Back to Top

Ride first class on the Bandwagon with the latest gig news!

Connect With Us

Singaporean musicians share favourite music memories of their mothers

Singaporean musicians share favourite music memories of their mothers

Although we don’t really need this one particular day once a year to appreciate the mothers and mother figures in our lives, there’s no better time to remember how they’ve helped formed us — and perhaps our musical tastes too — into who we are today.

Allow us to celebrate by letting some of our local musicians tell stories about how their mothers have backed them up in their pursuits, music and otherwise.


VILLES

Fondest music-related memory of your mum from when you were younger?

Dom (vocals): I tricked my mom into going to the old HMV with me and got Hybrid Theory by Linkin Park for me. At that time, she thought it was some Backstreet Boy related band. Boy, was she wrong (she thought I was satanic lol).

Ben (drums): When I performed for the first time with my secondary school band at the Esplanade Concert Hall, I still remember my mum smiling from ear to ear seeing me play.

Your mum's reaction when you decided to pursue music?

Ben: My mum was a drummer in school like me, so she was actually pretty happy when I told her I wanted to pursue music full-time. She viewed my happiness doing something I like, over sacrificing happiness to earn more money.

Dom: It was and is a bit of a struggle to get around because of the non-mainstream element music poses as a career so far. However, she's always been supportive of whatever I've done and bought the EP when it first came out to show off to everyone.

Has your mum ever played a role in your music career?

Ben: My mum would sometimes remind me to practice, if she knew there was a good show coming up or if she saw me not upholding my practice regime. She constantly pushes me to be better and is always there for emotional support when I'm feeling down. Which is paramount. 

Dom: As a vocalist, after every show or jamming session, she'd prepare a glass of honey lemon for me on my table so my throat feels way better. When we toured Japan, she bought me a small bottle of manuka honey to pack so I could take before and after every show. I shared it with almost all the other vocalists on tour lol. 

Name one song that reminds you of your mum, and why.

Ben: The entirety of Westlife's Coast To Coast. When I was a kid, my parents were going through a divorce, and she would be unable to sleep at night. I would come into her room and sing Westlife songs to her to make her feel better. 

Dom: Hillsong United's 'One Way, Jesus'. My mom was a singer in her praise and worship church community. Whenever I got home from school she'd be blasting that song on repeat. I never thought a Christian song could be so haunting. "One way, Jesus!"

How are you intending to celebrate Mother’s Day?

Dom: I've been studying in Sydney for the past three years, so every Mother's Day I'd call her for hours and listen to whoever she dislikes now or how she can't believe someone did something. 

Ben: I'll be keeping my Mother's Day tradition of bringing her out to dinner at a place of her choice.


JAIME WONG

Fondest music-related memory of your mum from when you were younger?

My mum used to play these cheesy Chinese oldies in the car when I was a kid, and she would sing along with a lot of gusto. Slowly, I began to sing along with a lot of gusto too. I later found out she participated in singing competitions as a teen! 

Your mum's reaction when you decided to pursue music?

She was and still is very supportive. I have never gotten a negative reaction from her about doing music. Although she did tell me sometimes she would space out during my gigs because "the songs are too slow and sad". 

Has your mum ever played a role in your music career?

Music has always been part of my life because my parents and older brother are all music-lovers. It was just a "given" in the family. My mum, with her boisterous singing and her ability to find a song to sing in almost every situation (when she cannot find parking, when she is hungry, when she is cooking, when she wants to passive-aggressively reprimand me for something) really reinforces how music is just part of me.  

Name one song that reminds you of your mum, and why.

'How Deep Is Your Love' by the Bee Gees (her favourite band). Or 'Kill Em With Kindness' by Selena Gomez because for some reason she knows every word in that song. 

How are you intending to celebrate Mother’s Day?

It's hard to plan fun and exciting outings for my mum because she probably has more of a life than my brother and I. Probably a nice meal. Or karaoke. 


T-REX

Fondest music-related memory of your mother from when you were younger?

Ahmad Khaliq (guitars): Yearly Christmas music parties and shows for kids at her workplace. There were loads of musical games and such. She brought me to my first concert at the Singapore Indoor Stadium (by religious group RAIHAN). Sometimes, she'd bring me to check out my uncle (her brother) who plays for Top 40s group Jive Talkin' and, like every little kid in attendance, I was so in awe!

Your mum's reaction when you decided to pursue music?

My mum has always been supportive in my musical journey. I used to do dance, rap, drama way back, and she was always ever present.

She was pretty upset about me dropping everything at 18 to pursue music, but all she wanted was an assurance that I could live substantially with music.

