The finalists for Singapore's Vans Musicians Wanted 2021 competition have been chosen!
Contestants for this year's edition will be judged by a panel comprising local rapper THELIONCITYBOY, Singaporean pop singer Tabitha Nauser, and Martin James Kong of post-hardcore stalwarts Caracal. The artists will also serve as mentors for the finalists.
The regional finals will be live-streamed in September where the winner will go on to compete with other global finalists for a chance to share the stage with British singer-songwriter YUNGBLUD.
Without further ado, check out the list of the 20 finalists who made the cut!
Ak is an independent Singapore rapper and songwriter. He started making beats in 2017 and his love for music has grown greater ever since. His first collaboration 'Blueface' was produced by Ak himself and later received great responses amongst the crowd. "My creations typically depict my experiences from the streets, family and social imbalances. Rapping, singing, writing lyrics and making sick tunes is me being in my zone," says Ak.
Cactus Cactus is a Singaporean rock band that formed in April 2020, and currently consists of vocalist/guitarist Isaac Chiew, bassist John Paul Kwan, drummer Julian Stewart, and guitarist Daniel Seah. The band draws its sound from a myriad of influences, including acts like Hot Snakes, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, and Kanye West. The promising act has already released tracks like 'Thumbs Up Man' and 'Smoke'. Cactus Cactus is currently working on their debut EP, tentatively set for the end of 2021.
Carpet Golf is a friendship core band comprising members Charm, Subsonic Eye and the Neptune Waves. The band recently released their track 'Brock Lensar', which is off their upcoming album NOT AS GOOD A FISHERMAN AS BROCK LESNAR IS A MAN. The album is slated for release in late August.
Charm is a hardcore punk band from Singapore. Their first album PLEASER in 2019 went on to receive thousands of streams on Spotify with tracks such as 'Blister' and 'TRU 2 Lyfe'. The group later went on to play numerous shows including the Northside Hardcore Fest.
Chloe Ho made her debut in 2018 with the indie-pop single 'Anytime' while pursuing her diploma in Music and Audio Technology at Singapore Polytechnic. She then released 'Here’s to Coming Out' with a performance for her graduation showcase in March 2019. In May 2019, she released her first EP titled Sorry ‘bout Your Shoulder, which she described as “mostly inspired by the state of feeling sorrowful for crying on someone's shoulders and burdening them constantly with personal issues.” Heavily influenced by late artist Mac Miller, Chloe incorporates sections of rap in her recent releases like 'Grocery Shopping' and 'Fake Jazz'.
cues is made up of members Hui Jun, Rex, and twin sisters, Germaine and Gina. They are a four-piece instrumental outfit that focuses on crafting light, intricate, and uplifting soundscapes. Influenced by post- and math-rock bands, they sought to create melodies that are complex and sweeping. In 2019, they opened for Japanese math rock band Jyocho during their 2019 Asia tour. They are also slated to release a three-way split-EP with Indonesian band, Hulica, as well as Japanese band, Kudaranai 1nichi.
Islandeer is a musical duo consisting of Michael Garcia and Christian Jansen. The two met in Singapore Polytechnic’s Music and Audio Technology course, and have been writing music together since 2018. Following the release of their first single, 'Momento' in 2019, the band has performed at local festivals such as Urban Ventures and LASALLE College of the Arts’ Rock and Indie Festival. The band continued releasing music and performing throughout 2019 and 2020. In December 2020, the pair released their highly anticipated debut album, 'Islandeer'.
jupiterkid is an 18-year-old musician with a huge passion for music. Apart from posting numerous song covers on Instagram, he also released an original track titled 'Broken Similes' in May. Featuring soothing vocals paired with the strumming of an acoustic guitar, the young musician's tracks are definitely worth a listen.
Influenced by 2000s emo, Killmeslow gives heartbreak a more present wave with bouncy 808s, poppy melodies layered with heavy lyrics that will have you feeling all sorts of emotion. With songs like 'She's My Poison', 'U're Just Like Everyone Else', and recent tapes like 'heartbreak avenue: part 1' and the pilot episode of his anti-luv song project titled 's1ep0', he gives his listeners the new approach to emo.
Starting as a multi-instrumentalist at the tender age of 7, Krysta Joy was a drummer before picking up guitar and songwriting a year later. Krysta embodies the value of self-love and growth in every season of life, intentionally revolving her music around such themes and complimenting it with her flair for music arrangement. After being awarded the Noise Music Award by the National Arts Council in 2018, she has been featured on The Straits Times, Bandwagon, Youth.SG, 987FM and other media channels, as well as releasing her debut 5-track EP Enjoy the Process in August 2019. She also went on to be selected as an artist for *SCAPE's Alt's Residency in 2020. Her latest 10-track LP Embrace the Progress is an extension of her previous work expanding on the themes of hope and growth.
