Tim De Cotta (2017)
Imran Ajmain (2018)
Eli Hsieh (2017)
Crystal Goh (2020)
iNCH x Tan Lixin (2020)
Kelly Poon (2017)
Fredo (The Flybaits) (2020)
ASPIDISTRAFLY × haruka Nakamura (2016)
Time taken : >15mins
Forging his own path after the dissolution of SleeQ, Syarif showed off his new grooves for Up Next, his first solo showcase at Esplanade featuring Trisno Ishak, the former frontman of Urban Xchange, as Music Director.
In this collection of highlights, Syarif opened up his personal songbook by sharing originals such as Cinta Yang Tertulis, Untuk Dia and Satu. A musical snapshot of a young artist stretching his horizons, this funky but intimate performance showed a singer-songwriter refining his sound and carving out his own music identity as he set out on the next leg of his creative journey.
Syarif performed at Esplanade Annexe Studio on 28 June 2019 as part of the line-up for Pesta Raya – Malay Festival of Arts, which has showcased the best in theatre, dance, and music from the Malay Archipelago since 2001.
Syarif is a Singapore singer-songwriter and actor who teamed up with his cousin Alif Sleeq to form the popular duo SleeQ. Their three albums In The Q (2007), Classiq (2009) and SLQ (2013) subsequently became popular among Malay music listeners in Singapore and Malaysia. Following SleeQ’s split in 2015, Syarif began branching into acting with regular appearances on Malay channel Suria. He released his first single as a solo artist in 2019.
Performing songs from her first solo album Funny Way of Life, Taiwanese singer-songwriter PiA shares her takes on a world gone askew, suggesting that the only things standing between us and the absurd might be a sense of humour and a glass-half-full outlook.
With a down-to-earth personality that radiates through her clear warm voice in this full concert video, PiA’s songs are ballads of everyday life told through jazz, pop-rock and funk. An independent musician active in the Taiwanese scene since 2010, PiA and her former band mates (known collectively as PiA Band) were nominated for Best Musical Group at Taiwan’s 26th Golden Melody Awards. Now touring as a solo artist, PiA continues to perform extensively across Taiwan, Japan and different parts of Asia.
Held at Esplanade Recital Studio on 10 February 2017, PiA’s Singapore showcase was presented by in::music, the arts centre’s platform that nurtures and promotes emerging Mandopop artists and their original works.
PiA a.k.a Wu Beiya is a Taiwanese singer-songwriter and music producer. At 23, she debuted as a contestant in the One Million Stars talent competition before releasing her first EP Rainy Day Diary the next year. Mentored by well-known musician and record producer Bobby Chen, she launched her solo career with the release of her EP Three Wishes in 2015. She put out her most recent album Love Is Too Dangerous in 2019.
Relive Tim De Cotta’s acoustic set from Baybeats 2017 where the singer-songwriter lined up five of his original tunes in a stripped-down performance that dishes out both groove and soul.
Joined by percussionist Josiah Suthan, the quintessential multi-hyphenate of Singapore’s indie music scene opened the set with Rain and Art Pure from his debut album, The Warrior, released in 2017. A musician who believes in keeping his art pure, De Cotta also wooed the crowd with Ride and Take It Back – songs styled in R&B and hip hop that recalled his former days playing with bands such as TAJ, L.A.B, neoDominatrix and Kilo Habit.
Tim De Cotta performed his acoustic set at Esplanade Concourse on 16 July 2017 for the 16th edition of Baybeats. The largest free alternative music festival of its kind in Singapore, Baybeats continues to showcase prominent acts from Singapore and overseas covering folk, pop, metal, post-rock, punk, electro and every genre in between.
Tim De Cotta is a bassist, vocalist, songwriter, music producer and entrepreneur who started his musical career playing with the (now-defunct) Singapore band SIXX. An in-demand session musician, he has played, written, produced and recorded with artists such as Inch Chua, Ling Kai, Disco Hue, Evanturetime, Intriguant, .gif, Michaela Therese and Ffion. He released his latest single Transition in June 2020.
Imran Ajmain found regional fame after his break-out single Seribu Tahun spent six weeks at the top of Malaysia’s pop charts in 2006. Ever since then, the singer-songwriter has carved out a successful solo career while remaining sought-after among Malay music listeners for ballads such as Selamat Ulang Tahun Sayang. Relive the first decade of Imran’s music career in this full concert video as he performed soulful numbers like Dikalung Kasihan, Hanya Menari as well as Rintihan Hati, penned by his late father Ahmad Husaini Ajmain.