Has your mum ever played a role in your music career?

Definitely, In the early 90s till 2000s, she and my Dad would blast The Carpenters, Tom Jones, Abba — all that classic stuff at home. At night, my sisters would blast soul, R&B, and boyband pop. I grew up with all of that as a kid.

Her strict upbringing, discipline and all these genres constantly played at home brought out the rebel in me, and it reflects on my songwriting — which is most of the time, obscure, progressive and multi-dimensional.

Name one song that reminds you of your mum, and why.

'Mama' by Spice Girls, it's almost relatable to everyone. It was one of my favourite songs in primary school and I used to sing it a lot.

How are you intending to celebrate Mother’s Day?

Just like any other Mother's Day, a simple mini-gathering at our place with my two married sisters, brother-in-laws and my nephews and niece.


SAM RUI

Fondest music-related memory of your mother from when you were younger?

My parents used to sing in the church choir when I was younger. I've always known that she loves music (she sings and plays the piano).

She's a lot more reserved about it than my dad though — I remember at Christmas parties, my dad would always be more game to do some carolling and he'd rope my mom in and they'd sing together. My dad's got a beautiful baritone and my mom's got a really wonderful, clean soprano voice — I just remember them sounding really good and how nice it was to see them do this thing they loved together. 

Your mum's reaction when you decided to pursue music?

I think at first she was pretty apprehensive — as all moms are — sometimes a bit worried and skeptical, because I was coming home at 6am after being in the studio. I think she was worried I was running off doing something dodgy haha.

She's always known I love doing this though, and never stopped me when I was younger, sending me for piano classes and the lot. I think it's only when I was like "Mum, I want to be a singer" that she was like "Um, I don't know if that's the best idea." But I don't think she has ever doubted my ability — she was just worried about the stability and longevity of it.

She was behind it as long as I didn't screw up my uni grades in the process. But when things got a bit more hectic by the midpoint of 2016 and I told her I wanted to take a semester off, she let me do it. She saw what it meant to me and that I wasn't being an irresponsible, impulsive artist and just let me have free reign. I don't think many parents can be as open minded and understanding as my mom, and I'm grateful she trusted me enough to go after what I do.

Has your mum ever played a role in your music career?

I think, for the most part, although they support what I do, they don't really know what to do to actively help — like it's not the same as helping me with my homework when I was in primary school. But sometimes she corrects the grammar in my songs (laughs).

For example, when I need syllables to fit into a line, I would write "you was" and she'll hear it and be all, "it's you were, Sammie. Did I not teach you this right?" Or she'll help me out with my invoices — the first time I was asked to send an invoice, I didn't even know what it was. She nags at me a lot about my finances (laughs), which is good because I need to be kept in check.

But for the most part, she just makes a really big effort to involve herself in understanding my way of life, the circle of friends and the kind of experiences that comes with it. She comes to my shows, asks about my band members and friends — she even skyped Fauxe once with me when I was staying with him in KL, asking him how it is up there and how he's doing.

I think, maybe with some parents whose kids choose an alternative career path, they don't object it but don't wholeheartedly support it either, and just sort of remain distanced from it. It means a lot that she bothers to be so involved, even though i can imagine it's quite alien to her. The moral support is more than enough.

Name one song that reminds you of your mum, and why.

Probably 'Baby of Mine' from the Dumbo soundtrack. My mom used to work at Disney and she has this book with all the sheet music of the Disney classics. These songs were some of the first non-classical pieces I learned on the piano, so a lot of the songs in there remind me of her but this one in particular, it's my favourite ballad.

How are you intending to celebrate Mother’s Day?

Probably nothing fancy, my mom is a pretty low-key sort of person and doesn't ask for much. She's also diabetic, so the standard cake and chocolate gifts in the morning can't be done for her.

She really values times that my family spends together though, since our schedules are all so busy. We'll probably just go for a nice family dinner somewhere with her and my grandma, and my little brother (he's 12) will probably make her one of those cute cards that kids do and parents always dig and all will be good.

An early picture of Sam Rui's mother.


MORNING MARTIANS

Fondest music-related memory of your mother from when you were younger?

Nash (guitars): One of the good memories I have is when my mom gave me a whole stack of albums that she listened to back in the day. I still remember I fell in love with ABBA, The Carpenters and Queen. She bought me a Discman to play the CDs. It was then that I learned to appreciate music, and then we started going out and buy more albums. 

Your mum's reaction when you decided to pursue music?

Like any other moms, they were quite skeptical about us pursuing music. They were so afraid that we're going to make this full-time and forget about day-jobs.

