Homegrown singer-songwriter Beth Yap aka Bittymacbeth is not your typical pop star.

Talented, honest and fiercely independent, this young trailblazer is unafraid to speak up about important causes close to her heart. Just take the launch-cum-benefit show in support of her latest single ‘Trace (Comfortable Sympathy)’ for instance, which she used as a platform to raise funds for an anti-human trafficking charity organisation – all while celebrating fellow females in the music scene with up-and-comers Marian Carmel and Kyla T on the performance bill.

In an industry that Lady Gaga infamously dubbed a “F***ing boys’ club”, the Berklee College of Music undergraduate doesn’t hold back on sharing her struggles dealing with the rampant sexism as a female musician currently based in Boston – on top of being Asian and the stereotypes that come with it. But instead of letting it get to her, she channels the negativity into what she does best: music with a cause. And if you’re not already listening to her, you may want to sit down for this.

Read on for our full interview with Bittymacbeth where she opens up about breaking gender norms and how she hopes to recover humanity through music.

Hi Beth! It’s been two years since you last released new music. What have you been up to in between?

Shortly after finishing up my last album Beauty For Ashes, I started school at Berklee in the beginning of 2017 thus I’ve mostly been trying to adjust to the new environment. You get exposed to a lot of fresh talents here, so I guess I was also trying to teach myself how to see music with a renewed perspective. Other than that, I’ve been working hard on writing new material and ‘Trace’ is kind of the first project in this new series that I came up with around the start of my Berklee journey.

You’ve co-produced ‘Trace’ with Korean producer DAMYE. How did this collaboration come about?

I think it’s really important to find the right people to work with; who believe in me and my music. For DAMYE, I met him at Berkley because we happen to go to a lot of the same jams. He then asked if I could help him with a song he was trying to pitch to a Korean indie label, so I did – and he got signed! He was gonna drop out of Berkley so I suggested working on something together before he leaves, hence ‘Trace’. 

‘Trace’ is the first single of the four-song suite you’re working on. Can we assume we’re expecting three more collaborative tracks to come?

Yeah! The upcoming collaborations are going to be similar in the sense that I’ll be working with a producer to elevate the production on songs I’ve written. The next release will be with an American producer and it’s probably the poppiest track I have right now. Then there’ll be something that’s a lot more jazzy and chill with an Australian producer, before ending it off with a funky, R&B tune that I’ve worked on with an Italian producer. It’s a departure from the organic, acoustic vibes in Beauty For Ashes, and moving towards a more produced sound that showcases different faucets of my musical influences.

Among the four tracks, which would you say is the closest to your heart?

Probably the last one with the Italian producer. Between Berkley and the single launch, a lot of things happened in my personal life – I’ve lost friends and missed out on big opportunities because of what I suppose were my principles. I had all these questions about how my life would have been any different if I hadn’t done this or that. I spent time wondering about that a lot and for a while I was very bitter about things. So I wrote this song to remind myself to not dwell on the past and allow my experiences to be a standpoint for growth instead.

What kind of message do you hope to spark with your music?

That there are a lot of difficult things we have to go through, and that it’s important to acknowledge each other’s challenges and do whatever’s in your own power to help them out. Especially when you’re in a place of more privilege, you have a greater responsibility to make things better for others. Through these songs, I want people to know that they have a listening ear. I may not be able to fully understand their situation, but I can empathise with what they’re going through.

Is that why you came up with the idea of linking your single launch to a benefit show?

I think a lot of us are unaware of the trafficking issue in Singapore. People think we’re totally clean, but what they don’t realise is that trafficking works in three ways – a country can be a source country, a transition country, or a destination country. If Myanmar is the source country for trafficked victims, then Singapore can be either a transition or a destination country for them. It happens a lot with domestic helpers and construction workers, and we’re enabling it to happen.

If I were to do a launch for ‘Trace’, I want to be able to help in a tangible way – thus partnering up with a charity organisation to raise awareness about this issue. I feel like the first step is for Singaporeans to be aware so they can ask the right questions when they sense any suspicious activity.

During the launch party, you also took the opportunity to feature fellow female artistes. How important is it to you that we celebrate women in the industry?

