We are on what might possibly be one of the most unprecedented period in history: the circuit breaker. Since 7 April, life as we know it has slowed to a standstill. Things may seem a little bleak at the moment as the circuit breaker is to last for a month, but in this climate of fear and uncertainty, several celebrities, students and ordinary Singaporeans have stepped up to provide our community with some hope through the medium of music.
Here’s a compilation of locally made tunes that aim to educate, uplift and remind everyone to stay in.
14 talented local artists from multi-cultural backgrounds, namely Charlie Lim, Yung Raja, Fariz Jabba, ShiGGa Shay, Alif, ABANGSAPAU, Tosh Rock, Iman, Aisyah Aziz, Shye, Zadon, YAØ, Hashy and Dee Kosh, come together to highlight that “social distancing does not mean emotional distancing”. The track was inspired by the Malaysian version of #JanganKeluar, and all the artists stayed home to record, and film this mega single all within 11 days. Solidarity indeed.
Calvin Wong, CEO of Universal Music South East Asia is fully supportive, and says, “We are most excited about this initiative, which showcases the passion of the artists and music executives who worked together cohesively in record time to create an amazing body of work. We are proud of these 14 artists who represent the new generation of Singaporeans who are stepping up to today’s challenges.”
Most memorable line: Even though stones break the bones / You will never break the soul / We’ll be fighting through the cold / And we’re waiting for you to come home
Home (900-Strong Virtual Choir)
Non-profit arts organisation Voices of Singapore launched a Virtual Choir Project back in March and received over 900 submissions from Singaporeans age five to 80, residing in 26 different countries. Released last night, the video montage features the virtual choir singing the iconic National Day theme song, ‘Home’. Supported by the Singapore Tourism Board and in partnership with Createurs Productions and Pink Noise, the Virtual Choir Project was initiated to ‘bring a glimpse of hope through solidarity and unity’. It also aimed to comfort those living overseas, far from home, whether due to quarantines or border restrictions.
Darius Lim, Artistic Director of Voices of Singapore and conductor of the virtual choir mentioned that it has been a heartwarming sight to see Singaporeans from all walks of life participate in this crowdsourced project. “It is a timely reminder to all of us that whatever the situation, we are never alone,” said Lim.
Stand by Me
The classic hit “Stand by Me” by Ben E. King has been re-invigorated by Dr Sydney Tan’s production skills in collaboration with True Colours Festival (Nippon Foundation) and features 46 artistes with disabilities over 15 countries. Some prominent personalities include Sparsh Shah, whose rap of Eminem’s “Not Afraid” became a viral sensation. Closer to home, it also features Wheelsmith, who performed in last year’s NDP parade.
10 People 1 Metre
One of Singapore’s foremost laughter generator, mrbrown, and frequent collaborator Benjamin Miyagi Lee have put their comedic spin on a perennial favourite. Titled “10 People 1 Metre”, the remake specifically touches on the topic of social distancing and the advisory that mentions the need for people to stand at least one metre apart in shared public spaces. We wouldn’t be surprised if Singaporeans accidentally sing this version instead of the original on National Day.
Since the release of the cover, updates to the regulations might prompt a name change, since judging by how stringent regulations are, it might be considered “fake news”.
“10 people is because the Gahmen made that rule that gatherings could not exceed 10 people. Changed from the 250 limit. Now can’t even gather liao. The rules change so fast. Now the song would be: All People, Whole Nation, Home Singapore”, quips the blogger.
Funnyman mrbrown shared that Miyagi and him recorded the cover, with lyrics authored by Jeff Cheong, in two takes. It took them an hour to complete the recording and two takes, as mrbrown confessed that he is “a stickler for audio quality”. We always need that ray of humour that pierces through our darkest days.
