The powerhouse pop rebel might have charmed Singapore once before during her maiden performance at 2016’s Singapore Grand Prix, but on Halsey’s first recent headlining concert tour here, she proves that she’s a definite mainstay in today’s music climate. 

You’ll know when you’re at a Halsey concert. On the list of things to look out for: dyed hair (preferably in a shade of blue), oversized streetwear and rainbow flags; and those trademark items were on full display at The Star Performing Arts Theatre, proudly adorned by the many young fans buzzing in anticipation of their queen. But those signature fan honours are also a testament to the kind of celebrity Halsey is: influential, inspirational and unapologetically honest. 

Halsey 2

Following opener Niki’s short but sweet set of R&B-tinged tracks, it was the spoken-word introduction of Halsey’s ‘The Prologue’ that echoed throughout the venue in response to deafening screams, before she promptly followed with the hard-hitting ‘Eyes Closed’ as a mini-mosh pit furiously formed near the front of the stage.

True to her appeal of being a shapeshifting chameleon with her style, Halsey opted for a yellow crop top and baggy jeans combination complete with a chain linked on her pockets – reminiscent of early 2000s Avril Lavigne, coupled with the occasional Britney-esque gyrating dance moves and her signature mic flips in between verses. The main lady herself referenced the throwback theme, proudly announcing that “this show’s gonna be dirty and punk as f***. We are doing it old school!” before belting out ‘Roman Holiday’, off her Tumblr-beloved debut album Badlands.

Both older and newer songs in her catalogue played relentlessly during the next 90 minutes, with Halsey ensuring to drop in a couple of personal anecdotes with her legion of followers along the way. Whether it was shouting out the LGBT community on ‘Strangers’ (“We are safe here so let’s dance!”), advocating self-love on ‘Hurricane’ (“This song is a reminder that you don’t belong to anybody but yourself”) or admitting to not having everything figured out in her life before a stripped-back rendition of her #1 hit ‘Closer’ (“I’m 23 and I still don’t know what I’m doing, but it feels like we grew up with each other”), every moment felt refreshingly unrehearsed and added to the overall concert experience.

Halsey 1

Between rushing down to the crowd during ‘Colors’ and showcasing a more vulnerable side on ‘Sorry’ – that elicited a sea of swaying phone lights – Halsey proved that she’s truly got the mettle of a bona fide pop star in the 21st century. And by the time she re-appeared on stage for her encore of the belty ‘Bad At Love’, she had every audience member in the palm of her hand singing loudly along, with the backdrop of flame bursts, cinematic smoke and her backing band closing the night while she waved her byes and bade farewell (for now).

As Halsey sings on ‘Heaven in Hiding’, “I can put on a show”. And trust us when we say she can and will however she wants to.

Image credits: Peter Donaghy

 Special thanks to Hype Records and Universal Music Singapore for the invites!

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Entertainment

Interview: Tiffany Young On Leaving SM And Finding Her Own Voice

17 Aug 2018 by Chew Hui Ling

From K-pop princess to a solo star in her own right, the Girls’ Generation member is ready to make a name for herself beyond the world of Hallyu.

Following her illustrious decade-spanning career in one of the biggest K-pop girl groups, Korean-American singer Tiffany Young made the decision to part ways with longtime label SM Entertainment for a shot at solo fame. Her first original post-SNSD release ‘Over My Skin’ came a couple of months after her departure – a sensual, ’90s-inspired pop ditty that steers away from K-pop’s penchant for bright melodies and bubblegum hooks. Her sultry vocals take centre stage here, a testament to her newfound maturity as she sings of inner confidence and female empowerment.

But what really made us view the songstress in a new light, is her name in the songwriting credits alongside Far East Movement, Khwezi, Kev Nish and Rachel West. “I’ve been learning how to write over the past year, and I’m having so much fun with it,” she explains over a phone interview. “It’s a time of growth for me, and it’s nice to be able to come out and show what I’ve been working so hard on.” Not many K-idols are able to take control of their own creative freedom, with most of their tunes meticulously crafted in big-name studios instead. Not to discredit them of course, but we’re very proud of Tiffany’s upgraded composing chops and the trailblazer certainly has the potential to carve out a successful career as a burgeoning singer-songwriter.

However, she’s never one to completely detach herself from her girl group roots either. When asked what gave her the confidence to be the Tiffany Young we see today, she spares no hesitation in giving her beloved bandmates a shoutout. Her latest single, for instance, was also largely driven by her time in Girls’ Generation and the sisterhood between them. “Last year was our 10th anniversary and that was such a great moment for us to make sense of what Girls’ Generation stands for. As females, we’ve been together for 10 years and I want to continue the message of always loving and supporting your girlfriends. I hope that women of all ages could feel fabulous listening to it,” she shares.