Sexism in the music industry has become more apparent to me when I was in the US. I used to attend these recording sessions, and bands that are made of only males were more likely to question me, a female, about their score than the other male players. I’m sure everyone makes mistakes, but they would just come down more harshly on me.

A college prof told me this story. The Boston Symphony Orchestra were conducting blind auditions as they had a big problem of male to female player ratio. Despite people going behind a thick curtain to play, it still didn’t improve the ratio. Someone then suggested getting them to remove their shoes before going on stage – and after that, the ratio became almost one to one. Because people just had these subconscious biases after hearing the sound of their shoes and judging them based on the gait of their walk. It was then that I realised, women do it to other women too. So I feel like we just need to remind one another that we all have something to contribute and to give each other equal opportunities.

Have you ever thought about advancing your music career in the US?

I’ve thought about it, but with a more developed music industry, it also comes with more competition. To be completely frank, being Asian doesn’t help either. In the US, Asians tend to be in the back-end roles and although they are doing well for themselves in their respective areas, it’s much harder for them to be a recording artiste. Besides, Singapore is a nice gateway to other countries – a lot of my peers are able to tour regionally and internationally without being based overseas. The community here is also a lot more tight-knit because everyone knows each other so it’s much easier to get help.

Lastly, what do you hope to achieve in this new phase of your career?

I’m working towards rebranding myself and coming into my own as an all-rounded artiste, be it songwriting, performing or producing. I started out as an indie one-woman band, but now I want to move towards a bigger sound with a production team – in a way that’s contextualised for the new generation of audiences while still remaining true to my musical self.

Listen to Bittymacbeth’s newest single ‘Trace (Comfortable Sympathy)’ prod. DAMYE here.

Post Divider Leaderboard-Teenage Subscription

Entertainment

Maroon 5 To Make A Stop In Singapore For Red Pill Blues Tour

29 Aug 2018 by Chew Hui Ling

American juggernaut Maroon 5 will be making their way to Asia in 2019!

The pop-rock collective has just added three Southeast Asia dates – Philippines, Singapore and Thailand – to their Red Pills Blue tour in support of their massively successful sixth studio album. Other Asia stops include Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and China. Here’s the full schedule:

Tokyo, Japan – 25 February 2019
Seoul, South Korea – 27 February 2019
Kaishung, Taiwan – 1 March 2019
Macau, China – 3 March 2019
Manila, Philippines – 5 March 2019
Singapore – 7 March 2019
Bangkok, Thailand – 9 March 2019

[UPDATED]

Hot off the press, local organisers Live Nation has just announced that Maroon 5 will be staging a one-night-only concert at the National Stadium – and it’s set to be the band’s biggest show in Singapore to date.

Maroon 5 Red Pill Blues Tour in Singapore

Maroon 5 Red Pill Blues Tour in Singapore
Date: 7 March 2018
Time: 8pm
Venue: National Stadium
Tickets: $268 (priority standing), $$188 (general standing), $218, $178, $118 (seated)

Tickets will go on sale 28 September (Friday) via www.sportshubtix.sg. Live Nation members can purchase tickets ahead of public sales from 26 September (Wednesday), 10am to 27 September (Thursday), 11.59pm. For more information on membership sign up, head over to www.livenation.sg.

Meanwhile, check out the music video of their killer collaboration ‘Girls Like You’ with Cardi B.

Post Divider Leaderboard-Teenage Subscription

It might’ve taken years and years for Years & Years to finally come to town, but the wait’s all worth it when we managed to catch the Brit trio for a quick chat before the showcase for their latest record Palo Santo – the long-awaited follow-up to their 2015 debut album. What have they been up to ever since? We sat down with the band to talk about the making of Palo Santo, discovering themselves and their love for Rihanna.

It took you guys a while to finally get to Singapore! But it’s fine, because you guys were clearly busy with your new record Palo Santo. It’s a great album. What was the mindset of the band heading into this sophomore effort?

Olly: I think we were all kind of like, in a daze. The whole experience of releasing a first album and then touring, is so overwhelming; it’s like a tornado of craziness. And when you come down from that, it’s hard to really know even where to begin. So we kind of struggled [at the start].

Emre: It’s called a difficult second album for a reason – we found out that it’s true. But at the same time, it’s kind of a good problem to have because that means that there’s people waiting [for our music]. Whereas for the first album, we didn’t know if anyone was going to listen to it; let alone like it. So it’s the kind of pressure that you want, but once it’s finished it’s really good to get out there again and perform it for people.