Performed in Malay and filmed live at Esplanade Recital Studio on 13 July 2018, First 10 Years was presented by Pesta Raya – Malay Festival of Arts, which has showcased the best in theatre, dance, and music from the Malay archipelago since 2001.
Imran Ajmain is a Singapore singer, composer and producer who attained prominence with his works for Taufik Batisah, Hady Mirza, SleeQ among other well-known music artistes. Based in Kuala Lumpur since 2006, he released his most recent album Setulus Kasih in 2018.
Through song, Eli Hsieh chronicles the struggles and search for acceptance that marked his growing-up years.
Fresh from his win as Best New Artist at the 2016 Golden Melody Awards, the all-round singer-songwriter (who continues to write, arrange and produce his own tunes) performed a selection of original numbers from his critically acclaimed debut album Progress Reports. Featuring Your Belongings, his most popular duet yet, the high-energy You Found Me, and Light, which took the Best Single prize at the 2016 Freshmusic Awards, this live acoustic concert offers an intimate portrait of a young man forging his own path as a musician.
Performed and filmed live at Esplanade Recital Studio on 11 February 2017, Progress Reports was presented as part of the line-up for Huayi – Chinese Festival of Arts, which aims to showcase the works of the most outstanding Chinese artists from Singapore, Asia and around the world.
Eli Hsieh was only 13 when he took part in Taiwan’s One Million Stars talent competition in 2007. Hailed for his singing voice, songwriting skills and musicianship, he released his latest album Where Are We Going? in 2019. For his sophomore effort, he was nominated in four categories including Album of the Year at the Golden Melody Awards.
Having lost her voice to a rare neurological condition when she was 25, Crystal Goh turned to songwriting and discovered a deep reservoir of strength she never knew she possessed.
In this powerful and moving performance, the singer-songwriter bared her soul through a series of original songs and soundscapes inspired by her journey of healing. By immersing herself in the experiences of those who had also suffered loss–be it their freedom, memories or loved ones, she found traces of her voice in theirs. Today, she continues to use her stories and performances to spread a message of hope.
Performed and filmed live at Esplanade Concourse on 19 March 2020, this event was presented under Foreword, a free-for-all programme where words–spoken, narrated or musically interpreted–take centre stage.
Crystal Goh is a singer-songwriter and music producer. She has performed at UNESCO-NIE Centre for Arts Research, TEDxP&G Singapore 2016 and the Generation Now 2015 Conference among other international events. In 2013, she started collaborating with at-risk youths and children of incarcerated parents to write, record and perform original songs. She completed her Masters of Education (Music) at the National Institute of Education in 2020.
Boston Music Awards nominee bittymacbeth brings her distinctive mix of soul, style and sound to Offstage as she serves up an upbeat performance that accompanied the launch of her latest EP Better not Bitter.
Marking her first show at Esplanade since 2016, this live concert extolled the Berklee College of Music alumna’s finesse as a tunesmith. A DAMYE-produced single that charted at #4 on Spotify Singapore's Viral 50, Trace (Comfortable Sympathy) set up the evening with a fresh blend of jazz-hop while soul-tronica hit fly proved once again why bittymacbeth is a name to watch in Singapore’s R&B/soul scene. Sampling neo-soul harmonies through funk-informed bass, the singer-songwriter also delivered Get Better. Not Bitter., the title track of her new EP as well as R&B/pop anthem beautiful, in my skin, which was featured on Apple Music’s Best of the Week playlist.
Performed and filmed live at Esplanade Outdoor Theatre on 20 March 2020, this event was presented as part of the line-up for Soul Jam, a free-for-all programme that celebrates the best of soul, funk and R&B.
bittymacbeth, a.k.a. Beth Yap, is a recording and performing artist known for her simultaneous displays of vocal and bass chops. A blues woman for the new millennium, she attempts to speak truth to power in every lyric and melody. She released her debut album Beauty for Ashes in 2016, and struck a distribution deal with US label Coed Recs in 2019.
Singer-songwriter iNCH and poet Tan Lixin join hands to tell the stories of the voiceless. In this collaboration, music meets storytelling to shine a light on social issues such as domestic abuse and marginalisation.
Weaving original stories by Tan Lixin with songs and sound design by iNCH, this intimate and imaginative performance depicts characters we may be familiar with but almost never dwell on. By bringing their narratives to life, the two works that make up this multidisciplinary effort also seek to articulate unspoken thoughts and amplify the voices of those who often go unheard in our community.
