Entertainment

Falling Feathers Might Just Be Singapore's Next Biggest Pop Star

24 Jul 2017 by Bryan Yeong

Bursting with bright colours and exuberance, Falling Feathers’ (or better known by his real name JJ to some) brand of unapologetically mainstream pop is making him the next local music name on the brink of a breakthrough. And with a new single release and a major label signing to Warner Music Singapore in tow, Falling Feathers is set for takeoff. We speak to the passionate musician to uncover his metamorphosis.

Hi JJ! Tell us how you came up with the moniker Falling Feathers?

I used to play in a pop punk band, JJ and the Paperplanes. When we decided to split up, I wanted to come up with a name [for my music] and the name JJ is already taken up by JJ Lin. The idea of ‘Falling Feathers’ is like how animals shed their skin, and how birds shed feathers and grow new ones. So the idea of Falling Feathers is [to symbolise] the constant growth of getting stronger and better – the cycle of improvement.

So… if you were any type of bird, which would you be?

I love flamingos! When I was younger, I was always fascinated by how they can stand on one leg for so long and their feathers are really vibrant, so I really like that.

Congratulations on signing with Warner! What was the process like getting signed to a major label?

It was a very surprising thing that happened because when I started Falling Feathers, I just wanted to make pop music and to be able to relate to more people. This signing came as a surprise but I’m really glad this happened because the Warner folks are way more experienced than me. When I first started out, I had to learn everything myself by talking to people who have done [music] or googling how the industry works. 

What do you think is the biggest difference in your artistry, transitioning from JJ and the Paperplanes to Falling Feathers?

For JJ and the Paperplanes, it was pop-punk, and the music I really liked back then. I listened to a lot of Anberlin, We the Kings and Mayday Parade. Whatever I was listening to, I just wanted to get friends together and make music. I think Falling Feathers is more… “legit”, if that’s the right word to use. I told myself “Okay, I’m going to write palatable pop music that can relate to people my age or teenagers”. I think the working process and the way I execute the music is different too, in terms of doing it myself [now]. When you are doing [music] in a group of friends, you’re able to work off each other. Even though I have support now from friends and from Warner, it’s still pretty much a solo project so no one is responsible for my music except for myself. That gives me more to work on and to be more confident in putting out good material.

You’ve opened for bands such as Mayday Parade and Before Your Exit. What would your first reaction be if Warner surprised you and said “Hey, you’re going to be opening for Ed Sheeran in Singapore”?

(Laughs) Firstly, I think Ed Sheeran is a bit too far away [from being able to open for]… He is an artiste that I really respect. He’s one of those people whose story is really “from rags to riches”. Even before he got signed, he has been trying to make it for the longest time and the perseverance is what I really respect. How genuine he comes across in his music, writing stuff about personal experiences and being able to put that into context to become one of the biggest pop stars of today is really cool. If that happens (opening for Ed Sheeran), it’d be dope.

You’ve played a ton of shows already so early in your career. What’s been your favourite gig or festival to play at so far?

Definitely opening for Mayday Parade – it was an emotional rollercoaster. It was one of my first gigs as Falling Feathers actually. The promoters were kind enough to let me showcase my music in front of a huge audience. It was nerve wrecking because the audience was a few thousand people. And many things happened during the gig – the band’s flight got delayed, then they announced that the band may not be able to make it [on stage], and the people queuing outside were getting pissed. Naturally I was nervous because [as an opening act], I would be the first performer they’d see when they walked in. What was great was that the crew and organisers there comforted me and told me to just do my thing. They finally announced that Mayday Parade was going to do an acoustic set. So when I first came on stage, I thought they were either going to throw rotten eggs, or they were going to cheer. But luckily, there was no rotten eggs – people were really supportive and shouted encouraging words from the crowd. It was a really heartwarming show. 

Tell us more about your new single ‘Hush’, how did this song come about?

The idea of ‘Hush’ is just like how love songs go. The best part about ‘Hush’ is the creative process and how I made the song. It was a collaboration with Zie (from Disco Hue) who’s doing really well and a senior who I really respect.