She makes her intentions loud and clear between the lines, where female empowerment is a major theme throughout the song. “When I wear something, I wear it for myself and not because I want a guy to look at me. If I wanna show skin, I show skin and there’s nothing wrong about it. This song is really created around that conversation.” It’s a bold move that might not work well in the rigid landscape of K-pop, but it’s Tiffany we’re talking about – and she has never been shy to speak up for herself.

She ends off with a laugh, “There’s a wonderful quote by Audrey Hepburn, ‘Happy girls are the prettiest’, and I think that is so true. Growing up, I didn’t think much about it but now, I feel that there’s nothing more beautiful than someone with a smile on their face. At the end of the day, having confidence is all about being happy.”

‘Over My Skin’ is the result of Tiffany truly coming into her own as a soloist, and it couldn’t sound better.

Featured image credit: Universal Music Singapore

Tiffany Young’s latest single ‘Over My Skin’ is now available for purchase and streaming.

Entertainment

5 Reasons Why Japanese Heartthrob Koudai Matsuoka Is One To Watch

16 Aug 2018 by Chew Hui Ling

At 21, actor Koudai Matsuoka appears wise beyond his years. We caught up with the Japanese actor when he was in town to commemorate the launch of Japan Park Singapore, where we discovered he’s more than just boyish good looks. Apart from boasting killer acting chops, this rising star is also equally talented in the dancing department. Oh, and he’s a well-known K-pop stan – which scored him bonus points in our books. Here are five reasons why you’ll be crushing on Koudai Matsuoka in no time.

#1 He’s a fan of our local food. Ask any celebrity who comes to our little red dot about their favourite Singaporean cuisine, and chances are chilli crab would most likely top the rankings. Aside from the popular dish, Koudai also gave special mention to other local delights such as chicken rice and bak kut teh. Next on his must-try list? Char kway teow!

#2 He’d make the perfect travel buddy. Thinking of going for a holiday in Japan? For a one-day trip, Koudai recommends heading to Kyoto and Nara because of its close proximity. “There are plenty of historical architecture and structures I want people to see and experience, especially when it’s all made from wood a thousand years ago but still standing strong today. Don’t you think it’s amazing?” You know what will be even more amazing? If we actually have Koudai as our tour guide. (Hey, we can dream!)

#3 Not only can he act, he knows how to dance too! Koudai is born for the stage. Besides being a stellar actor in his own right, you’d be surprised to know that the 21-year-old is also great at dancing. “I was a member of the dance club when I was 8, so I would’ve probably been a dancer if I wasn’t an actor,” he explains. “I’ve always been into the art of expressing oneself, so I’ve never really thought about anything outside of the entertainment and arts scene.”

#4 He’s a huge fan of EXO’s Kai and Bruno Mars. Did you know that the chap’s a fanboy of EXO’s resident dancing machine, Kai? He even knows the choreography to ‘Growl’ – check out his flawless moves in this 2015 cover he uploaded on Twitter.

It’s no secret that he’s a major EXO-L, but we found out that Koudai looks up to Bruno Mars as well. “He has amazing stage presence. His performance at the Super Bowl was perfect!”

#5 He’s always up to take on new challenges. Although his acting career is just starting to kick off, the talented lad has already taken on a couple of notable roles such as his performance as Naruto in Naruto The Live Spectacle. In the future, he hopes to play a character that speaks in English. “I watch quite a bit of Netflix and sometimes see Japanese cast amongst foreign actors. I think that’s really respectable.”

We’re certainly looking forward to that, but in the meantime, fans can catch him in the upcoming stage play of Rurouni Kenshin in October – a character that’s “different from my previous roles”. And if his previous roles are any indication, Koudai definitely has the potential to make it big.

Featured image credit: JPSG2018

More related stories: 5 Reasons Why Takeru Satoh Is Our New Actor Crush, J-Rock Band ONE OK ROCK Talks Global Success And Breaking Asian Stereotypes

As part of the YOUTHx festival, the annual extravaganza wrapped up on a high note with Hyperplay 2018 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium – headlined by international artistes such as CL, Alessia Cara, Nick Jonas as well as our very own The Sam Willows.

With such an impressive gathering of big-name acts, what could go wrong? Well, plenty. A broken leg, mic issues, body-shaming trolls… you name it. But despite the hiccups along the way, it didn’t stop our stars from delivering a solid show. What ensued was a heartwarming outpour of support from the crowd that truly brings out the spirit of our youth community.

The Sam Willows

The Sam Willows

In the span of their career, homegrown quartet The Sam Willows has accomplished many things – from releasing hugely successful albums, to headlining at major festivals around the world. And our local darlings can now add another milestone to their name with Hyperplay, being the first performers to kick off the highly-anticipated event. They certainly didn’t come empty-handed, as they treated us to a medley of their biggest hits including ‘Take Heart’, ‘All Time High’ and ‘Papa Money’.

