SINGAPORE, 8 October 2023 — Following four months of competition with rewarding mentorship from renowned veteran producer-songwriter Eric Ng and Malaysian lyricist K.S. Chong, the seventh edition of ‘SG: SW I Write The Songs’ Songwriting Festival concluded with its Finale Concert on 7 October 2023. The event was graced by Guest-Of-Honour Ms Low Yen Ling, Minister of State, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth & Ministry of Trade and Industry. Seven awards were presented to recognise the talents and efforts of our local songwriters, of which the highest accolade of Best Song Award was presented by Minister of State Ms Low Yen Ling.
The judges comprised Dr. Liang Wern Fook, recipient of the Singapore Chinese Cultural Contribution Award and Cultural Medallion; music producer Zennon Goh; award-winning producer-songwriter Eric Ng; renowned Malaysian lyricist K.S. Chong; and Lin Peifen from YES 933 radio station. There were also guest performances by local singer-songwriter and SG:SW 2023 Ambassador Yokez, and Mediacorp artiste Bonnie Loo.
The ‘SG: SW I Write The Songs’ Songwriting Festival is a collaborative effort between the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre (SCCC), the Composers and Authors Society of Singapore (COMPASS), and Oceans Butterflies Music to provide a platform to uncover and cultivate the next generation of local music creators. There was a total of 225 entries received this year from a diverse range of songwriters, made up of individuals with differing interests, occupations, experiences and ages. The youngest participant is only 15 years old while the most senior is 64 years old. In addition, three of the top 10 compositions were written by songwriters below 20, one of whom is a 19 year old student represented in two entries. The music genres were distinct and diverse – from a tear-jerking ballad, traditional Chinese style, rock, electronic dance music (EDM), to duets.
SCCC Chief Executive Officer Low Sze Wee said, “I am heartened to see songwriters from all walks of life participate in ‘SG: SW I Write The Songs’ with a common passion in music. Their music is inspired by their different experiences and it reflects the unique way of life in Singapore, such as this year’s Xchange Award recipients who creatively incorporated Chinese and Malay elements into their song. I look forward to more of such multi-cultural compositions in the future.”
Chief Executive Officer and Director of COMPASS Dr Edmund Lam commented, “In our 7th year of SG:SW I Write The Songs, the number of entries and more importantly the quality of entries from everyone is applaudable. It emboldens our support for SG:SW to see tertiary students participate with much support from their peers, lecturers and even principal. I heartily encourage everyone to persevere in this passion and continue creating wonderful music creations in this community of songwriting.”
The Managing Director of Ocean Butterflies Music mentioned, “I firmly believe that there is an everlasting demand for original songs, and the Mandarin songwriting scene will always require new blood to grow and thrive. With 55% of SG:SW 2023 participants being new faces, this shows that more songwriters are joining the ranks of original music, painting a promising picture for the outlook of the local songwriting scene.”
Best Song Award: The Moon and The Sunflower
(Photo: The Moon and The Sunflower, Melody and Lyrics by Ruby Zhou)
Having won praises from judges at the ‘Live Showcase’, The Moon and The Sunflower went on to win the Best Song Award at the Finale Concert last night. Written by Ruby Zhou, the creative lyrics and catchy melody made the song an earworm.
Lyrics (Merit) Award: The Circus of Joy
(Photo: The Circus of Joy, Melody and Lyrics by Clavin Cher)
The Lyrics (Merit) Award went to Clavin Cher, who was one of the top 10 finalists of SG:SW 2022. He took the stage of the SG:SW 2023 Finale Concert once again with a Big Band Swing style song titled The Circus of Joy. To present the imagery of a circus portrayed in the lyrics, the songwriter/singer donned the attire of a circus ringmaster with his band members dressed in animal costumes, joyfully and energetically performing on stage. They fully embraced the theme, leading to their triumphant win of the Lyrics (Merit) Award.
Melody (Merit) Award: The Last of Us
(Photo: The Last of Us, Melody by Chen Ting An and Lyrics by Ang Min Jia and Chen Ting An)
The Melody (Merit) Award went to the heart-wrenching ballad The Last of Us, lyrics by Ang Min Jia and Chen Ting An, and melody by Chen Ting An, which eloquently narrates the helplessness and regrets in a relationship. The singer takes on a first-person perspective to interpret the process of healing and gradually letting go. The emotional performance successfully moved the judges and eventually clinched the Melody (Merit) Award.
Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre Xchange Award and Popularity Award (Public Voting): Thinking of You
(Photo: Thinking of You, Melody by Poh Kok Xuan and Lyrics by Lim Wei Bin )
Although SG:SW is a Mandarin songwriting festival, our multi-cultural elements shone through once again. The song Thinking of You stood out amongst the competition with a cross-cultural use of the Mandarin and Malay language and claimed the coveted ‘SCCC Xchange’ Award.
The Popularity Award is 100% voted by the public. Thinking of You garnered a total of 284 votes.
Best Vocal Performance Award: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow
(Photo: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow, Melody and Lyrics by Yap Dawn, Keisha Tew, Yong Kar Yi)
Awards were given out for best showcases too. The Best Vocal Performance Award went to the student trio of Yap Dawn, Keisha Tew and Yong Kar Yi, who left an impression in SG:SW 2021 Finale Concert with Xin Jie’s Coffee Shop. The group made a comeback this year with a new song Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow. This poignant ballad recounts the journey of growth and successfully won over the hearts of the judges to clinch Best Vocal Performance Award.
Best Performing Band Award: Love Ain’t An Equation
(Photo: Love Ain’t An Equation, Melody by Donald Tan and Lyrics by Tan Chiew Yen)
The Best Performing Band Award went to familiar faces of SG:SW, lyricist Tan Chiew Yen and composer Donald Tan, who made it to the Top 10 Finalists for the first time with their rock song Love Ain’t An Equation and ultimately clinching the Best Performing Band Award. As the last to take the stage, the singer’s outstanding rendition and the professional performance by the musicians ended the concert on a high note.
About the SG: SW I Write The Songs 2023 Finale Concert
Date: 7 October 2023, Saturday
Venue: Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre Far East Organisation Auditorium, Level 9
Guest Artistes: Yokez & Bonnie Loo (Mediacorp Artiste)
Hosts: Gao Mei Gui & Zhu Zeliang (Mediacorp YES 933 DJ)
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