Aloysius Lim 01
Credit: Aloysius Lim/Warner Music Singapore

What’s it like working with a fellow musician (Zie from Disco Hue), first for the ‘Perfect’ video and now for ‘Hush’? Will we see a collab with the full band in the works, or any other local musicians soon?

Hopefully! We’re working on some stuff [currently]. I think collaborations are always great, because collaborating means you’re learning from each other and everyone has different strengths. Like Zie is really good at synth production, so I really learnt a lot from him. Even the video stuff, he really inspired me to just go out and direct a music video. There’s nothing to lose, so just do it.

You’re gonna be doing some school tours soon. What kind of student were you back in school?

I was definitely one of those students that didn’t study. I was in Zhonghua Secondary School and it was a good school where people really studied – I didn’t know how I managed to get in! Every year, parents would be called in and the comments [for me] were always “Why this boy never study one” because I was just jamming out to music and playing basketball all the time. Studying wasn’t a priority for me back then. I really wanted to get into Singapore Polytechnic’s Music and Audio Technology course because it was the only place where I could study what I am interested in, so I decided to really study. Thankfully I managed to get into the course.

When I was going to SP and recording, it was really what I wanted to do. There was nothing holding me back and I was more motivated. When everyone in the course was a musician or wanted to do something in music, it’s fun to go to school and it was less of a chore.

Most local music is either punk rock or indie music. What are the challenges of being a mainstream pop act in Singapore and how are you overcoming those obstacles?

The reason why I decided to do mainstream pop is because not many people are doing it here. So I wanna step into it and try it out. I think the difficult part about doing pop music is that the biggest artistes in the world are making really good quality music and videos and the fact that artistes like me are putting out music out on Spotify against all these amazing global acts – that really makes me more motivated to match up their standard. There are so many great pop acts – Katy Perry, Ed Sheeran, etc. Music in general is not just the writing and the production, it’s a super steep learning curve to learn everything else too. Because of the fact that I’m an independent artiste, I have to do many things myself, even though now there’s help from Warner. I think that’s the tough part, to always seek to improve and to stay on par with everyone else.  

What’s next for Falling Feathers?

There’s going to be an EP coming out next year, it’s called Pipe Dreams and I really like the concept of the EP. It’s a series of songs I put together with an idea of Falling Feathers and this “pipe dream”, about how it might be impossible to achieve certain things, but if you never try you’ll never know. There’s definitely going to be more collaborations and more shows too. Ignite Music Festival up next!

Listen to Falling Feathers’ new single ‘Hush’ now HERE. The music video premieres this Thursday, 27 July 2017 at 12:30pm on his official YouTube channel

For more about Falling Feathers and other rising young local talents, stay tuned for our August issue out on newsstands soon! 

More related stories: 8 Celebrity Offspring To Follow On Instagram6 Things We Learned From Niall Horan’s Super Secret Showcase5 Up-And-Coming Acting-Dols To Watch Out For In 2017

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Important Messages To Read About Chester Bennington's Suicide

21 Jul 2017 by Johanna Teo

Linkin Park was a huge part of our teenage years. Not only were they one of the bands that helped us fall in love with alternative rock music, scream-shouting to the likes of ‘In the End’, ‘Numb’, and ‘Shadow of the Day’ were cathartic moments that helped many of us through moments of extreme difficulty. In light of Chester Bennington’s tragic suicide, these very same songs have taken on a haunting new meaning altogether. 

With Linkin Park scheduled to embark on a world tour after the release of their new album, One More Light earlier this year, the news of Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington’s suicide was a shocking albeit heartbreaking one. Chester, who is survived by his wife and 6 children, had a lifelong battle against mental health and addiction. And for the most part of their monumental 17 year career so far, Linkin Park’s discography is peppered with songs centered around struggles with depression, paranoia and anxiety.

The band’s single, ‘Heavy’ (off One More Light) ” had the lyrics “I keep dragging around what’s bringing me down/ If I just let go, I’d be set free/ Holding on/ Why is everything so heavy?” Chester has also publicly stated that the song’s first line, “I don’t like my mind right now”, was him 24 hours a day. With the news also comes jolt of realisation that all along, the frontman has been channelling fragments of his vulnerability, and the truth about his mental demons and battles into the very same music that resonated with and helped fans through their darkest moments. But ironically, perhaps because he was singing so openly about them, the world didn’t realise the extent of his burdens. 

