Less than a month away from his debut solo showcase here in Singapore, we spoke to former The Wanted (TW) member – Nathan Sykes – on surprising reactions he gets when people hear him sing, the food he wants to try in Singapore and the possibility of a future TW reunion.

We’re very excited for your debut solo performance in Singapore, can you give us a little teaser as to what we can expect from the show?

Nathan: Yeah, absolutely. It’s gonna be my debut solo performance in Singapore at A Rooftop Affair on 17 June 2017, which is really exciting. I absolutely love coming to Singapore, it’s one of my favourite places on the planet. I’m gonna do a really stripped back, intimate vocal performance, there’ll be lots of fan interaction and it’s going to be very laid back. I’ll be doing songs off my debut album, Unfinished Business, with a few songs on the piano and the guitar – we’re just gonna have fun. 

You were last here three years ago in 2014. Was there something you wanted to do then but couldn’t, and are hoping to get the opportunity to do now?

Nathan: I don’t think it’s anything I necessarily wanted to do back then, but just to come and see old faces and see new faces. That really excites me, seeing people that supported The Wanted and people who didn’t support The Wanted, but now support me. I think meeting all these people and catching up with them, that’s the really exciting part. Oh actually, I do also want to visit Gardens by the Bay, I’ve been told that it’s the most incredible place so I’m hoping I can check that out ’cause I wanted to go last time but we didn’t get a chance to. 

Singaporeans are known for our love for food, is there any particular dish that you’re looking forward to trying?

Nathan: Everyone talks about durian… I’ve never tried it. Is it nice?

It’s an acquired taste…

Nathan: That’s what everyone says! It always makes me nervous when people say that (laughs). But you know what, I think there’s always amazing food in Singapore. Like wherever you go, there’s always incredible food, so I’m very excited just to eat. 

Most of your music videos have been pretty tame, but you went for the mature route in ‘Give It Up’. Do you think former boy band members feel the need to give fans something different in order to shed their ‘boy band’ image?

Nathan: I wouldn’t necessarily say that we do it to shake the boy band image, but music videos are a way of telling the story of the song. I always take music videos on a video by video basis. For example, with ‘Over and Over Again’, I wrote the video treatment on the same day that I wrote the song, and it just tells the story. Same with ‘Famous’, so I didn’t see a reason to change that with ‘Give It Up’, it’s just maybe a bit of a risqué storyline. So I don’t think it’s about shedding the boy band image, but rather to just mature and grow as artists through our writing and through our music.

You’re fairly active when it comes to interacting with your fans on Twitter (@NathanSykes), how important is it for you to maintain that connection with your fans?

Nathan: I think it’s always important. Social media’s brilliant especially when you do a show, you can go online straight after and thank people for coming, see if they had fun, etc. And I think it’s the little touches like that that make a really big difference. Social media can be used in the wrong way, especially when people can hide behind a computer sometimes and say mean things. But social media can be used very differently for an artist and when you’re interacting with your fans, it can really bring out the positive side of social media and I think it’s important that people do that. 

There have been people who have said that they didn’t expect such a big powerful voice to come out of you when they first see you perform. How does it feel to be able to surprise people like that?

Nathan: (Laughs) Yeah, it’s always nice to surprise people and it’s always nice to hear people complimenting my vocals. I think specifically coming from a boy band, people wouldn’t expect me to be releasing the style of music that I’m releasing now, and writing the songs that I’m writing now. I’m writing songs that showcase my voice, and I find it quite funny sometimes when I see someone that has never heard me sing before and didn’t know my music and they’re literally go “wait, what?” – it’s really fun to surprise, and hopefully impress people at the same time.

Speaking of boy bands, The Wanted members have all been pursuing different paths. But do you think you’ll try your hand at something different (e.g. Jay McGuiness with his dancing), or just stick to singing?

Nathan: I was very proud of Jay when he did BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, and his dancing was absolutely amazing. I was so surprised,  so it’s always nice to see Jay doing well ’cause he’s just the nicest person and he was working so hard on that so that. As to whether or not I’ll do something like that, you’ll never know what’s around the corner. Obviously, I’m incredibly passionate about my song-writing and about music, but at the end of the day, I like entertaining people, and if there’s various ways that I can do that, you’ll never know what’s quite gonna happen. I’d never say no to the right opportunities. 

We gotta ask, do you guys ever talk about a band reunion? 

Nathan: No, not really. Cause I think everyone’s really happy at the moment, and as far as I know, everyone’s got stuff that they’re really excited about and that they’re working really hard on. And everyone’s kind of growing in different ways. That doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s never going to be a conversation about doing something together in the future. But it is important to not mislead people because it’s unfair when you do that. So it is important for me to say that there hasn’t been that particular conversation, everyone’s just very excited for each other and where their different paths are taking them. 