Tell us more about Palo Santo and how this fantasy dystopian world came about.

Olly: I guess it’s something that I’ve been dreaming about for a really long time. With the first album, there was no time to think of a concept that ties everything together because you’re constantly playing catch up. I knew that before we made new music, I wanted to create this kind of fantasy, sci-fi concept that all the music could go alongside, mainly because I thought it’d be fun. The inspiration came from loads of different places, like growing up we all loved sci-fi such as The Fifth Element, Star Wars… I was also inspired by fiction writers like Margaret Atwood and Ursula Le Gui. I wanted to tell the story that asks the question of what it means to be human. That kind of all went into [the album].

Palo Santo is all about self-discovery. Having been through the challenges of finding yourselves, what is an advice you can share with young fans who are still coming to terms with their identity?

Olly: For me, it would be the things that I hated about myself when I was growing up – whether it was my body, my sexuality or I thought I was just weird ­– are now the things that I feel make me special and unique. Take all those things that make you feel bad about yourself and one day, you’re going to love that and that’s going to be what’s special about you.

Emre: Being a human is a weird thing because on one hand you want to be completely unique, but on the other, you also want to be accepted and belong – so it’s this constant balancing act between those two things. But I think if you’re growing up, there’s always people out there who are like you and you’ll find them.

There’s a lot of artificial intelligence and technology elements in this era, especially with the promotional tools for the album. How do you guys see social media in today’s landscape – more hurtful or helpful?

Emre: It’s both. The funny thing about social media is that it’s not all bells and whistles that do it, but the more honest you are with it, it allows us to share stuff with fans without a gatekeeper. They appreciate it and so do we. I think it definitely helps, especially if you’re an emerging artist, to promote yourself. On a personal level, my issue with social media is quite up and down. I delete mine regularly because I know I won’t be able to stop checking it, and it can be quite unhealthy. But for an artiste, it can be a really cool way of speaking to fans directly. Plus it’s fun – everytime there’s a new selfie filter on Snapchat, I’ll think I look great and I’m like “God, I wish I could look like this, but I don’t!” (Laughs)

What’s your favourite filter on Snapchat?

Emre: I like the one that makes your lips go huge and your voice goes high like a frog, like Crazy Frog!

Your current single ‘If You’re Over Me’ sounds so chirpy, but the lyrics say otherwise. What are three essential things Years & Years would recommend to get through a breakup?

Mikey: Lasagna, and Clueless (laughs).

Emre: Maybe have a Mario Kart party!

So Olly, how was it like meeting Rihanna?

Olly: Meeting her was great, it was everything I had hoped it would be. It was very surreal, I don’t really remember what happened because I was so overwhelmed and just trying not to faint. She’s just so cool, you know? I remember seeing her at the MET Gala when she wore the yellow dress and she turned to give the cameras a shot on the steps – I was like, “that’s a star”. Not many people in the world can do that, but Rihanna sure can!

What’s really admirable about Years & Years is that at the end of the day, your music sends an optimistic message not just to fans, but to each other as well. What’s it like having such a great support system?

All: Aww…

Olly: I think it’s quite rare in life to spend so much time with other people whom you aren’t in a relationship with right? (Laughs) You go through highs and lows together, see so much of the world together, and ultimately, there’s a base level of being there for each other no matter what. I can’t imagine what would rip us apart.

 

look !! We <3 each other really!

A post shared by Years & Years (@yearsandyears) on

Emre: I was thinking it’s like Darth Vader [from Star Wars]. There’s hope in him, and at the end he’s a good guy.

Mikey: Who’s the Darth Vader in this situation?

Emre: We’re all Darth Vader!

Thanks to Universal Music Singapore for the interview opportunity with Years & Years!

Years & Years’ new album Palo Santo is now available for purchase and streaming.

Post Divider Leaderboard-Teenage Subscription

Following the groundbreaking success of Crazy Rich Asians’ $25 million theatrical debut, it has been confirmed that a sequel to the blockbuster romcom is already in the works!