The news of Chester’s passing has brought about a massive influx of condolences, messages of support for his family and tributes from mourning fans all over the world. And it reminds us all more urgently than ever that mental health issues are real and never to be taken lightly. Here are some of the most important messages you have to read. 

Rest in peace, Chester. Your legacy will always be remembered. 

If you are thinking about suicide or know someone with suicidal thoughts, please call Samaritans of Singapore at 1800-221 4444 (24-hour hotline), or email them at [email protected].

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8 Electrifying K-Pop Dance Covers To Get You Movin'

19 Jul 2017 by Bryan Yeong

There’s just something about bangin’ K-pop dance covers that make you wanna get up and groove! Need a little motivation? Slip on your dancing shoes and get ready to be amazed by these 8 K-pop dance covers.

‘Don’t Recall’ – K.A.R.D. by K-City

If you need proof to see how far K-pop dance covers have spanned across the globe, look no further than K-City’s flashmob-inspired cover of K.A.R.D.’s ‘Don’t Recall’, right smack in the streets of Vancouver, Canada. Dressed in all-white ensembles and armed with confidence, the foursome busts out moves to the intrigue of bystanders and passersby. Are you entertaining the thought of throwing out some spontaneous moves at Orchard Road yet?

‘As If It’s Your Last’ – BLACKPINK by EAST2WEST

A popular favourite among K-pop dance cover crews is this bubbly bop from BLACKPINK. But while usually a staple for female-centric crews to take on, leave it to the all-male troupe from EAST2WEST to do the choreography justice in their own right. Hip sways, sashays and sass – checked!

‘Cherry Bomb’ – NCT 127 by Koreos UCLA

Gather your squad and put your skills to the test rivalling this impeccable cover of NCT 127’s simmering hip-hop track. Dripping in swag, the dance moves will have you sweeping smoothly from side to side, all whilst cooperating with your bevy of fellow dance floor killers to pull off coordination at its finest. Can anyone say boomz?

‘Red Flavor’ – Red Velvet by VIVA DANCE STUDIO

They say imitation is the best form of flattery, and there ain’t no better way to emulate the appeal of Red Velvet’s latest smash than taking a cue from these VIVA DANCE STUDIO girls. Clad in similarly red-accented outfits as in the original video, this fierce fivesome channel some serious #girlpower vibes throughout, nailing the dance to a tee.

‘Really Really’ – Winner by Def Dance Skool

We ‘Really Really’ can’t take out eyes off this cover! Def Dance Skool’s crew of fierce female dancers prove they’ve got the sizzle and skills similar to Winner. But instead of the grayscale-toned visuals of its original video, this dance cover pops with colourful outfits in front of a bright burst of graffiti art to inject a breath of fresh air in the routine.

‘Not Today’ – BTS by RISIN’ CREW

Forget dance studios or street alleyways when you can go big. RISIN’ CREW takes it up an ante by recruiting a full clan of supporting dancers in tow, even locking down a similar-looking location as the original MV for an accurate representation. Wind-swept hair, picturesque backgrounds and poetry in motion – this is how you do dance covers right.

‘Bling Bling’ – iKON by 1MILLION Dance Studio

One of the leading dance schools in Korea, 1MILLION Dance Studio prove their outstanding reputation is well-deserved with their array of explosive dance covers ranging from K-Pop hits to the latest international chart-burners. Just take their Rikimaru Chikada choreographed routine for iKON’s electro-hop hit below for example – showing how they kill it solo, in a trio, or as a fivesome. Truly #Lit!

‘WEE WOO’ – PRISTIN by Lisa Rhee

Who says you need a whole squad to do your thang? When you’re left alone to practice your skills, follow the lead of Lisa Rhee’s dance cover of the PRISTIN earworm ‘WEE WOO’, to make sure you don’t get left behind in the next rehearsals with your friends. Remember, part of slaying it together with your crew is having confidence individually and embracing your inner shine as well– time to break a sweat!