Marzadland (Mars At Land)
Marzadland is an indie-pop band formed by 4 boys who spend every waking moment around music. Despite the differences in their backgrounds, they were united by having to face their own setbacks in life, with music accompanying them through their highs and lows. Together, they share a love for acts Midnight Fusic, Cosmo Pyke, Sticky Fingers, Ocean Alley, Summer Salt, and Cashew Chemists. Their last release was titled 'Why Don't You' in 2020.
RACH was formed in 2018, with friends coming together in LASALLE College Of The Arts. The band has played shows like The Overheard Sessions at Barber Shop by Timbre and Timbre @ The Substation, Beerfest Asia 2018, the Starker Music Jams 2018, and even opened for American rock band The Dangerous Summer's Asia Tour in 2019. RACH released their first single titled 'You're A Liar (But So Am I)' and their second single titled 'I Like It' in November 2019 and April 2021 respectively. They are set to release a full album in 2022.
Ratmir Johnson is a 23-year-old musician from Singapore who produces, raps, sings, and writes. He believes music is derived from emotions, hence why the musician tends to combine genres in an attempt to express his feelings. He recently released an EP titled '.' in March this year. Johnson has since been working on a new project which is slated for release on 27 August.
San The Wordsmith
San (The Wordsmith) is a hip-hop enthusiast born in Singapore. He has pursued many things in his life but the one that stands out the most is his love for music. He has delved into different genres of music but is most versed in the arts of hip-hop. Since then, he has made sure that his journey doesn't stop growing with bars and punchlines while riding the otherworldly rhythm and flow. His tracks 'stay_away.mp3' and 'Mantle' have garnered thousands of views on YouTube.
Sio Lubis is known for her raspy yet soulful voice as well as her melodic tunes. Crafting her own art from the tender age of 13, Sio takes inspiration from everyday life, relationships, and wherever her creativity brings her. Heavily influenced by popular genres like R&B, K-Pop, and Soul, her art is ever-evolving, with hopes to captivate more listeners with the charisma in her voice and lyrics. Her debut single, 'Stuck Here' was initially written in 15 minutes in the comfort of her bedroom.
Sloth Hotel is a 22-year-old indie artist from Singapore making music from the comfort of his bedroom. With laid-back, low-toned vocals paired with a dreamy, bittersweet sound, the young singer aims to express the perpetual need to appreciate innate and underlying notions of sentimentality, romanticism, and introspection through his music.
A solo project of farmer-turned-audio engineer Daryl Hor, Sun Cell produces guitar-driven new wave, post-punk influenced alternative music. Stuck at home after a premature departure from his studies in the U.S. amidst the pandemic, Daryl began writing and producing music in his bedroom. Described as equal parts melancholic, nostalgic and hopeful, he draws from the visceral nature of post-punk and blends it with an atmosphere of New Wave and 90's alternative music. Sun Cell is set to make its debut and aims to lead up to an EP release soon after.
Viceboy is an independent, bedroom-pop band. Their songs recount stories of millennial love, freedom, and 'desiredium' catalysed through dreamy, soft soundscapes. The indie band has released several tracks such as 'Umbrella Sleeves', 'Snowcity', and 'Crisps'. Their song 'Cherry Slushimi' has almost 80,000 streams on Spotify.
Yawthet is a 19-year-old Burmese singer/songwriter based in Singapore. He learned how to play the guitar as a first instrument at the age of 12 and slowly started picking up other instruments like bass, drums, and piano along the way. He released his first single titled 'Waste' in 2020 from his bedroom studio as a fun passion project where he recorded and mixed everything himself.
Yishun Panik is a band made up of members Afee, ihasamic!, and Sean Tent. Despite only meeting each other a month ago at a studio in Yishun, there's more to come from the band after their addictive track 'dans wif me'. Complete with rap verses and an addictive beat, the song sounds just like something you'd hear on the radio.
The regional finals will be live-streamed in September, where a winner will be picked and announced.
Sitting on the global judging panel this year is a star-studded team of musicians that include YUNGBLUD, Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Julia Michaels, American rapper Denzel Curry, and 88rising's founder Sean Miyashiro.
Listen to music from the finalists and more at the Vans Musicians Wanted page.