreans

SPH Brightcove Video
It takes more than talent to write a song for Singapore. Lyricist and singer Jay Lim explains what it takes to write the NDP 2017 theme song.
Musician Jay Lim said the lyrics he wrote for this year's National Day song, Because It's Singapore!, were inspired by the everyday lives of Singaporeans living together in harmony.
Musician Jay Lim said the lyrics he wrote for this year's National Day song, Because It's Singapore!, were inspired by the everyday lives of Singaporeans living together in harmony. ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

NDP song 'simple enough so everyone can sing it'

It has always been Jay Lim's childhood dream to write or compose a National Day song.

The musician will get to do just that this year.

The National Day Parade 2017 theme song, Because It's Singapore!, was jointly produced by Lim and veteran composer Lee Wei Song, 51.

Speaking at a media conference yesterday where the NDP 2017 theme, logo and song were announced, Lim said: "It's a great honour to write a song for NDP; it's every Singapore musician's dream."

He said the song was inspired by the everyday lives of Singaporeans living together in harmony. It is the first time he and Lee are involved in the NDP, and they hope to touch the hearts of fellow citizens with their composition.

Yesterday, Lim performed the song publicly for the first time.

SPH Brightcove Video
It takes more than talent to write a song for Singapore. Lyricist and singer Jay Lim explains what it takes to write the NDP 2017 theme song.

He said that one of his fondest NDP memories was listening to his favourite song, Count On Me Singapore. "Whenever the song was on television, I always felt inspired to one day write my own NDP song or be the voice that sings to the people of Singapore," he added.

Lim will not be singing live at the parade on Aug 9. Instead, a music video and an audio recording of him singing the song will be played during the event and everyone will be encouraged to sing along.

When asked about his inspiration for the lyrics, Lim said he wanted to write about growing up and living in Singapore.

He took about a week to come up with the lyrics after Lee had composed the melody.

The song celebrates diversity, and shared customs and cultures. It is also about the need for Singaporeans to collectively decide their future and overcome challenges to fulfil their dreams.

He said the line in the song that touches him the most is: "Nothing in this world compares to our Singaporean Life."

"I hope that when people listen to the song, they will realise that this might not be a perfect country but we are really thankful for it," he said.

"There are a lot of things that make up Singapore, but what makes it unique for me is the life that we have here as a whole. That is the thing you can't compare with other places."

One of the considerations that he and Lee had when creating the song was to make it simple enough so that everyone can sing it, said Lim.

"The melody was composed to be simple, but I had so many feelings and things I wanted to say which I had to put into just a few words. So that was a challenge," he added.

Tan Tam Mei

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 18, 2017, with the headline Parade song for and about S'poreans. Subscribe