In Singapore, pursuing a career in music can sometimes feel like a pipe dream. The city’s escalating cost of living coupled with its rigid pragmatism mean that creative endeavours often take flight only outside of its borders. For much of history, our best musicians have gone out of the country to find mainstream success.
Now, tides are changing. Thanks to a rising generation of bonafide stars making auditory magic without much other than Garageband at their disposal, a diverse new repertoire of universally-appealling local music is emerging.
From rapper ABANGSAPAU’s searing verses in English and Malay to golden-throated starlet Linying’s infectious sad girl pop, here are the young artistes putting Singapore on the map—and all the songs we can’t stop leaving on replay.
Clad in his trademark sarung, rapper ABANGSAPAU chronicles the experience of coming up as a young brown artist in Singapore with delicate lyrics woven through hard-hitting beats, putting a noteworthy stamp on the regional hip-hop scene.
Listen to: ‘I Used to Dream’
At just 20, Shye’s self-formulated sound bleeds across indie pop, electro pop, grunge, rock and—in her own words—a hint of K-pop. Armed with a playful, experimental style, the singer and producer is a pop star in the making.
Listen to: ‘Safe’
A self-proclaimed unhinged romantic, Linying soundtracks her life with a dreamy take on sad girl pop. Expect saccharine melodies, highly personal lyrics and of course—the voice of an angel.
Listen to: ‘All Of Our Friends Know’
Lullaboy’s sticky-sweet love songs may be born from personal experience, but his stories of pining and heartbreak are relatable for anyone who has ever nursed a crush—topped off with an addictive rhythm.
Listen to: ‘van gogh’
From the evocative vocals on her self-produced songs to the creative direction for her music videos and album art, indie-darling Kitty Purrnaz does it all by herself in her bedroom—her studio, safe space and dreamscape all in one.
Listen to: ‘cry.’
Photography Reuben Foong
Fashion direction Desmond Lim
Hair Yuhi Kim using Anti Collective Pro and Woorailoora
Make-up Kenneth Chia using Fenty Beauty
Photographer’s assistant Anna-Lisa
Production assistant Jesslyn Lye
Stylist’s assistant Kyann Fong
Cake Dee Bakes
Story Chandreyee Ray
Special thanks to Parliament Bar for venue.
Order your copy of the April ‘Pop’ issue of Vogue Singapore online or pick it up on newsstands on 13 April 2023.