Meet Singapore’s young music stars
2020 was a challenging year for most. For three young musicians in Singapore, however, last year yielded professional achievements and milestones.
Mandopop singer Marcus Lee, singer-musician Narysal NurDanel, and electro-pop singer-songwriter Shye-Anne Brown bagged top honours at the *SCAPE Youth Music Awards held last month. The annual awards ceremony celebrates the artistry and excellence of local music talent under the age of 35.
The awards, organised by non-profit organisation *SCAPE and music company Bandwagon, recognised youth talent across 16 categories, including Album of the Year, which went to Brown, 18, for her album Days to Morning Glory. Best New Artist went to Narysal, 29, and Lee, 28, took home Artist of the Year (Non-English).
Read on to find out what inspires the three youth talent and keeps their hopes and dreams alive.
What inspires you?
Lee: Almost everything and anything I experience, including the things I read and watch. If I am looking for inspiration, I intentionally slow things down and become more observant of the things around me to find something that might spark ideas.
Narysal: Heartbreak. As cliched as it sounds, that is when lyrics and melodies come from the heart.
Brown: It could be anything from experiences and feelings to situations I’ve observed.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced?
Lee: Being someone who loves to plan and be on top of any situation, the uncertainty of life has taught me to embrace being present and to take things as they come.
Narysal: My biggest challenge so far is trying to be financially stable as a full-time musician.
Brown: Witnessing the whole world coming to a standstill with the pandemic made me realise we can never be 100% sure of anything. Working on my album during the pandemic helped me put things into perspective. By adopting a positive mindset and staying hopeful, I have made the best out of a less-than-ideal situation.
How would you describe your music journey and where you are headed?
Lee: I would say it is like a sine wave, where there have been both ups and downs. I am hoping that in the year ahead, I will grow my audience, be it locally or regionally. My goal is to come up with more cohesive campaigns and releases that involve music, visual arts, storytelling, and marketing.
Narysal: It has been very unexpected. My goal was to release an R&B track that I could call my own, but I didn’t expect it to hit over 360,000 streams on Spotify. I hope to collaborate with other local artists and show people that R&B is still very much alive.
Brown: Considering that my background is in dance and theatre, I am really thankful for this “happy accident”. I have learnt so much about myself on this journey, and I’m grateful for having had so many opportunities and experiences. My music and I are always going to be a work in progress, but I plan to improve my production skills and establish credibility as a producer, beyond just being a singer-songwriter.
Responses have been edited for clarity. Learn more about the Youth Music Awards 2021 here.