Unlike our drummer, Ridwan, the rest of the band members were not musically graded so it was hard to keep that level of assurance that we're only doing this as a hobby when in fact, we're doing it nearly full-time. At the end of the day, mothers still do come to our shows and watch all of us play. 

Has your mum ever played a role in your music career?

Our moms didn't really play a big part in our music lives. It's the trust and their understanding towards us is what kept us going. If they didn't support us in having a hobby, then we don't think we are where we are now. In fact, we might have a few changes in line-up and such. Thankfully, we don't have to experience all that.

Name one song that reminds you of your mum, and why.

ABBA's 'Dancing Queen'. That's her favourite.

How are you intending to celebrate Mother’s Day?

Nothing fancy. We're just gonna chill with them and promote our tote bag cuz its totes k0olz. I luv mumZ.


JANA ANN NEO

Fondest music-related memory of your mother from when you were younger?

Putting up little performances with my siblings for my parents, re-enacting scenes from musicals and movies. I recall one of my favourites being a scene from the song 'It's a Hard Knock Life' from Annie the Musical. We would spend hours on end analyzing the dance movements and facial expressions. Props to her for always being our loyal audience member, as silly and uncoordinated as they might have been. 

Your mum's reaction when you decided to pursue music?

It didn't come as a surprise to her, because I'd been warbling tunes from Disney to broadway musicals since I was a teeny tot. 

As my mother and a musician herself, she has always known that music has been a very strong passion of mine. 

Has your mum ever played a role in your music career?

Definitely! I come from a very musical family. She started teaching me how to play the piano since I was young, and I think that's been a really useful skill that has carried through with me even till today. I guess I also inherited her ability to harmonize because she used to sing to me a lot as a kid, which is cool. She's generally very supportive of my music — for that, I am very thankful. 

Name one song that reminds you of your mum, and why.

A song from my childhood, 'You Are My Sunshine'! (One of her nicknames for me is Sunshine). 

How are you intending to celebrate Mother’s Day?

My siblings and I have something in the works — maybe some homemade sticky date pudding (a family favourite). She appreciates simplicity, so a family movie night or something casual might be in the works as well! 


FAUXE

Fondest music-related memory of your mum from when you were younger?

Sitting in the car in Perth in the cold, laying on the back seat as an 11-year-old, and 'Lemon Tree' by Fool's Garden was playing on the radio.

Your mum's reaction when you decided to pursue music?

The same way she reacts to everything major I've done — always with a "WHAT!?". I love her for that. 

Has your mum ever played a role in your music career?

Well, my mum first tolerated the noise I was making because she was worried the neighbours would complain and call the cops. She is the reason I have a studio in my room. Not the equipment per se, but the space, the booth — all these came from the renovation I did when I moved to Yishun four years ago. PSA: Yishun is safe la guys. Come to Klang.Yishun four years ago. PSA: Yishun is safe lah, guys. Come to Klang.

Name one song that reminds you of your mum, and why.

Don Moen, anything from Don Moen or Hillsong. That's like my mum's vibe for a bit growing up (laughs).

How are you intending to celebrate Mother’s Day?

I'm in Kuala Lumpur now and have been based there for awhile. I won't be able to celebrate it and I usually don't, unless she buys the cake. I don't know. I guess if that's a day of reminding us about our mothers, I guess I've been too focused on caring that she is my mum the rest of my 364 days every year. Love you, mum. 


HAUSTE

Fondest music-related memory of your mum from when you were younger?

Bennett Bay: She turns on the radio while she does chores, and if a song she knows comes up, she'd be singing along to it. The earliest memory I have of this is walking into the kitchen and hearing her singing along to '月亮代表我的心 ('The Moon Represents My Heart') — it's my fondest memory of her musically, because it reminds me of how happy music can make people.

Ian: Probably my mum blasting 'I’m Every Woman' by Chaka Khan, so loud that it would wake me up.

Daniel: My mum brought me to my first and last piano class at Yamaha. I remembered some rocket in the book. I don't know why I never went back, I had so much fun there.

Yuru: Being with my mom in my first ever music lesson at Yamaha when I was around 4 years old. I was super shy but my mom just kept hyping the lesson until I became super interested in it (laughs).

Your mum's reaction when you decided to pursue music?

Bennett: She was and has been very supportive. She firmly believes that if it's something that I'm interested in and love doing, then there's no reason why I should be trying to do anything else.

I remember when I first tried to audition for SOTA, there was no option to audition for the suona (a double reed woodwind instrument) because most people didn't know what it was, and so I was preparing myself to not be able to go there. But she called up the school, and a few hours later I could audition. 