The Wanted (credit MTV)

Have you started working on the second album yet? If so, any hints on when we might hear new material from you?

Nathan: Yes, I have! I’ve been in the studio, well I’m always writing, especially when there’s stuff going on in your life that you need to write about – and I’ve had quite a lot so I needed to write. So yeah, I’ve been in the studio and it’s been a very exciting few months because of the music that I’ve been writing. As for when you guys can hear new material, I think as soon as I’ve got it ready, you guys will be able to hear it. But I don’t think it’s gonna be too long, which is really exciting. 

We definitely can’t wait to see what Nathan has in store for us in the future! In the meantime, check out how you can redeem tickets to watch Nathan perform at MyVillage’s ‘A Rooftop Affair’ on 17 June 2017 here!

Teenage Dance Challenge 2017 Finals

The best K-dramas are always filled with heart-stopping moves specifically designed to sweep the leading lady off her feet – the bad ones make people cringe and skip to the ‘juicier’ scenes ahead. The worst? After-effects that see super fans emulating near-fictional K-drama behaviour (and using overly clichéd moves on their crush). Ahead, Kaplan’s ingenious team of lecturers and students tackled this very issue with their very own take on an IRL K-drama.  

SITUATION #1: THAT MOMENT WHERE HE REACHES OUT FOR YOU

Literally reaching out for her book, we mean. The library is a quintessential setting in many school-related dramas (Re: Strong Woman Do Bong Soon) and Kaplan’s version is no different. Here, we see the lead actress reaching for a book on the top shelf – perhaps it was assignment season – to no avail. Oppa pops out of nowhere and ‘rescues’ her. 

But in reality…

 

Seriously though, isn’t it kinda creepy that oppa comes out of nowhere and slinks off without saying a word? We get that it’s a library, but we’re sure Kaplan isn’t that strict on people having short conversations. And, she totally looks tall enough to reach the top shelf – maybe that’s why the girl doesn’t look too impressed with his gesture. 

Situation #2: When he helps you out with a problem

The damsel-in-distress theme is way too common in K-dramas and the team of Kaplan students and lecturers behind this production knows it all too well. But instead of having oppa go through extremes, all he had to do was ‘solve’ the assignment she was working on. Genius, right? 

In reality… 

Oppa totally pulled an Aaron Samuels with that whole “I know the answer” stunt (refer to below for extra Mean Girls goodness). To quote Cady: “Wrong, he was so wrong!” 

Situation #3: When he wipes away the remnants of your messy eating 

We can’t blame the girl for going all out with her meal. After all, Kaplan’s got tons of delicious food around their PoMo and Wilkie Edge campuses which make it totally convenient for students to grab meals on the go. But unlike her, we’d probably end up walking around with that foam moustache ’cause there won’t be an oppa to help us wipe it off… 

In reality… 

Despite his impeccable timing, we can’t help but wonder; does this dude just walk around wiping random girls’ faces? Judging from their wordless interactions, it seems like oppa doesn’t really know this leading lady too well. And we probably aren’t the only ones who will cringe at the thought of an acquaintance touching our faces so intimately.  

Situation #4: He coolly stands out with his unique dress sense 

 

With their modelesque stature and chiselled good looks, there’s no wonder Korean stars get dressed to the nines (and oftentimes in odd attire). But no matter how ridiculous they look, they’ll still be able to pull it off, purely by the sheer power of their stardom. 

In reality… 

The girl’s outburst was pretty funny, not to mention oppa’s startled expression, but we really couldn’t have said it any better. But then again, with Kaplan’s fully air-conditioned campuses, maybe he’s just cold lah.

And thus, we conclude: K-dramas are sweet and all, but the chances they’ll work IRL are little to none. You could still try it for yourselves, but beware the consequences that befell oppa – a cautionary tale, courtesy of Kaplan!

Bonus: Wanna watch more fun scenes from Kaplan’s A K-drama production? Click here to go behind the scenes with ’em, and here to follow Kaplan on Facebook!

What are some K-drama moves you think wouldn’t work IRL? Let us know in the comment section below. 

Teenage Dance Challenge 2017 Finals

Entertainment

One Direction: Better Together Or Happier Apart?

22 May 2017 by Bryan Yeong

It’s official: One Direction is truly over… for now. With Liam Payne being the last member to drop solo material, we’ve now gotten a taste of the Fab Fivesome’s varied musical stylings. So how do the former-1D heartthrobs fare against each other? Gather Directioners, we’re heading beyond the shirtless single covers to break down the music.