Most memorable line: Cinemas and makan place / Kena close and contact trace
Not to be confused by a similarly titled Disney princess’ musical number (we mean Rapunzel), The Light is co-written by Jarrell Huang, who won the Chinese singing competition SPOP, and The Celebrity Agency artiste JJ Neo. Featuring the voices of Mediacorp actors and actresses such as Desmond Tan, Felicia Chin, James Seah, Liwani Izzati and Sharon Shobana, the song aims to cheer on frontline medical staff and rally Singaporeans in these difficult times.
Most memorable line: So come on / Just let go / You’re not in this alone
Singapore, Unite As One
With a title like this, it is no wonder some have commented that Singapore, “Unite As One” is a potential contender for this year’s National Day theme song. However, Jacob Neo, the Primary 6 student from Fairfield Methodist School (Primary) behind this original composition, and his schoolmates only intended to show their utmost appreciation to healthcare workers on duty at the National University Hospital.
Impressive production for a song that was written in merely two days given Neo has no formal music education outside school and this is his first time writing a song as part of the General Music Programme at school.
Most memorable line: But we’ll be together through thick and the thin / As one country we’ll fight this virus and win
The Covid-19 Song
A little more under the radar is “The Covid-19 Song” by students from Teck Whye Secondary School. The entire track spans not more than 40 seconds and features a sassy rapper who wants adults to bear in mind the importance of covering their mouths when coughing or sneezing.
Most memorable line: When you’re coughing, sneezing, please cover up / Do I have to tell you this? / You are a grown up!
WASH YO HANDS
Yes, this old school hip-hop R&B number is produced by news site Mothership.SG and performed by Gurmit Singh himself, not in the capacity of his more famous alter ego. That said, there are still plenty of hilarious skits in the music video and Singh is equally funny in every role he takes on.
Most memorable line: Personal hygiene is not a chore / If we do our part, then win liao lor!
If this song rings a bell, that’s because you might have heard it in 2003, during the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak. While the vocalists have changed (a new batch of YES 933 FM deejays have lent their voices to the song alongside music trio Dreamz FM) and the lyrics have been updated in light of COVID-19, the melody is still as stirring for many of the radio station listeners.
Most memorable line: 没有你会是怎样 / 全世界都在彷徨 / 无惧危险 / 无私奉献 (What would it be like without you / The whole world would feel anxious / Unafraid of danger / Selfless dedication)
Stand Apart For Singapore
Travel and lifestyle portal TheSmartLocal also published their rendition of “Stand Up for Singapore”, complete with simple dance moves for people to follow as they sing along, and perhaps to ride on the TikTok trend? This cover is a far cry from their millennial Kung Flu rap set to a modern trap beat that can no longer be found on their site, most probably due to its sensitive nature. The wholesome performance is a lot catchier due to its sense of familiarity.
Most memorable line: Singapore our home and nation / Together with less concentrations
Stay At Home
Folks over at local news media site, SGAG, picked up the baton in this unofficial relay of remakes, and shared with their followers their very own cover of Kit Chan’s ‘Home’ aptly reworked into ‘Stay At Home’. SGAG talent and crew members recorded themselves singing the tongue-in-cheek lyrics that was then presented in the form of a video collage.
Most memorable line: Stay at home / Surely outside sibei (very) crazy / This is when you should be alone
Stay With You
One of the first few songs to be released – initially in support of healthcare workers in China, now a general anthem of encouragement for all frontliners battling the virus – is the moving ballad Stay With You. A timely collaboration by two of our biggest Mandopop exports, JJ Lin wrote the melody and Stefanie Sun penned the meaningful lyrics for the song.
Back in March, Lin organised a special online concert to celebrate his birthday and he live streamed the mini concert to viewers via YouTube. He performed “Stay With You” for the first time live and was joined by fellow musician friends David Tao, Tanya Chua (their first onstage appearance together), along with a surprise cameo by Ashin of Mayday.
Most memorable line: 阻礙就算更迭 / 卸下無助的第一步 (Even if the obstacles change / Let’s remove the first step of helplessness)