Entertainment

Here's What It's Like To Have Bii As Your One-Day Boyfriend

30 Jun 2017 by Chew Hui Ling

With an adoring crowd of over 2,000 fans in attendance, Bii With You Live in Singapore concert was a surprisingly intimate affair despite his arena-filling prowess. Living up to his reputation as ‘the nation’s boyfriend’, the Korean-Taiwanese heartthrob made sure everyone in the audience was able to experience the dream fan service package – romantic serenades, hugs galore and more. Ahead, we list down our favourite moments when Bii stole our hearts.

Bii Live In Singapore 2017 (1)

#1 A bad boy or a nice guy? Get yourself a man who can do both.

Whether it’s making us swoon with his tough-guy charisma or sweeping ladies off their feet with his gentlemanly ways, Bii is a man of many charms – as seen during the special segment where a bunch of lucky fans took on the role of the singer’s “专属女友” (loosely translated to “exclusive girlfriend”). Re-enacting a kabedon scene (wall pound) with the first fan, Bii suavely swooped in to help her ‘retrieve a book’ from an imaginary shelf, in the absence of a wall. 

#2 He sits down and listens to you.

While many performers might blaze through a set sans the casual banter, Bii made an effort to actually pay attention to what the fans had to say (or scream) throughout the show. In-between songs, he took the time to engage the audience in small talk. And the fact that he seemed a little shy (due to his introverted nature) just made him all the more endearing! 

#3 He sings you a love song.

What can be more romantic than declaring your love to someone on stage? The 27-year-old made one fan’s concert experience a night she’ll never forget by serenading her with a breathtaking rendition of ‘到不了的幸福’ (‘Happiness That Cannot Be Reached’) on stage – much to the envy of everyone else present. Luckiest girl alive or what?

#4 Who needs a spoon when you have Bii to feed you?

Setting more hearts aflutter with his elaborate displays of affection, Bii went ahead and took fan service to another level. In front of a crowd of screaming fans, the chap granted the wishes of two lucky ladies by tenderly feeding them spoonfuls of pudding. Seriously, who needs cutlery when you have Bii at your service?

#5 Even your IRL bae approves!

Out of all the lucky ones who were invited on stage, it was the best of both worlds for one very special BF. Not only did she have the opportunity to intertwine hands with Bii aka her on-stage boyfriend while gazing into each other’s eyes, she even received a nod of approval from her actual boyfriend (yikes!) who was watching her in the audience!

Bii Live In Singapore 2017 (2)

#6 He’s thankful for your company.

And of course, fans also made sure to reciprocate their beloved idol’s love with a surprise of their own. With his 28th birthday coming up on 7 July, the local fanclub made a video compilation of heartfelt messages from fans and even included a clip from his mother and brother who are currently residing in Korea. “Everyone prepared so much for me that I felt like I haven’t prepared enough,” an emotional Bii addressed the crowd with teary eyes. “Thank you.” 

More related stories: Nathan Sykes Continues To Greet Fans Even After The Lights Were Switched OffHere’s Why The Sam Willows Gets Jealous Of Each OtherLANY: On Heartbreak, Flowers And Asian Food

Teenage Dance Challenge 2017

Incredible vocals, charismatic persona and an all-round showstopper – it’s safe to say Nathan Sykes is quite literally the entire package. While we didn’t think there’d be bonus points to add on after his debut show in Singapore last week, Nathan impressed even further with his hilarious mannerisms and heart-melting sincerity. Here are our favourite moments from his gig! 

When He Embraced His Inner Diva

With a huge fan (equipment, not person) placed in front of where his piano was located, Nathan was hit with an intense blast of air when he went over to his piano for the first time during his set, which immediately led him to comment that he felt like Mariah Carey with the wind blowing in his hair. When a fan replied that his reaction was perfect for a meme, the Brit heartthrob misheard the word and thought she was calling him out for being “mean” with the Mimi reference but was quickly corrected. “I thought you said mean and I was like ‘No I’m not, I’m really nice! I think I’m lovely… I’m the nicest person I know!'” Nathan said earnestly. 

When He Got Everyone Confused

Besides the huge fan, there was also a smoke machine at the corner of the stage that created an intense smokey atmosphere, which led Nathan to comment on how unnecessary it was (we’re guessing he’s a “no frills when he performs” kind of guy) and that he felt like a contestant on Stars In Their Eyes – to the audience’s confusion. For the uninitiated, Stars In Their Eyes is a popular British talent show where contestants get to impersonate a famous singer, appearing on stage after getting shrouded in a thick cloud of smoke (thus the reference to the smoke machine). And while the show has already ended, we can’t help but wonder if anyone would have given a Nathan impersonation a shot. 

