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Matthew & The Mandarins

Genres: Country, Folk

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Dubbed the "Singapore Cowboys", Matthew & The Mandarins have been a local favourite amongst Country music lovers since the 1970s. Matthew Tan (born 1945) grew up listening to his uncle’s country music collection back in the 50s and cited artists like Gene Autry and Roy Rogers as childhood heroes. By the time he finished school in 1961, he formed “Matthew Tan And The Mandarins” with his friends and started playing part time gigs in local hotels, an endeavor that became full time by 1965. In 1975, Matthew flew to Nashville, Tennessee where he worked with local western artists and on radio and television. He became the first Asian to ever sing at the legendary Grand Ole Opry, performing a duet with Skeeter Davis. He returned to Singapore with enough exposure and following to become a headliner at the Shangri-La hotel, a hotspot for discerning American expats. His growing recognition gave Matthew Tan And The Mandarins the momentum to record an album. Their no.1 hit single “Singapore Cowboy” is still a top requested song for local country music lovers. Even after leaving America, he was still a sought after talent. The renowned International Country And Western Festival in Oklahoma gave Matthew Tan And The Mandarins an invite to perform at their main stage in 1978. “Singapore Country” investigates how Matthew came up with the song “Singapore Cowboy” and how he overcame the odds to pursue his passion for Country Music.



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