ZAYN


Photo: popfection.net

Genre: R&B
One Direction’s resident ‘bad boy’ has been busy since being the first to hop off the band at the height of their success in 2015, a mere two shows after their first-ever performance in Singapore (lucky us!). Since then, the introvert has launched his debut album Mind Of Mine to double #1s on both US and UK charts, alongside the equally chart-topping jam ‘Pillowtalk’. He’s the subject of every guy’s envy too, scoring model-of-the-moment Gigi Hadid as his companion and even putting their drop-dead gorgeous looks to use in fashion spreads for VOGUE and Versace. And with a Taylor Swift collaboration and a new single ‘Still Got Time’, it’s safe to say Zayn’s doing just fine on his own

Listen to ‘Still Got Time (Feat. PARTYNEXTDOOR)’: 

NIALL HORAN


Photo: BBC.co.uk

Genre: Folk-pop
Don’t count the Irish songwriter of the band out. Since the band’s hiatus, Niall has taken a slightly different approach, leaving the SYCO (Simon Cowell’s record label) family behind and jumping ship to Capitol Records under Universal Music, which houses heavyweight names like Katy Perry and Sam Smith. The move might be a wise one, considering how quick he was to drop solo music in September 2016 – a lush, softer sound compared to his peers. Armed with an acoustic guitar, Niall conquered with the tender and slow-paced ‘This Town’, reflecting a more Ed Sheeran / Jamie Scott-esque route for the crooner. He just most recently dropped a mid-tempo thumper ‘Slow Hands’ that’s slowly creeping up charts, but it’ll be the long-awaited album that will prove if he has the makings of a true solo star. 

Listen to ‘Slow Hands’:

LOUIS TOMLINSON


Photo: Tumblr

Genre: Pop / EDM
You might have to put those #Larry rumours to a rest and ship the musical love between #Laoki instead. Yup, rather than stepping out onto the music landscape purely solo, Louis teamed up with eccentric DJ Producer Steve Aoki for their uplifting club anthem ‘Just Hold On’ back in December 2016. The song was a surefire hit, reaching a peak of #2 on the UK Charts, and proved Louis’ mettle as a serious star during a performance on The X Factor UK finale, which he dedicated to his late mother. While there hasn’t been anything new cropping up from the tattooed dad since, we’ve definitely got a good inkling of what’s to come, and we hope it’s sooner rather than later.

Listen to ‘Just Hold On’:

HARRY STYLES


Photo: Sony Music Singapore

Genre: Rock
Was there any doubt that Harry Styles was the true blue rocker of the group? Harry exceeded all expectations and blew the world away just two months ago with his first solo single, the reflective ballad ‘Sign Of The Times’. Gone are the bandanas and long hair, with Harry opting for matching coloured suits and a sleek swept-back hairdo instead for recent promotional performances. Following well-received performances on Saturday Night Live and The Today Show, his self-titled debut album seems on lock to debut atop the coveted Billboard 200 Album charts too. A deserved achievement for Harry – the album boasts the grittiness and raw appeal of classic old-school rock n’ roll that’s made everyone from Zedd to Charli XCX fans. He’s also the first former-1D member who will be giving us a taste of his solo work live, with a sold out show on our shores come November 23rd.

Listen to Harry Styles:

LIAM PAYNE


Photo: Idolator

Genre: Hip-Hop/R&B
Congratulations are in order for Liam. Not only is he the newly proud parent of a son with Cheryl Cole, named… uhm… Bear Cole, but he also has another baby on his hands: his solo music. Most recently released, the Ed Sheeran-written ‘Strip That Down’ features Quavo from Migos (only the hottest hip-hop group at the moment) and showcases a brand new style for Liam. Channelling his inner Chris Brown over a pulsating beat, Liam celebrates his sensual side with a striptease. But that’s not the only revealing thing about the song. “”I used to be in One D, now I’m out free”, he coos at one point. Seems like someone’s never been more glad going solo, and we can’t say we aren’t just as stoked for all of them either…

Listen to ‘Strip That Down’:

Do you think One Direction’s better together or apart, and which former-1D member’s solo music are you the biggest fan of? Sound off in the comments below! 

Teenage Dance Challenge 2017 Finals

Most of you probably would’ve heard of Riverdale – a hit teen drama based off the classic Archie Comics series that’s currently residing at the top of our Netflix binge-watching list. With the show’s obvious nostalgia factor, on-point cast members and the complex albeit intriguing romances, it’s no wonder Riverdale fans have quickly formed their own favourite couple ships between these unbelievably gorgeous teen characters. And with season one of the show drawing to a close tomorrow (which leaves a huge gap in our Netflix playlist), we couldn’t help but wonder: if Archie, Jughead, Betty and Veronica were real life teenagers, what would they totally Netflix and chill to? Our friends at Netflix reveal the deets. 