When He Dished On What Happened After The Wanted’s Split

The biggest shocker of the night came when Nathan revealed that someone he was very close to while he was in The Wanted, cut off all ties with him when the band split up because they didn’t consider him ‘famous’ anymore now that he wasn’t in the band. “Well I thought, it’s fine, because you’ll totally call me when I’m famous” Nathan quipped. Turns out that the person-in-question actually did call him back when he found solo success, but the heart-throb later added that he declined the call (ouch). On a side note, Nathan shouldn’t have to worry about his phone staying silent ’cause we’d totally hit that number up! 

When He Honoured His Fans

But for whatever frenzy he caused his fans from his The Wanted comment, the heart-throb (more than) made up for it by extending what was supposed to be an “autograph-and-go” album signing into an over two hour fan-meet. The singer took the time to speak to everyone in the line, even after the organisers switched off the lights and music! “I never liked the idea of rushing people when they’re waiting to see me, I’ll always try to give everyone time to say whatever they want to say,” Nathan told the remaining few people in the queue as the signing came to a close, further cementing why he’s so well-loved among his fans. 

What were some of your favourite moments from Nathan’s debut solo showcase in Singapore? Let us know in the comments below!

More related stories: Exclusive Interview With Nathan SykesLANY: On Heartbreak, Flowers And Asian FoodWe Asked Minzy To Choose Between Fame, Fortune & Talent. Here’s What She Chose!

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Entertainment

Movie Review: Netflix's Okja Might Have You Rethinking Your Diet

27 Jun 2017 by Bryan Yeong

Hit ‘pause’ on binge-watching your favourite series to make way for this inspiring tale of friendship, activism and adventure.

You’d be forgiven if you were led to believe that Okja would be a light-hearted affair from the film’s opening sequence – with CEO Lucy Mirando’s (Tilda Swinton) restrained humour and quirky dialogue. But deception quickly unfolds, as you realise that the shrewd but narcissistic businesswoman has cruel intentions for her 10-year pet project of genetically-modified pigs, disguised in an environmentally-friendly package. 

The biggest victim of deception however, is our protagonist Mija (Seo-Hyun Ahn) who is introduced to us in her countryside home in present-day South Korea, where she spends her days with her best friend Okja – an endearing hybrid of a pig, dog and hippo she’s raised her whole life. But the world she’s known for a decade crumbles in a flash, when famed TV host and presenter Dr. Johnny Wilcox (Jake Gyllenhaal) arrives to document Okja’s “homecoming” for Mirando’s Super Pig Competition master plan. It’s too late by the time the betrayal is realised, which sends Mija on a fearless, hell-bent journey to save her friend from becoming literal dead meat.

What follows is a gripping East-meets-West adventure, where our young heroine is lost in translation across borders. Scenes are well-balanced between Lucy Mirando’s conniving intentions of manipulating Mija to her favour, and the latter’s tug-of-war against the corporation. But the film’s most enlightening and emotional moments are those focussed on the inhumane meat trade, that tug relentlessly at your heartstrings and may even make you reconsider your dietary habits. 

Its strong storyline is further supported by solid turns from familiar Hollywood faces. Lily Collins, Paul Dano and Steven Yeun form the trio leading the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), that’s looking to put a stop to Mirando’s animal abuse and mirroring Mija’s end goal of rescuing Okja. Possibly the only somewhat weak link is Jake Gyllenhaal’s impression of a washed-up television personality clinging on to his fading fame, instead coming off as convoluted and exaggerated. On the contrary, Tilda Swinton continues to strengthen her niche for off-kilter roles, shining as the extravagant Cruella de Vil-esque villainess and almost singlehandedly steals the show. 

Okja’s standout factor remains its clear and powerful message, one that should resonate with audiences both young and old. By the time the movie draws to its explosive, nail-biting finale, you may even realise that the real enemy is not even the self-serving Lucy Mirando after all, but us humans instead. And perhaps thats what director and writer Bong Joon-ho aims to achieve and ultimately succeeds with – a thought-provoking social narration on our actions and how they should be re-evaluated. 

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Okja is available on Netflix from Wednesday, June 28.

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Entertainment

Here's Why The Sam Willows Gets Jealous Of Each Other

27 Jun 2017 by Chew Hui Ling

It’s been a busy year for Benjamin and Narelle Kheng, the dynamic sibling duo and 1/2 of our favourite local pop quartet, The Sam Willows. They have been dabbling in a multitude of solo pursuits outside of TSW – stage productions, TV shows, commercial deals… the list goes on. While they certainly deserve their turn in the spotlight, there’s no doubt that they are better together as they stage their much-anticipated return to the local music scene with their EDM-infused earworm ‘Keep Me Jealous’.

