I just want to dedicate this post to Thong Yang from NLB whom I met yesterday at the Library @ Esplanade. Cos in the course of our discussion about Singapore Music, I actually formulated certain hypothesis about the state of our music scene. Heh!
Basically, the Singapore music scene is caught somewhere in the middle between art and commerce. The National Arts Council (NAC) does not recognize pop-rock music as an art form and thus we are not eligible for financial support. Thing is the NAC has this perception of pop-rock music as commercial but the irony is that the owners of bars and clubs do not consider Singaporean original pop-rock music as commercially viable. Therefore, we exist in this limbo somewhere in between.
Therefore, as always, saving our music scene, is really up to those of us who love original music made in Singapore. We need to promote the very concept of the Singapore song. And I do not mean Singlish or National Day songs. Every song written by a Singaporean is a piece of our culture and we need to recognize and reward GOOD songwriting so that songwriters will be encouraged in their art to continue development and growth.
Yes, I know that's it's not totally bleak. We have the Esplanade and Noise to showcase new local talent and on the commercial side the likes of Timbre, TAB and Home Club have been supportive of Singapore bands and artists as well. Not to mention the opportunities given by bands to open for overseas artist. But it's not quite enough. Mindsets need to change across the board so that Singapore songwriters are afforded equal opportunities currently given to practitioners of dance, theatre, poetry and classical music.
To that end, I will be working with Timbre to assist to develop Singapore songwriting in the very near future. Stay tuned for the official announcement.
At the end of the Quiet in the Library, it warmed my heart to realize that four young people whom I've been working with in the last two to three years were in attendance and performance (l-r above, Narisa Chan, Debra Khng, Vanessa Faith, Rachael Teo), these young women (and others) are the future of Singapore songwriting and I for one, am going to do whatever I can to nurture and develop their art to the fullest extent possible. I hope you will come on board this adventure with me as well. Let's save the Singapore (English) Music Scene together!
... still there's more ...