What really impressed us however was Narelle, who braved a leg injury to stand on stage. At some point, the pink-haired badass even tried to take part in the choreography with the help of the other members. Major respect!

CL

CL

CL was clearly the buzz of the night, for good (and bad) reasons. While en route to Singapore, the former 2NE1 member was captured at the airport looking like she packed on a few pounds – which is deemed as ‘unacceptable’ in K-pop standards where idols are expected to have stick-skinny bodies. Unsurprisingly, it wasn’t long before CL made headlines for her sudden weight gain. But we can’t help but wonder, what’s the big deal?

We don’t know about you, but we think our resident Baddest Female looks just as gorgeous and confident with a chubbier bod. And she clearly embraces her larger frame, putting her newfound curves in full display as she booty-popped and twerked her way through an electrifying 13-track set. Blackjacks and GZBs in the audience were also nothing but supportive, enthusiastically swaying and crooning along to her familiar hits which included a couple of nostalgic 2NE1 throwbacks like ‘Can’t Nobody’, ‘Falling In Love’ and ‘I Am The Best’.

Alessia Cara

Alessia Cara

There’s nothing more frustrating for a singer than having to deal with a faulty mic, especially at the start of your performance. But Alessia Cara handled it like a true professional, determinedly singing into the mic and hyping up the crowd while waiting for the music to come on. She was quickly ushered away shortly after, before bouncing back on stage as if the technical mishap didn’t just happen.

This was Alessia’s first time performing in Singapore, but she showed no signs of nervousness and managed to hit all the right notes perfectly. Drawing us in with her powerhouse vocals and magnetic charisma, the Canadian songstress brought the atmosphere to an all-time high with standout tracks like ‘Wild Things’, ‘Scars To Your Beautiful’ and ‘Stay’. But what stole the show for us was her emotional rendition of ‘Growing Pains’, where she left us with a little reminder we never knew we needed. “I want you to know that you’re perfect no matter what you do. This song is a reminder to love ourselves, and love one another. Remember, you’re not alone.”

Nick Jonas

Nick Jonas

The party was just getting started! And if there’s anyone who knows how to have a good time, it’s Nick Jonas. Bursting on stage in a rad pink bomber, the American heartthrob thrilled fans with a killer repertoire of sizzling pop numbers including ‘Chains’, ‘Levels’ and ‘Jealous’. Just when we were about to get fully immersed in his charms, a little bird told us that a certain Bollywood diva was somewhere in the front rows cheering on her beau – and it was honestly the cutest thing ever.

Although we didn’t manage to find Priyanka Chopra in the crowd, eagle-eyed fans spotted the newly-engaged lovebirds snuggling up at a nightclub after the show. Aww!

Image credits: Hyperplay/MTV Asia

What was your favourite moment of the night during Hyperplay? Tell us in the comments below!

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K-pop girl group Red Velvet is no stranger to our sunny island, having performed in Singapore previously for the Shilla Beauty Concert last November. Local Reveluvs have been patiently waiting for the quintet to hold their own solo concert here, and it seems like their wish will finally be granted.

After two sold-out shows in Seoul on 4 and 5 August, it was announced that the girls will be heading overseas for their REDMARE tour. Initial reports stated that they will be starting off in Bangkok on 8 September, followed by Taipei and Singapore. More locations will be revealed later on.

This tour announcement comes right on the heels of their recent upbeat anthem ‘Power Up’, which has since earwormed its way to the top of the charts with their refreshing vocals, infectiously catchy hooks and addictive choreography. If there’s anything Red Velvet is known for, it’s their penchant for churning out inescapable summer smashes – think ‘Red Flavour’, ‘Dumb Dumb’ and ‘Ice Cream Cake’ – and they certainly didn’t disappoint with their latest comeback. We can’t wait to belt out to their biggest hits when they come to town!

Red Velvet 2nd Concert [REDMARE] in Singapore

[UPDATED]

Red Velvet 2nd Concert [REDMARE] in Singapore
Date:
20 October 2018 (Saturday)
Time:
6pm
Venue:
The Star Theatre
Tickets: 
$288, $248, $208, $168

Tickets will go on sale 8 September, 10am via APACTIX. For more information, just hit up the folks at One Production here!

Meanwhile, check out Red Velvet’s latest music video for ‘Power Up’:

More related stories: Here’s How You Can Cop Red Velvet’s Signature Beauty LookWho’s The Biggest Makeup Hoarder In Red Velvet? (VIDEO)7 Beauty Secrets We Learned From SHINee And Red Velvet

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