Proud to be Singaporean, say musicians Shigga Shay and Tabitha Nauser after performing at White House State Dinner after-party

Shigga Shay chatting with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the White House State Lunch.
Shigga Shay chatting with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the White House State Lunch.PHOTO: SHIGGA SHAY/INSTAGRAM

SINGAPORE (THE NEW PAPER) - Kopitiam favourites like kopi siu dai (coffee with less sugar), Milo dinosaur and kaya toast were served at a posh restaurant near the White House at Washington, DC, on Tuesday (Aug 2).

Okay, not literally.

These familiar delights were “delivered” by local rapper Shigga Shay, as he performed his hit Tapau at the after-party to the White House State Dinner for Singapore.

The event, which was hosted by US Ambassador to Singapore, Mr Kirk Wagar, also featured local singer and Singapore Idol alumnus Tabitha Nauser.

The high-profile function caught the attention of Washington Post, which dubbed the event as the “officially unofficial” after-party to the White House’s black-tie affair and described it as “a Washington first”.

According to the US newspaper, the party consisted of an invitation-only crowd of 200 lobbyists and business leaders.

Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran also attended.

Shigga Shay and Nauser, both 24, told The New Paper on Thursday (Aug 4) from Washington that they were invited to perform by Mr Wagar.

Shigga Shay performed a mix of English and Hokkien songs with US-based DJ i-DEE, while Nauser belted out a few new singles, including an upcoming track, Body Language.

Recounting his past few days in the US, Shigga Shay told TNP over the phone: “It was really pretty crazy. I still can’t digest the fact that I’m in DC now.”

Both artists flew into Washington last week.

The rapper said his performance was well-received, adding that: “The audience was amazing. They are intellectuals and knowledgeable, and exposed to all kind of music including hip-hop.”

In an e-mail interview with TNP, Nauser also gushed about her experience: “The audience was made up of the smartest and most successful people in business and politics, both in Singapore and USA, and they just showed so much love!


“Hands down, this trip to DC is one of the most memorable experiences of my life.

“Being a Singaporean and attending this event really filled me with such gratitude and pride for our ‘little red dot’.”

Earlier that day, Shigga Shay and Nauser were guests of the State Lunch at the elegant Ben Franklin Room.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, US Vice-President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made speeches at the lunch.

Shigga Shay, who was seated next to Dr Chan Heng Chee, Singapore’s ambassador-at-large, laughed as he shared that he found out the 74-year-old was a fan of two of his songs — Lion City Kia and Lim Peh.

Being at the State Lunch was an emotional affair for Shigga Shay.

“As Joe Biden spoke about Singapore’s achievements, my eyes welled up and I felt really proud to be a Singaporean,” he said.

“We are a young country and we have come a long way, especially for our country to be accorded such respect at the White House.”