MTV VMAs 2014: A Lesson In Pushing Singapore Musicians From Local To Global

Most musicians will unabashedly admit to dreaming of becoming Mr or Ms Worldwide – and how do you know when you’ve turned this dream into reality and made mama proud? You get invited to MTV’s Video Music Awards, duh!

There’s nothing more fulfilling as a musician than to be recognised on a global scale, which in the context of the VMAs 2014 refers to the the “Fabulous” Forum in California and spilling into the millions of anticipating fans behind various media coverage platforms from all ends of the earth.

We all know that these global superstars ultimately started off as mere everyday folk like us, with the same ambitions and dreams of wanting to “make it” in the world. But, in a generation where the potential for spotting home-grown talent is directly linear to the number of views on your YouTube channel, how did these budding musicians set themselves apart to prove that they deserve musical appreciation from a global scale instead of just in their bedroom for the audience of zero?

After watching the MTV VMAs 2014 at the MTV Asia HQ, I came up with a simple checklist a musician should strive towards in their attempt to ride from local to global fame.

PS: This applies to ALL  aspiring musicians out there, not just artists based in Singapore! If the shoe fits, feel free to wear it yo. #PopspokenSupportsLocal

1. Stand for something (so you won’t fall for anything, right?)


Beyoncé’s self-titled album medley performance had strong messages about family, feminism and finding yourself. It’s so inspirational, we may or may not have shed a tear while watching the Queen.

Instead of going on stage to claim her Moon Man for “Wrecking Ball” video, Miley Cyrus dedicated her acceptance speech for a representative to raise awareness for the homeless. It made us immediately take back our disapproving ‘boo’s we made a few seconds earlier when she was announced award winner. Find out more about her cause at her Facebook page.


2. Work, work, work (unless you’re Beyoncé of course, then you don’t even have to try)
In anything you do in the culture industries, it’s always gonna be hard work in trying to get people to recognise and appreciate you.

Iggy Azalea at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards

Case in point: Before the glamour and glitter from Iggy Azalea’s performance, she had to go through some very trying years before she earned her debut in the rap industry. Her song “Work” says it all – we definitely recommend a listen here.


3. Twerk
Tadaaaaa. Miley Cyrus popularised it at the 2013 VMAs, and Nicki Minaj did her own version of it this year. You gotta do it to be famous, man.

Minaj performs onstage during the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards at The Forum on August 24, 2014 in Inglewood, California.

No, we’re totally kidding. Don’t actually.
However, we do recommend starting some sort of trend among your audience that will ultimately be classified as yours. Get them to dance, to throw iced water over their heads, just something easy and fun that will get people talking!


4. Do not follow the dress code
You see, while most of us love to take the safer route especially when it comes to social conventions, the artists at VMAs sure as hell don’t care. They just come as they please.

Katy Perry – Wonder Woman

Big title: The busty singer was grinning with glee after receiving her trophy

Taylor Swift – Water Theme Park
Haters gonna hate hate hate, but there’s a difference between making a statement about your genre change and dressing for Adventure Cove, y’know?


Lorde – Little Miss Death
Pulling off her signature dark purple lips and all-black-because-i-am-a-goth-teenager look, Lorde shows us that famous people don’t necessarily have a large wardrobe after all.


That’s all, folks! Hope you managed to apply some musician life lessons from this year’s VMAs. Looking forward to see some of our home-grown Lion City musicians out there in the global radar! Keep it real guys!

WATCH: Repeat telecasts of the VMAs 2014 on MTV Asia at the following dates & times:

  • Monday, 25 August at 8.30pm (WIB), 9.30pm (SG/PH) and 10.30pm (MAL)
  • Wednesday, 27 August at 11am (WIB), 12pm (SG/PH) and 1pm (MAL)
  • Thursday, 28 August at 10pm (WIB), 11pm (SG/PH) and Friday, 29 August at 12am (MAL)
  • Saturday, 30 August
    Pre-Show: 1pm (WIB), 2pm (SG/PH) and 3pm (MAL)
    Main Show: 2pm (WIB), 3pm (SG/PH) and 4pm (MAL)
  • Monday, 1 September at 2pm (WIB), 3pm (SG/PH) and 4pm (MAL)

For a full list of award nominees and winners at the 2014 VMAs, head on over to

Photo Credits: MTV Buzzworthy,, The Independent, Miley Cyrus Facebook, Wire Image, Getty Images
Special thanks: MTV Asia for having Popspoken at the VMA live screening


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Explore latest trends in contemporary culture