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Whirring, *Scape Music Day Out
Photograph: Whirring

8 local musicians that should be on your radar in 2021

From indie-rock bands to electro-pop wizards, here the budding maestros and musos amplifying the Singapore sound

Cam Khalid
Delfina Utomo
Written by
Cam Khalid
&
Delfina Utomo
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Get down to disco (or sing in the shower) with the hottest made-in-Singapore acts. If you're searching for your next earworm, you don't have to look very far. For a comparatively small music scene, we've got genres like rock, indie, hip-hop, and even lo-fi beats covered. Here are some homegrown talents you should be listening to now.

RECOMMENDED: Local Vocal: fresh new music from Singapore this week and the best songs of 2020 by local music acts

Keyana
Photograph: Lenne Chai

Keyana

R&B

Born Melanie Kasise to Ghanaian and Singaporean-Chinese parents, the Gen Z breakout star captured our attention with her dulcet tones and oh-so relatable lyrics. The 17-year-old teen actually started out as a model before embracing her true calling: music. More than just a pretty face, Keyana is also a dancer and choreographer, and has now added singer-songwriter to her repertoire with contemporary R&B singles Save It and Scorpio. Read our interview with Keyana here.

@heykeyana

Whirring
Photograph: Whirring

Whirring

Indie-synthpop

Let’s just say that indie-synthpop duo Whirring is Singapore’s answer to British pair Oh Wonder. And you’d want to keep ‘em on your radar. Prepare to fall in love with Aqid and Michelle's lush vocal harmonies, punchy 808s, shimmering synths, and emotive lyrics that have the two wearing their hearts on their sleeves. Through their magnetic combo of pop hook and electronic soundscapes, the pair hopes to tell a narrative, create connections and showcase constant growth.

@heywhirring

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Naomi G
Photograph: Naomi G/Umami Records

Naomi G

Pop

There’s a new dark pop princess on the horizon, and you won’t want to sleep on this emerging artist. Going by the moniker Naomi G, the singer-songwriter describes her music as a “body-caressingly raw sonic prelude to (her) own deeper tensions.” Drawing influences from the broody minimalism of Lorde and Banks – think moody, downbeat electronica laced with the slick notes of Alt-R&B and topped with ethereal dream-pop – the singer-songwriter’s gothic, pop-R&B debut Cage The Animal makes a great introduction to the new artist.

@naomig_music

Rene
Photograph: Rene

Rene

Indie

For a blast to the past, tune into singer-songwriter Rene’s pop-rock introductions. Still exploring her sound, bouncing from alt-rock to pop-rock, Rene has managed to nail an energetic compound of punk, rock, and indie elements with her trusty guitar and honest lyrics. Keep an ear out for music that encompasses themes such as the vicissitudes of coming of age and personal relationships. Her upcoming debut EP Something to Hide is slated for release in April 2021.

@reneannwong

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Wovensound
Photograph: Wovensound/Umami Records

Wovensound

Hip-hop

While he’s not exactly new to the local music scene, Vinod Dass is taking on a new sound as Wovensound. Switching his metal boots for hip-hop trainers, the music maven takes a page out of Brockhampton and Tyler the Creator’s books to weave in elements of lo-fi, jazz and hip-hop in creating tracks that sound like a road trip altogether. As a producer, he is always on the lookout for exciting collaborations to produce something unique every time. His six-track debut EP Vertigos Fulfilled is set to drop in June 2021.

@wovensoundofficial

Bgourd
Photograph: Chris Sim

Bgourd

Rap

This lean, green, rappin' machine adds a dash of East Coast rap, a pinch of personal observations, a sprinkle of local quirks, and a splash of nerdy references to his healthy concoction of smooth hip-hop.

@bgourd05

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10vacations
Photograph: Afiq Ruzaini

10vacations

Pop

We could all do with more dreamy lo-fi pop in our hectic lives, so let 10vacations' dreamy vocals soothe some nerves. But don't sleep on the bedroom-pop wunderkind – her sound is like an acoustic rojak of Soccer Mommy, Hazel English, and Frankie Rose, with a hint of Alvvays.

@10vacations

Islandeer
Photograph: Facebook/Islandeer

Islandeer

Indie-rock

This duo jam out easy-breezy jangly pop-rock that feels at home on the radio. Borrowing inspiration from the likes of Bombay Bicycle Club, Tame Impala, The Strokes, and even The Beatles, Islandeer puts out tracks with feel-good vibes. Pro tip: turn up the volume when playing their debut full-length Daytona, which just feels like eternal summer.

@islandeerband

The Singapore Sound

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