An opportunity for national talent?

An opportunity for national talent?

The top music charts of Singapore are dominated by American and British artists and soundtracks from all the latest Hollywood blockbusters. At any given time a mere 5% of the top 40 slots in the charts go to Asian artists, and very occasionally to native Singaporeans.

One could question that this is due to the content available on digital purchasing means such as iTunes, but the charts factor in the purchase of CDs from stores as well as the digital music. It's not only a young audience purchasing music but the reflection of the Top 40 suggests youngsters who are heavily influenced by international releases.

Artists, such as Stephanie Sun and Tanya Chua, have become famous by heading out to international territory to claim their musical breaks and then returning to Singapore as household names to enjoy chart success. This sparks an important question, what can local talent do to recognise national success without having to leave Singapore?

With the age of technology it has never been easier to produce and sell a record. Record labels need not be at a disadvantage with this as strong collaboration could be induced. But the important thing is that people are being exposed to new talent and music without serious financial backing, as was required with previous generations.

The introduction of shows such as Singapore Idol, allows many artists the ability to showcase their skills to the entire nation, but it still doesn't guarantee a career at the end of it, or even the release of a record. People of all ages watch Singapore Idol and the record labels should be quick to jump onto talent that will appeal to an older demographic, because the young demographic is certainly covered, as reflected by music sales. This of course applies to mainstream, contemporary and pop music and doesn't factor in the very large alternative scene in Singapore.

Now, more than ever, is the opportune time to find an equal balance in the charts with national and international talent. There is a chance to put Singapore on the map as a strong contender in the Asian music market and the opportunity should be seized with two hands by record labels and independent artists together.

Live Music Scene

Live Music Scene

Participate in the Live Music Scene

Yes, you guessed it - Karaoke! It goes hand in hand with Asian culture and is a popular pass time that everyone of all ages can enjoy. The standard of Karaoke is much higher here than most places in Europe or the States and when in Singapore, do as the Singaporeans do; exercise those lungs and vocal cords!

Karaoke in Singapore caters for all budgets and some venues provide private lounges for office parties, or just the shy group of friends who don't want to sing in public. Either way it's definitely something to experience.

As it is such a popular pass time it deserves a shout out as its own alternative music scene because, let's face it, you will be subjected to some extraordinary sounds!

Here are a few places to swing by to get a feel for the Karaoke scene:

Chillz Bar This bar doesn't provide private lounges so be prepared to be televised, only in the venue! they frequently hold singing competitions so if you think you have a winning voice feel free to enter and claim some prizes. The bar is open for crooning from Monday - Saturday with Sundays being reserved for private parties and events.

Mono Possibly the most beautiful Karaoke bar around with it's monochromatic theme and dangling chandeliers. Mono offers private lounges, each themed differently and a general bar for all to enjoy. They have other perks like a pool table and a darts board so you can take a break from serenading a loved one to enjoy a quick game. Open daily from 6pm - 6am with happy hour from 6pm - 9pm.

Ten Dollar Club A great way to enjoy Karaoke without breaking the bank. Bring a group of friends along with you to enjoy singing in the main hall or rent a private lounge. A lovely, home-like atmosphere, although they do adopt a dress code for those who wish to enter the main hall. All three locations; Balestier, Chinatown and Down Town are all open from 2pm - 2am daily.

Actors This is a Karaoke bar like no other and feels more like a live gig than a sing-along. They feature a live band as backing music so you can not only rock the stage with others which feels less daunting, but also perform up to three songs in a row! If you're not much of a singer but a great musician, the band will let you borrow their instruments to play instead. Open Mon-Sat 6pm until late. Open for private bookings only on Sunday unless it's a public holiday, which opens up for the general public again.

Jersey Boys Arrive in Singapore

Jersey Boys Arrive in Singapore

A true story of four singers and their journey up from poverty into the spotlight. The group, The Four Seasons, embark on a journey of success, heartache, talent, friendship and of course music!

The musical opened on Broadway in 2005 and has since been performed in over 15 locations worldwide, the most recent of which is right here in Singapore. The Sands Theatre at the Marina Bay Sands is delighted to play host to this wonderful musical and will be opening its door to spectators until the 17th of February.

Performances can be enjoyed at 8pm daily (excluding Mondays) with a matinee at 2pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

The theatre offers four types of tickets A, B, C & D Reserve tickets. Each ticket is priced on visibility and proximity to the stage. A is the highest band and allows for the most optimum viewing experience. To take your viewing experience to a whole new level the Theatre offers some wonderful packages and upgrades. Packages vary in prices factoring in seat reservations in either the A and B Reserve and an option of adding merchandise and official souvenir programs, to make this a night to remember. An extra 10% discount will be applied for group bookings of more than 20 - a great opportunity for educational institutes to treat their students.

If you want to make a whole evening of it, there are some great deals on dinner, show and hotel stays at the Marina Bay Sands itself or hotels that are a short distance away. It's a one of a kind musical and a one of a kind experience that will go hand in hand together, whatever your budget.

Please note: Jersey Boys is not recommended for children under the age of twelve because of the free use of colourful ‘Jersey' language!

A Hub of Inspiration

A Hub of Inspiration

A Hub of Inspiration

Nothing inspires beautiful melody or lyrics more than being surrounded by like-minded people and the industry's finest talent. Many of them gather at Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay.

The majestic design of aluminium and glass sits proudly on the bay and is one of Singapore's finest architectural attractions. The locals nickname it ‘The Durians' because of its resemblance to the spiky fruit, or from above it can look like the eyes of a fly. It's a much talked about and photographed building and that's only the outside!

The real magic happens inside. It is the place in Singapore to not only listen to the best live music but also to see a variety of shows, plays and exhibitions

There's much to take in as it boasts over 20 different spaces dedicated to various performances. Most notably, the Concert Hall has award winning acoustics and seats 1'600, and their horse-shoe shaped Theatre can accommodate 2'000. As well as many spaces available to rent for both performances and rehearsals there are creatively decorated tunnels and passages where artists can showcase their work.

Tours are offered around the venue and you can opt for either a guided tour or an iTour. A guided tour is for small groups who can wander around and explore the space together and learn about the one of a kind architecture. Or if you fancy exploring on your own you can take your own iTour which involves carrying around a Personal Digital Assistant who will relay anecdotes and useful information.

Unlike most upmarket venues Esplanade doesn't impose a formal dress code and advises that you bring warm clothing to comfortably enjoy your experience with.

Housed inside, The Esplanade Mall is an oasis to any musician as it provides a shopping experience which has a wonderful ‘artsy' vibe to it. The guitar and violin shops are mesmerising additions to the collection of outlets and attract some of the finest musicians on the continent to purchase their instruments there.

The restaurants and cafes are frequented by industry people and they are hotspots for upcoming talent in the performing arts. If you are in the music industry and would like to mingle with like minded people, a cup of coffee at Esplanade could prove to be the starting point of a new friendship or songwriting partner. Community is valued and encouraged. A true hub of inspiration for those in the performing arts.