Ahead of their album release, we caught up with the siblings for a short chat about their upcoming sophomore record, the concept behind their latest single and what they envy about each other. 

 

A post shared by relle (@narellekheng) on

Hi guys! Let’s talk a bit about your upcoming album – when can we expect the release?

B: We want to know too (laughs).

N: It’s not exactly complete yet – the structure is there but we are still fine-tuning a lot of stuff. When we started working on this album, we went in with the intention of writing as many pieces as we could and every track has its own unique flavour. We wanted to delay [the album] a little longer ’cause we wanted to push out the singles and let people listen to each track on its own first, then the entire album comes along. Till then, the content will be dropping continuously throughout.

How was it like working with The Chainsmokers’ songwriter, Fredrik Häggstam, for the new record?

N: We worked with him for a little bit on Take Heart. He came in as a filler and we got to know him. He’s a young guy and we got along well, so we decided to seek him out for this album and he very kindly agreed.

B: At that point, we had no idea Fredrik wrote for The Chainsmokers. He’s also written for quite a number of K-pop acts. It was an entirely new experience writing with ’em – the Swedes are indeed a different breed!

Since all of you participated in writing for the album, how was the entire process like?

N: We spent a whole week in Sydney last year, just coming in and writing songs every single day. And it was a great bonding session for us because we’ve been so busy lately that we hardly even get to sit down in a room together back home. It was a fantastic trip – we wrote around ten songs. (B: But only one ended up on the album!)

B: The thing about commercial pop acts is that a lot of them don’t get to take charge of their music, so they simply get a team of writers to do the work and they just have to perform the song as it is. For us, we transitioned from an indie band to this – but we didn’t want to give up the creative streak in us. We think it’s really important to guard our own works, even if it’s a commercial – whether it’s playing a part in the video or having a say on the concept – and it’s something we would never lose. 

The Sam Willows Keep Me Jealous

What’s the story behind your newest single ‘Keep Me Jealous’?

N: Basically, it’s the first song we wrote for our album so we decided to start off with the topic of love because we got hooked on this idea revolving around jealousy. In the song, we tried to spin it in a more positive light – you know, it’s good to keep your partner jealous so you can maintain a healthy degree of tension in your relationship, but the problem is that there’s a very fine line and if you tip far in, it’s easy to get lost in the downward spiral of mental games and everything just turns into rubble.

What’s one thing you guys are jealous about each other?

B: I’d say the split between [Narelle and I] is quite decent. For example, I’m not a mathematical or logical person, but Narelle is very good at it.

N: But I always get the best rooms…

B: Yeah, what’s up with that? My room’s like half the size of hers!

 

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What about Sandra and Jon?

B: Both of us are pretty envious of Jon’s brain – he’s the guy that cracks the whip and has an awesome business sense. 

N: I’ve never met anyone with more willpower than Sandra. When she wants something, she gets it. She’s well diversified in many aspects – like when it comes to music, she knows what melodies work and what doesn’t, even though it delves very far into a certain genre. At the end of the day, when we say the Willows are like a family, we really mean it because it’s the same as how you would know all the good and bad points of your sibling. You can be jealous, but you still love them no matter what.

What’s next for The Sam Willows? 

B: We’ve got a few shows planned for June and then it’s going to be quite a long break for us as a group. After which we’re going to film our next music video, travel for a bit, do a couple more festivals in August, and then we’re all gonna focus on our own projects, before coming back together.

Can fans expect another concert anytime soon?

B: Heck yeah! Well, the pipeline is probably next year but we’re already in the midst of planning it. For our last concert, we started work on it really late so we only had a few months to scramble for music directors, set pieces and everything. We want to deliver a really good show this time.

Looks like it’s gonna be a long ride till the full album drops – till then, continue to #SupportLocal and keep on streaming ‘Keep Me Jealous’!

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Entertainment

LANY: on heartbreak, flowers and Asian food

23 Jun 2017 by Bryan Yeong

When a music act sells out their debut concert even before releasing their full-length album, you know you’ve got yourself a band worthy of attention. Enter LANY – an indie-pop trio with dashes of alt-rock and R&B influences hailing from Los Angeles and New York, hence their acronymic name. Ahead of their maiden gig here courtesy of Secret Sounds Asia, we caught up with lead singer Paul Klein.

Hi Paul! Where are you guys currently and what’re you up to?

Not much. I’m just chilling at the beach in Malibu.