Jughead x Betty (Bughead)
Jughead x Betty

When Jughead and Betty started flirting early on in season 1, we were totally freaked out ’cause the OG Archie Comics had everyone thinking Jughead’s only love was food. But their chemistry has gotten us deep into the Bughead ship. As IRL actors Lili Reinhart and Cole Sprouse revealed, this duo is totally into narco-suspense dramas like Breaking Bad – unsurprising considering Betty and Jughead’s love for gritty investigative journalism. Perhaps it was implied, but it’s kinda odd that Cole Sprouse didn’t list Riverdale as one of his favourite shows… unlike a certain KJ Apa. 

Betty x Veronica  (Beronica)
Betty & Veronica

To be honest, Beronica is THE mother ship for us. Despite a couple of bumps along the way, Betty and Veronica go together like peanut butter and jelly, and are equally delicious too! According to Camila Mendes and Lili, these gals will bond over intense dystopian dramas like Stranger Things and Black Mirror – you won’t see Beronica binge-watching fluffy chick flicks, that’s for sure. 

Veronica x Archie (Varchie) 
Veronica & Archie

While Varchie’s romance took longer than expected to ignite, the chemistry between these drop-dead gorgeous characters more than make up for it. So what would they be watching on a Netflix date? Apparently House of Cards and 13 Reasons Why, according to KJ Apa and Camila Mendes’ pick of their favourite Netflix shows. It seems pretty apt, considering Veronica’s aptitude for manipulation mastery, which comes in handy when helping the Riverdale squad out of sticky situations. 

Archie and Betty (Archetty)
Archie-and-Betty

Ah, the end game couple that never really got off the ground. These childhood best friends have got a rock solid foundation but it seems like that’s all there really is, what with Bughead’s romance and Archie’s attraction towards Veronica and (spoiler alert) that whole Grundy chapter. Nevertheless, based on their ‘Netflix binge-watch’ list, KJ Apa and Lili Reinhart will definitely bond over murder mysteries like American Crime Story and *ahem* Riverdale. Meta much? 

Jughead x Archie (Jarchie) 
Archie & Jughead

How did Jughead and Archie’s bromance blossom despite being practically polar opposites in character? Perhaps what drew them together was their love for retro thrillers – one that Cole Sprouse and KJ Apa share IRL as well. Based on their Netflix picks, we’d say the boys will be binge-watching Stranger Things when season 2 comes out. Don’t judge us, but we’d give anything to be a part of that sleepover. 

Who’s your Riverdale ship? Leave a comment and share the love. In the meantime, stay tuned to the Riverdale season 1 finale, airing tomorrow (12 May) on Netflix! 

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Instead of spending last weekend doing whatever a superstar diva does, Nicki Minaj was hard at work on Twitter, promoting a contest for fans to join her at the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas. In an unexpected turn of events, she ended up spending her night coming through for dozens of struggling college students. 

After Nicki tweeted that she “makes enough money to fly members of #TheKingdom out from any country in the world,” a fan jokingly asks her if she’d pay for his school fees. As ya’ll know, student loans are no joke, especially in America. To everyone’s surprise, Nicki immediately responded. 

“Show me straight A’s that I can verify with your school, and I’ll pay for it.” She cheekily added, “Who wants to join THAT contest?” Of course, Twitter went wild. Requests for help with student loans poured in, complete with photo evidence. 

This went on for about an hour, with Nicki tweeting back to over 30 fans.

@Cesarszn tweeted: “1k would be more than enough for my 3 summer classes. Help me Nic!” To which she responded, “That’s it? I’ll send it tomorrow. DM me your bank info babe. Next!” 

She even stopped to show concern for a fan who appeared to have more than financial issues on her plate. @macsirena said, “What about helping a fellow immigrant that wants to go to school?” Nicki quickly followed up with: “You want to go to college but can’t? How much do you need to get you in school? Is that the only thing stopping you?” 

Ending her Twitter Santa spree on a high note, Nicki tweeted, “Ok you guys. It’s been fun. Let me make those payments tomorrow then see if I have any money left. I’ll do some more in a month or two.” Various news sites have since confirmed that Nicki indeed kept true to her word, and that she has already made payment on several of the Twitter requests.  

TBH, Nicki Minaj has won our hearts with her generosity. Whether or not she’ll return for round 2 of her charity spree, or even set up her own education fund, Nicki is truly one to follow. 

Featured image: H&M

Teenage Dance Challenge 2017 Finals

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