A cup of coffee back in 2016 led Falling Feathers, also known as JJ Ong, to sharing his musical aspirations with me. Though relatively new to the scene back then, this solo act was opening for bands such as Mayday Parade and successfully released his debut EP to much media coverage. It was no surprise that he would be nicknamed as Singapore’s next biggest pop star yet.
Now, it is March 2019 – three years after we first met at The Cathay’s Starbucks outlet, and we are meeting for a cup of coffee once again. This time we are settled nicely at a quiet cafe setting in the city, and evidently time has shifted a couple of things for this local musician. His demeanour is slightly more mellow and there is a quiet confidence in the way he carries himself.
With the mandatory National Service past him and with new goals in mind, Falling Feathers has also taken a new direction with the music he is releasing in an upcoming EP titled W I T H E R.
“I want to tell a story with my music and that is my focus with the music I am putting out today. With this release, I am more genuine with what I want to say and these stories draw from my own experiences as well as those of others,” he shares.
Unlike the catchy tunes and bubbly outlook in his previous EP Pipe Dreams, W I T H E R sheds light on topics such as depression and anxiety. He goes on to explain the departure from his earlier sound: “These are solemn topics and are about dealing with something. I know of people around me working through and coping with these issues, and I want to reach out in my own way through my music to let them know that they are not alone.”
A study done in 2016 has shown that 1 in 7 people in Singapore will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime. Compared to the study conducted in 2010, the percentage has definitely increased and mental health has been a topic for discussion in recent months. By translating and sharing his thoughts about the topic, Falling Feathers also opens up his own channels for fans to reach out to him if they would like to talk to someone.
“If you want to just chat with someone and share your own stories, you can always reach me through my social media accounts. I will definitely respond,” he gives a nod while stating this with conviction.
This reaching out and gesture of being there for his fans also is reflected in the organisation of the upcoming EP Launch done together with his friends from ORANGECOVE. Held at SCAPE The Treetop, it is an intimate space of just 180. It will be a cosy evening of music and to facilitate a safe space for relaxation and enjoyment.
He says, “I want to share music with fans and the people who have supported me through this musical journey. And this is for me to share music with the people who are most important.”
Date: 23rd March 2019
Venue: SCAPE The Treetop
Admission: From $10 (Purchase your tickets here.)
Photography and visuals courtesy of Falling Feathers