Ian: She was hugely supportive of my interest in music and pushed me to take formal education, but I was never interested.

Daniel: She would always want to hear what we've been up to and like always asking about "How's the band doing?" every time after I would come home from a rehearsal session. She's also really psyched about the upcoming EP. I don't know how many times she bought 'Going Home'. She's supportive of whatever I do, as long as I stay in school and be good.

Yuru: Initially, she pushed for me to enter a more academic-centric course, as I was unsure of what I wanted to do in the future. However, ever since I made the decision to pursue music last year, she has unconditionally offered me her support, and has been supporting me ever since. 

Has your mum ever played a role in your music career?

Bennett: I was preparing to audition for Lasalle last year, and my old teacher for the suona was constantly asking me to pursue it in NAFA instead. It was difficult to come to a decision back then, he kept pestering me and I kept doubting what I believed.

But one night, my mum came into my room and we had a long talk, and she reminded me even more that if music is a medium for things that can't be said otherwise, and if writing can help those who need a form of affirmation for their beliefs and for their way of life, then one should continue to do so no matter how difficult it becomes — no many how many easy paths they pass up — because a life led in disparity with one's beliefs would be difficult and hell in itself.

This calmed me and made me realize what's really important, and the decision to pursue my beliefs is thanks to her. 

Ian:  She bought me my first drum set after a year of incessant begging by me, and this sparked the beginning of my musical journey as a drummer.

Daniel: She bought me my first guitar. it was this BC King guitar that has red fire printed on the body. Basically, this guitar doesn't fit me at all! I don't know why I chose it. It might be a hallmark of my former love for death metal, I guess?

Apart from supporting my broke ass most of the time, when she heard some of the tracks off the upcoming EP, she told me about how she felt, which is probably the most valuable gift she has given me.

Yuru: The talk — more like a formal pitch — I had with my family ended with my mom giving her approval and support first, and I'll forever be thankful for that. 

Name one song that reminds you of your mum, and why.

Bennett: 'Untitled #3, Samskeyti' by Sigur Ros. There're no words to the song, and it's a typical repetitive motif that slowly crescendos into a resounding chorus of theme and counterpoint.

But whenever I listen to this song I'm reminded of the times when she'd be on the phone with her sisters, laughing hysterically and smiling so contently, of the times when she'd be crying but I wouldn't know why, of the times she'd be looking out the window, hands in prayer hoping that everything would be alright, and of the times I'd notice her in the audience and I'd wonder if she was happy and alright.

Ian:  'Ain’t Nobody' by Chaka Khan, because ain’t nobody got your back more than your mum.

Daniel: It will most likely be 'Mama, I'm Coming Home' by Ozzy Osbourne. For someone that bit off a bat's head, the lyrics actually managed to hit me right in the feels.

Yuru: Any theme song from Heroic Chinese Chronicles!

How are you intending to celebrate Mother’s Day?

Bennett: We will probably be having steamboat at home!

Ian: With a lovely dinner at the botanic gardens, accompanied by a free concert by SSO.

Daniel: We will be enjoying a nice home cooked meal, and watch some Batman and Spiderman, just to remind ourselves how lucky we are to have parents in our lives.

Yuru: We'll probably have a home cooked dinner with the entire family.


JOIE TAN

Fondest music-related memory of your mum from when you were younger?

Hearing and watching my mom play the piano. I remember being tall enough to see her foot on the pedal and her hands moving about. It seemed like wizardry to me because I gave up on piano lessons very early on.

Your mum's reaction when you decided to pursue music?

I think it came as no surprise to my parents when I chose to perform because I’d always been very expressive and my strengths were prevalently in art-related subjects. My parents both play instruments so they naturally were supportive and let me go to art school. I’m very thankful to have extremely supportive parents.

Has your mum ever played a role in your music career?

My mum supports me in whatever I do and she’s constantly sharing my YouTube videos to people, even strangers (much to my embarrassment sometimes). At the end of the day I know it’s because she’s proud of me and I cannot be more appreciative of that.

Name one song that reminds you of your mum, and why.

'If Tomorrow Never Comes' by Ronan Keating because it’s her bye-bye ringtone when you call her and 'Close To You' by The Carpenters. I don’t know why that song reminds me of her (laughs).

How are you intending to celebrate Mother’s Day?

I think I’m just going to buy her flowers and hang out with her. Nothing too fancy. As I get older, I think I see less weight to occasions like Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day. I feel like a special day shouldn’t change the way we treat the people we hold dear.

Comments

Sponsored By Bandwagon