Interview: Sam Rui

We chat with the homegrown singer on all things Singaporean, including her favourite local food. Hint: it's not chicken rice
Sam Rui
By Sofiana Ramli |

Sam Rui's heading Down Under – to Sydney, if we're trying to be more specific. And it's all part of the upcoming SGMUSO Showcase. Happening on November 3 to 5 along Kensington Street, the three-day concert is held in conjunction with Singapore: Inside Out, a festival organised by the Singapore Tourism Board which celebrates the talents of homegrown creatives with an international audience. Headlining the show alongside rising local stars Linying and MAS1A, the sultry R&B songstress chats with us on her Australian debut and various Singaporean things – like her favourite local food.

How do you feel about being chosen to represent Singapore in Sydney for the concert?

I'm very excited as I've never played a show this far away from home. Plus the line-up is incredible, and artists I'm proud to be associated with on this tour.

What are you looking forward to most about the showcase?

Since we’re doing three shows back-to-back, I didn't want my sets to be too repetitive. So I'm going to be doing one stripped performance, which I haven't done in a while. They're my favourite because they're so freeing, and evoke some of – I think – my most soulful performances.

What is the weirdest stereotype you’ve heard from someone about Singapore?

That Singaporeans only speak Chinese and don’t speak English.

"Social media has overall contributed a lot to people's perception of local music"

Over the years, what do you think has changed the most about the local music scene?

I think the level of exposure new artists get today has grown exponentially. In the early 2000s, I feel like the only big place you could perform was at Baybeats. But now there are new gigs popping up every few months. Social media has overall contributed a lot to people's perception of local music and the ability to share your music so easily has grown the size and demographic of our audience by so much.

What were some of the struggles you had to deal with as a musician in Singapore?

I must admit I probably haven’t had as many compared to some others. If any, my struggles were personal and not industry-related. I was very lucky to have started doing this at the right time, to have met with and worked with the right people, and garnered traction for my music very quickly. It was justifying the legitimacy of what I do when I told my parents I wanted to drop out of school to do this full-time. But I didn’t make the decision to drop out without planning sufficiently the moves I would make after.

Last question: if you had to eat only one Singaporean dish for the rest of your life, what will it be and why?

I love ondeh ondeh! When you get a good ondeh ondeh, it's amazing. Like the gula Melaka is syrupy, and the kueh is the perfect colour and texture. Oh my god, I die. But it's not proper 'food', so I don't know if this is an acceptable answer.

Are you in Sydney? Be sure to check out Sam Rui, alongside other homegrown stars such as Linying and MAS1A perform at the SGMUSO showcase on Kensington St from Nov 3-5.

Listen to Sam Rui's debut album 'Season 2' on Spotify and iTunes.

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