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. has acquired the rights to author Kevin Kwan’s entire bestselling trilogy and is reportedly “moving forward on development” on the highly-anticipated follow-up that is China Rich Girlfriend. Although the film studio has yet to officially greenlit the project, we think it wouldn’t be long before the Crazy Rich Asians gang get back together.

Nothing has been set in stone as of now, but here’s what we know thus far.

Jon M. Chu will still be directing.

What’s Crazy Rich Asians without Jon M. Chu, right? The American filmmaker is currently tied up with a couple of other projects, but sources say that he’s likely to return to helm the upcoming instalment after wrapping up the shooting of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In The Heights adaptation, which is scheduled for a June 2020 release.

There are also plans to bring back producers Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson and John Penotti from the original creative team, along with screenwriters Peter Chiarelli and Adele Lim.

There’s already a teaser in the first movie.

Trust Jon to sneak in a teaser to the possible sequel as the closing scene of the first film. If you’ve stayed in your seats after the mid-credits scene, you’d have seen Astrid Teo (Gemma Chan) and her ex-fiancé Charlie Wu (Harry Shun Jr.) stealing glances at each other at the engagement party of Nick Young (Henry Golding) and Rachel Chu (Constance Wu). “The idea is to tell the story in the next movie,” Jon reveals to The Hollywood Reporter. “I made a promise to Harry, so I’m going to do it.”

Assuming that the second film follows the plot of the book, the story will pick up two years after the events of Crazy Rich Asians. Besides the love story of Nick and Rachel, China Rich Girlfriend also fleshes out the character arc of Astrid, who’s stuck in an abusive relationship with her newly-minted billionaire husband Michael Teo (Pierre Png) and slowly rekindles the romance with her first love Charlie. Will our former lovebirds get their happy ever after? We’ll just have to wait and find out.

Will the OG cast return?

Thanks to the massive box-office success of Crazy Rich Asians, it served as a major breakout role for many of the actors; a rare opportunity that doesn’t come along often in Hollywood. As the first major studio film to feature an all Asian and Asian-American cast (and even familiar faces from our very own Singapore) since 1993’s The Joy Luck Club, it’s no wonder the cast members hold an incredibly strong attachment to the Jon M. Chu-directed franchise – so much so that they “started hoping for a sequel before we even wrapped the first one”, wrote Nina Jacobson in an email.

We have no doubts that the main cast would make a grand comeback in the sequel, especially leading man Henry Golding. “It would be so much fun to get everybody back together, back to sweaty old Singapore.”

Oh, we can’t wait to welcome you back too.

More related stories: Here’s How You Can Look Like Crazy Rich Asians (Without Being Crazy Rich)Channel Your Inner Crazy Rich Asian At These Iconic Filming Locations In Singapore

Post Divider Leaderboard-Teenage Subscription

A Fenty x Kai collaboration may just be in the works!

It all started when international EXO-Ls came up with the brilliant concept of having the EXO member as the face of Rihanna’s makeup line Fenty Beauty, then proceeded to flood the social media platform with Kai’s past photoshoots and masterfully done fan-edits in all his sun-kissed glory. Not long after, the hashtag #FENTYxKAI began trending.



With his chiselled features, glowing complexion and magnetic aura, one can definitely see why the 24-year-old would make the perfect model for the Rihanna-fronted brand, which has always been about championing inclusivity and diversity. Just imagine how glorious our resident melanin king would look rocking Fenty Beauty’s iconic Body Lava all over his gorgeous bronzed skin!

With Kai onboard, it would not only make a huge turning point in Asian representation, but also help to break out of traditional gender roles by normalising makeup for men (they even have a whole video about “Makeup For Men” in their latest upload on YouTube, and that’s saying something). And honestly, we’re all here for that.

Turns out we’re not the only ones; the team behind Fenty Beauty has quickly taken noticed of this ongoing movement and wasted no time in sliding into the K-pop star’s DMs. It seems like they’re pretty serious about reaching out to Kai, even going the extra mile of following EXO’s manager on Twitter (@Groovechaja) – and we spied that the latter has also followed them back! From the looks of it, a #FENTYxKAI collaboration wouldn’t be too out of the question.

Make it happen!

Featured image credit: @mrjonginkim

Post Divider Leaderboard-Teenage Subscription

Get the Juicy Bits Delivered Fresh To Your Inbox