Think you can best these videos and show us what you got with fellow dance enthusiasts? Sign up now for the upcoming Teenage Dance Challenge

More related stories: 11 Pro-Looking Moves For People Who Can’t Dance10 Movies About Dance You Should WatchTop 10 K-Pop Idol Dancers

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6 Things We Learned From Niall Horan's Super Secret Showcase

12 Jul 2017 by Bryan Yeong

Niall Horan’s abrupt stop in ‘This Town’ last week for a highly exclusive, invite-only showcase definitely made the rounds on social media. After all, he’s the first member to stage a solo performance, even ahead of former band member Harry Styles’ concert later this year. Understandably, some Directioners were disappointed at not being able to catch him in action but fret not! We’re sure he’ll be back before long. Ahead, we take you behind the curtain and reveal the highlights of Niall’s super secret mini-gig! 

There’s A New Song Titled ‘On The Loose’

Ushered into the Esplanade Annexe Studio, where the super secret showcase was held, we could already hear the excited titter from fans in the first 2 rows, while the dimmed down lights drew focus to the stage where the Irish singer-songwriter would soon take his place. And the chatter soon turned to barely contained squeals and whoops as Niall Horan strode easily onstage, showing off his easy Irish charm before launching into his 4-song set which included singles ‘This Town’, ‘Slow Hands’ and a cover of Thin Lizzy’s ‘Dancing In The Moonlight’. Niall’s performance was impeccable, but it was a new track premiered, titled ‘On The Loose’ that received the most hype. Sounding like an early Bryan Adams with a country and blues influence, it was an effortlessly catchy tune to tease us further on his upcoming debut album. Check out a snippet below:

He Made A Room Full Of Grown Men Cry

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Although 4 songs are hardly enough for his fans (and us), Niall made up for it by allowing everyone present to ask him questions via a short Q&A session. Of course, this delighted the fans who were lucky enough to win passes to see him up close and personal, as he shared surprising anecdotes and even greeted fans who couldn’t be there, on FaceTime. And the audience had the privilege of learning one fact about his yet to be titled album: that he made a room full of adult men choke up after listening to a song he recorded. And what was that song, you ask? We have no clue. Niall wouldn’t divulge any more info on the track even after Rozz, the emcee for the night, prodded him about it, leaving us with a gigantic cliff hanger. He did however, share that we’ll hear more about this tearjerking song upon the album’s release (duh). 

He Doesn’t Get Girls As Often As You Think

You’d think that being a member of the biggest boy band in the world would draw the ladies left and right, but apparently not in Niall’s case. When quizzed if he has to try hard for female attention (or if it comes naturally to him), the star bashfully refuted the latter. “I think the Irish charm doesn’t get you as far as people think!” Niall quipped, much to the fans’ disagreement and delight. 

His Upcoming Album Might Have Asian Influences

There still isn’t much concrete information about Niall’s much-anticipated solo album, but he did whet the audience’s appetite by revealing that his backpacking trip across Southeast Asia in early 2016 did help give him inspiration and time to come up with concept and songwriting ideas. Only time will tell what those might be!

There Might Be A Collab With The Lumineers Coming Up

 

Great to see my good friend jer and his lovely band mates @thelumineers yesterday. Always a good laugh .

A post shared by Niall Horan (@niallhoran) on

Niall might be buddies with everyone, from Katy Perry to Ariana Grande, but when asked who he’d love to collaborate with on his music, he chose his longtime buds from folk-rock band The Lumineers. In fact, Niall even met the lads right after his whirlwind trip in Singapore, so who knows if a new hit is being whipped up in their studio as we speak…

You Might Find Him At The Golf Course

If you’ve noticed Niall increasing penchant of sporting a beret, there’s a good reason for it. He cited the golf course, in addition to his home, as one of the  go-to places he would be to unwind and “chill out” to detract him away from stress. So now you know just where to be if you’d want a glimpse of the charming crooner!

Do you think Niall Horan’s solo album will prove his mettle as a solo artiste? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

More related stories: One Direction: Better Together Or Happier Apart?, The Most Uplifting Moments From The One Love Manchester Concert, 8 Summer Earworms To Put On Repeat, Justin Bieber Will Be Bringing His #1 Hits To SingaporeIt’s Official, Ed Sheeran And Harry Styles Will Be Making Us Broke In November

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