Local Bands Take On the World: The SGMUSO Live Showcase

Despite the incredible access and exposure the Internet provides for artists, touring still offers emerging bands a wealth of experience unmatched by Facebook likes. Unfortunately, an endeavour like that rarely comes cheap. 

Flight tickets, insurance for instruments, food, transportation, accommodation, plus the unshakeable fear of getting into danger on the road. It's a tough life and unless you have the impenetrable shelter of a major label, or even a well-off indie establishment, it takes a lot out of musicians to constantly travel while already fighting for peoples' ears.

A collaboration was announced by Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and non-profit organization SGMUSO to aid Singaporean bands in achieving greater exposure through touring. Presenting Singapore: Inside Out (SG:IO), they've chosen a group of local acts to perform at three different major cities — namely Beijing, New York and London. 

While acts for the latter two cities have yet to be finalized, modern classical group SA trio and indie-rock quintet Take Two are the names confirmed to play in the Chinese capital, under the SGMUSO Live Showcase.

This showcase will run in parallel with SG:IO, a travelling display of Singapore’s contemporary creative talents across various disciplines. “We’re excited for the opportunity to reach out to the Chinese music lovers and we are currently focusing our energy into sourcing for additional gigs and shows. We hope to build a foundation in China now, from which we can grow in the future,” says Take Two, who are also launching their debut EP PAIRS on April 18. 

SA trio, on the other hand, are currently prepping for a short tour with experimental rock band The Observatory in Hong Kong, Macau and France. Says the trio, “This will be a chance to showcase how Chinese traditional music in Singapore has had a chance to transform into something uniquely Singaporean. We appreciate the greater exposure to the genre we are trying to promote.”

Led by STB as part of the SG50 celebrations, SG:IO seeks to broaden the international community’s perception of Singapore through a diverse presentation of creative works in Beijing, London, New York and Singapore from April to December 2015. 

The two acts for Beijing were chosen from a pool of 70 that responded to SGMUSO’s first of three Open Calls. SA trio and Take Two were chosen after two rounds of selection — first by four local music industry players, followed by another panel including not only representatives of SGMUSO and STB, but also China/Hong Kong based industry players Justin Sweeting (Artist Voice Asia, Clockenflap Festival) & Ed Peto (Outdustry).

The bands will perform at various SGMUSO Live Showcases during the programming at SG:IO in Beijing. SG:IO will be housed within a specially-designed modular structure at Locomotive Square (Beijing) from 22nd to 26th April 2015.

Meanwhile, the first two of three bands to travel to London, along with the first of two bands to travel to New York will be announced later this month. The second Open Call for London will run from April 20 to 26, while the third Open Call for New York will run from July 13 to 19. You can find out more details at SGMUSO's official website and Facebook page.