Dru Chen: an album launch with Rangga Jones
Kick back with the smooth sounds and neo-soul introspection of Dru Chen, the perfect tonic for bruised hearts and the raging unpredictability of life. The Australia-born, Singapore-raised Chen is one talent to watch, his R&B songwriting chops and expansive vocals having catapulted his debut album Mirror Work to a major label signing with Warner Music in 2019.
Marking his first time performing at the Esplanade Concert Hall with a one-night intimate set, he delivers bops and ballads from his new album Slow Life as well as his funk-infused back catalogue. Starting off the night is another exciting young musician, fellow R&B singer-songwriter Rangga Jones. Let their breezy, sensual rhythms transport you and get you movin’.
Dru Chen is an Australian singer-songwriter based in Singapore. In 2019, Chen started on a strong footing with his debut album Mirror Work. This impressed Warner Music so much that they signed him on the spot. His co-writing efforts with Tanya Chua and Ge Da Wei for Modern Brothers’ Liu Yuning secured him an international publishing deal with Universal Music Publishing Group China. In Oct 2020, Chen co-wrote Carnival, a theme song for Riot Games’ bestselling international game, League of Legends. In May 2020, Chen was shortlisted and won an award at the prestigious Freshmusic Awards, with Mirror Work pipping other Singapore and Taiwanese albums to last year’s ‘Top 10 Albums of the Year’.
Following the success of Mirror Work ̶ an ode to 70’s music ̶ the R&B/funk musician released Who We R, a nostalgic pop tune featuring a stellar cast of contributors such as Benjamin Kheng and Evanturetime. From hit singles When I Look Into Your Eyes, which was placed on Mediacorp Channel 5’s 2019 campaign, to Distant Memory ̶ these tunes evoke a 60’s blues and folk vibe reminiscent of The Beatles.
In 2020/21, Chen released Future Me + U, Givin’ It Up, Replay and Eiffel Tower ̶ all of which garnered coverage all over Southeast Asia, such as in The Straits Times Life, Swee Lee, Bandwagon Asia and NME Asia to name a few. These newer tracks serve up a refreshing sound and an eclectic mesh of electropop, soul, nu-disco and R&B. While D’Angelo, Freddie Mercury and Jeff Buckley continue to be his main vocal inspirations, Chen also takes a more contemporary approach, drawing influences from artists such as DEON, Gentle Bones and Daniel Caesar.
With a steady stream of pop and R&B hits, self-produced Indonesian-born and Singapore-based Rangga Jones quietly rose to become one of the most exciting musicians to watch out for in the last couple of years. Drawing inspiration from the likes of Justin Bieber, Lauv and Frank Ocean, the 24-year-old multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter-producer embellishes exquisite melodies with his stunning vocals to deliver an experience that’s equal parts comforting and mesmerising.
Jones was a part of the National Arts Council’s Noise Music Mentorship Programme 2020, under the mentorship of prolific veteran crooner, Imran Ajmain. Through the programme, Rangga performed his first ever show at *SCAPE in 2019 and held his own as a featured act as part of Esplanade’s annual series of new music by Singapore artists, All Things New in 2020 and 2021. In early 2021, Spotify chose Rangga to be a part of Spotify’s Radar artists for Singapore and Malaysia, and he has been amassing new listeners and fans ever since.
Now a sought-after songwriter, his single Other Half has gained close to 650,000 streams on Spotify and has been featured in several coveted playlists such as Top Hits Singapore and Chill Lah. Jones’ mix of easy listening tunes has since made him a mainstay amongst some of Singapore’s biggest editorial playlists.
He is currently working on his debut EP, set for release in the second half of 2021.