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Then & Now: Mel Ferdinands & Umar Sirhan

Life lessons from country soul to city boy.


Published: 24 Mar 2021

Time taken : >15mins

Play us a chord, guitar men!

What does an old school country singer and a new groove pop rocker have in common? Well, for starters, they both tote their guitars with the same pride. Musicians Mel Ferdinands and Umar Sirhan talk about two careers—one in glorious twilight, one in the process of blooming—and what it takes to make it as a singer-songwriter in Singapore.

Mel Ferdinands is best known for being a member of one of Singapore’s top bands, Gypsy, in the 1980s. He shot to fame at the age of 12 after performing with his younger brother Joe Ferdinands on the popular televised music contest Talentime in 1971.

Umar Sirhan is a Singapore musician who’s known for his smooth silky vocals who has garnered the attention of fans and musicians alike. Pensive lyrics are coupled with melodies inspired by the likes of John Mayer, Charlie Lim and Frank Ocean—the result: music that tugs at your heartstrings while soothing weary souls.

Then & Now
Insightful conversations between musicians across generations, as part of A Date with Friends 2021. 
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