Are you singing a little bit of Miley Cyrus while you’re there?

(Laughs) No I’m not. I was listening to Frank Ocean before this!

The album comes out June 30th, which is really soon. What have you guys been doing to prepare yourself for this moment?

We haven’t really prepared ourselves. We haven’t even really had time to sit down and think about what it’s gonna feel like when the album comes out. We’ve just been working so hard. The lead up to the album… there’s just a lot of stuff to plan. We’ve been busy being home, off tour for now. We’re trying to set up pop up shops in a few cities around the world; at places where we can meet people and celebrate the album with them. You only release a debut album one time in your life. I’m not quite sure how it’s gonna feel.

What’s one distinctive difference from the music on the upcoming album, as compared to the songs from your previous EPs?

There’s nothing too different –  I feel like that wouldn’t make much sense, for us to come out with our first album sounding completely different than what we’ve put out previously. I do think we’ve grown as songwriters, musicians and producers, and I think that these songs on the album are the best songs we’ve ever written. What you know of LANY – what it sounds and feels like – is exactly what the album is.

You guys were recently in Singapore. What’s one memorable takeaway you had from that trip? Any interesting experiences? 

That we can’t chew gum in Singapore – that’s crazy! We never really played [a show] in Singapore, we were just there mostly for meetings. But we had a few fans at the hotel lobby and that was really cool. When we got off the plane and got into a van, we heard ‘ILYSB’  on the radio and I thought it was a joke or something! It was really cool to hear our song on the radio immediately when we landed. We’re so excited to come over; it’s a real honour to be able to go all the way to Singapore and the rest of Asia and be able to play for fans.

 

SINGAPORE FOR 2 SECS.

A post shared by LANY (@thisislany) on

Is there anything you’re looking forward to trying or experiencing in particular on your return trip to Asia in August?

I personally love Asian food, or at least what I know of Asian food. I’m really excited to just kind of dive into the culture of Singapore, and we’ll be in Japan, Taiwan, Thailand… these are places that I’ve never been to. I’ve only kind of seen [them] in magazines and movies so I’m looking forward to all of it, really. 

Not sure if you guys have heard, but the show sold out in a week! How does that feel for you?

It feels really cool! I can’t tell you guys how excited we are. We don’t even know what our fans look like, you know? To just see the faces of people who listen to us and love us and support us – that’ll be a real special moment.

What can fans expect from your full-length debut concert?

Normally at LANY shows, everyone sings along to every word, so that’s really fun. The songs are also way bigger live – they’re louder and more energetic.

Is there a particular song you guys are most excited to perform live on tour?

We haven’t gone to rehearsals yet, so I can’t [quite have an] answer for that. But there’s a song called ‘Super Far’ that I think is gonna be really big, so that’s gonna be fun to play live I’m sure. I think ‘Flowers on the Floor’ and ‘Purple Teeth’ will be really fun [to play] as well.

The ‘Good Girls’ video is coming out real soon as well. What’s the story behind that song and the video?

‘Good Girls’ is about dealing with disappointment and unmet expectations. In that moment [writing it], I felt pretty let down by my relationship, and how it was going. And I was really self-aware – I knew that things weren’t going to be perfect but I really thought that it would be better than [how it was going]. It’s also a plea for that person you’re in love with to change their mind and to come back home to give it one more shot, even though they wronged you.

I don’t want to give away too much about the ‘Good Girls’ video. It’s mainly… a lot of it is performance, a lot of me walking around Hollywood singing to the camera. But there’s a twist at the end that I’m really excited for people to see. It’s coming out next week.

Your album artwork features a simple design of a rose. What special meaning does the rose have to the band?

I think from almost the very beginning of LANY, flowers and plants have always been a part of the aesthetic. For me personally, I’ve always [liked] taking photos in front of flowers, and ‘Paul in front of plants’ became a thing on Instagram. I mean, if you go back to our I Loved You EP, there’s flowers in the sink [on the cover art] and the Make Out EP has bougainvillea. People also started bringing roses to our shows and threw them all over the stage. It just became obvious that flowers and LANY go together. 

LANY has shared the stage with the likes of Halsey to John Mayer. Are there moments where you guys are still like “I can’t believe this is happening”? What’s the craziest thing about all this for you guys?

I guess [opening for] John Mayer would probably be “the one”.  Just knowing that this little band that I’m in, that works so hard to write all the best songs we possibly could, be recognised by my childhood hero – that’s a crazy moment. Those seven nights with John Mayer were the best seven nights of my life.

LANY performs a sold out show at the *SCAPE Ground Theatre on August 10th. Their self-titled debut album is available on June 30th. 

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