Performed and filmed live at Esplanade Concourse on 24 Mar 2020, this event was part of the line-up for Foreword, the arts centre’s free programme for March where stories and literary texts–spoken, narrated, musically interpreted–take centre stage.
iNCH has made a career as an international recording and performing artist. Born and raised in Singapore, she has played at numerous festivals around the world, and opened for the likes of Charlie Puth and Vampire Weekend. She staged her first major theatrical production in 2019 and is presently a tireless student of the ocarina.
Tan Lixin is the author of two poetry collections Before We Are Ghosts and Keeping Skeletons. She is a three-time winner at the Commonwealth Essay Competition and her work has been featured on Eunoia Review, Prairie Schooner and Her World. Her new collection I Arrive as a Bloody Morning was released in 2020.
Previously signed to Taiwanese star-maker and record producer Yao Chien, this Singapore songbird is also the creative mind behind hit tunes such as Don’t Cry, Sorry and Goodbye. Her five albums have found success in the region, with the latest, Miss Kelly, earning her Best Singapore Artiste at the Singapore Hit Awards. Showcasing her range as a songwriter, this full concert video of My K Songs sees Kelly Poon performing her original compositions, and sharing her memories and milestones as a musician.
Performed and filmed live at Esplanade Recital Studio on 12 February 2017, My K Songs was presented as part of Esplanade's in::music series, dedicated to profile up-and-coming Mandopop artists.
Kelly Poon is a singer, songwriter and recording artiste who emerged as the female champion and overall runner-up of the inaugural Project SuperStar talent competition held in 2005. Since her debut, she has released several singles and five albums, including her first, Love Me, Kelly, in 2006.
Celebrating the highlights of a decades-long career, this sold-out concert by Fredo was also the veteran performer’s first solo showcase in Singapore after more than 40 years in show business.
Evoking nostalgia with original hits such as Mengapa Perpisahan Yang Kau Pinta (“Why Did You Ask for a Separation?”), Relive the Memories with Fredo was performed and filmed live at Esplanade Recital Studio on 6 March 2020 as part of the line-up for A Date with Friends. An arts festival for the silver generation, A Date with Friends entered its 15th year in 2020 with ageless tunes performed by musicians and stars from the golden era.
Fredo, whose full name is Alfredo Vilenguez, rose to fame with a series of Malay hit songs in the late 1970s and 1980s while building a career that spanned Singapore, Malaysia and other parts of Asia. The home-grown entertainer and his band The Flybaits released their debut album Mempersembahkan (Presenting) in 1980.
Charming audiences with catchy pop ballads such as A Friend Says, Cyber Beast and Tears from the Sky from homegrown web drama Wonder Kiss, the effervescent StellaVee celebrate their musical camaraderie through their performance and share the personal stories behind their original songs.
Performed and filmed at Esplanade's Annexe Studio on 29 November 2019, Say Whaaat? was presented as part of the line-up for in::music, the arts centre’s platform for up-and-coming Mandopop artists.
StellaVee is made up of local singer-songwriters Stella and Vee who met in 2012 through a reality singing competition. Brought together by their shared love for music, the two are currently signed to homegrown record label Ocean Butterflies Music and released their debut album A Friend Says in November 2019.
ASPIDISTRAFLY and haruka nakamura PIANO ENSEMBLE presented their first joint showcase in Singapore Music with Scenery in 2016. Melding lush aural tapestries with mellow folk, their gossamer-like sound will transport you to a musical dreamscape that blurs the boundaries between fine ambient, modern classical and the avant-garde.
ASPIDISTRAFLY is made up of singer-songwriter April Lee and producer Ricks Ang, the founder of Kitchen. Label. Taking their name from the George Orwell novel Keep the Aspidistra Flying, this Singaporean duo has garnered recognition for their albums i hold a wish for you (2008) and A Little Fable (2011).
Image courtesy of Kitchen. Label.
haruka nakamura is a composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist based in Tokyo, Japan. One of the bestselling and most beloved Japanese independent artists of his generation, he has released two critically acclaimed albums twilight (2010) and Ongaku No Aru Fuukei (2014) on Kitchen. Label.
Image courtesy of Kitchen. Label.
The show must go on and for Offstage, it goes on...line. Specially culled from Esplanade's archives, this series of performances by leading acts in Singapore and Asia was first released in 2020 at the height of the pandemic, with the aim to nourish souls and sate audience's appetites for the arts during trying times.