Music is said to bring people from all walks of life together, but it’s not often that you see a fully inclusive cast of singers all in one song – and even featuring in the same music video.

As part of the National Council of Social Service’s See The True Me campaign for disability inclusion, ‘Fire in the Rain’ presents a colourful mix of local star power and burgeoning talents who overcame obstacles to shine on stage.

We had the opportunity to speak to one of the featured artistes, homegrown rapper ShiGGa Shay, about how it was like working with director Royston Tan, singer-songwriter Don Richmond alongside the ensemble of impaired yet talented performers – which includes visually impaired lead singer Adelyn Koh and rapper Danial Bawthan aka Wheelsmith who has muscular dystrophy – for this meaningful project.

Hi ShiGGa! How did this collaborative effort for ‘Fire In The Rain’ come about?

Director Royston Tan approached me about collaborating with Don Richmond to create something that could change the misconceptions that society has about people with disabilities. I’ve always wanted to be part of a meaningful cause like See The True Me, so I’m really thankful that they roped me in for this project. It’s also been a while since I’ve put out new music.

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There’s still a social stigma towards people with special needs that they wouldn’t be able to function normally as others. Having worked closely with Adelyn Koh and the rest – all equally talented at what they do despite their disabilities – how was your experience like working alongside them?

It was inspiring! A lot of people don’t realise the amount of talent and potential that people with disabilities have. I learned a lot while working with them.

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Has your perspective in life and music changed after meeting these amazing people?

It has definitely motivated me in many ways. I want to be able to share the stories of persons with disabilities in every way I can. The best way to help would be to help bring awareness and slowly remove the social stigma that society has placed on them.

What do you think youths can do to make society more inclusive towards people from all walks of life?

We should seek to understand them. With a better understanding of our differences, we will realise how much we actually have in common.

If you could spearhead an initiative – be it in music or arts – to include disabled people one day, what would it be?

I would love to work on a project with Wheelsmith. His story is incredible!

See The True Me

What’s a piece of advice you would like to give young aspiring singers who wish to pursue a career in music?

Never lose passion for what you love no matter what other people tell you. Always believe in yourself, follow your dreams, work hard and stay focused.

Watch the full music video for ‘Fire in the Rain’ starring ShiGGa Shay below:

Having just concluded their massively successful Love Yourself tour in Bangkok, the boys are back to begin a new era of world domination with their comeback EP, Map of the Soul: Persona.

Despite the ambiguity of their sixth mini album throughout the month-long wait, our patience has finally paid off when it officially dropped on 12 April. Upon the availability of the EP, the group’s seven-track masterpiece quickly catapulted the boys straight to the top of the charts on iTunes, while also making them the first Asian act to surpass five billion streams on Spotify. In addition to clinching number one on six major Korean music sites with their title track ‘Boy With Luv’, its accompanying official music video had also made history with over 130 million views (and counting) garnered worldwide.

Hot on the heels of their SNL comeback stage, here’s our track-by-track review to see if the first album in the Map of the Soul series lives up to the hype.

1. ‘Intro: Persona’

Though it has been a good four years since RM last created an intro for a BTS album, it’s suffice to say that the leader hasn’t lost his touch as he marked the beginning of a new chapter for the group with a special intro using a beat sample off their 2014 track, ‘Intro: Skool Luv Affair’.

Ahead of the album’s official release, fans were given a full track preview of the song in its entirety alongside a music video where we saw RM looking old-school dapper as he consistently spit verses that depicts him exploring his identity that might be influenced by Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung’s theories on the human psyche (“Persona, who the hell am I / I just wanna go, I just wanna fly, I just wanna give you all the voices till I die”).

2 ‘Boy With Luv’

Almost three years in the making, the long-awaited collaboration between BTS and Halsey is finally here! Described as a song about finding happiness in simple love (“Love is nothing stronger, than a boy with luv”), it was easy enough to predict the likability of this instant earworm after the release of the two MV teasers which left us wanting for more.

Although the ‘Without Me’ singer had lent her voice to ‘Boy With Luv’, she didn’t let her star contribution overshadow the boys as she blended in seamlessly with a mix of English and Korean lines. In addition to the creation of the track, Halsey also made her appearance in the music video where she absolutely nailed her debut dance scene with the BTS members.

In sharing stories of their time on set with the international pop star, J-Hope had nothing but compliments for Halsey, “I think it was her first time doing a choreography, and she had already practiced before arriving in Korea for the filming. She really worked so hard!”

3. ‘Mikrokosmos’

Lovingly dubbed by the boys as the ‘soju’ song (because of its Korean title), this electric-pop tune surprisingly offers a sense of calm that makes it the perfect track to listen to at night after a long day. Getting its namesake from the Greek word for microcosm, this Greek philosophy toys with the concept of each individual being their own world – perhaps RM was influenced by this very idea in his rap (“One star in one person / Shining with seven billion lights, seven billion worlds”).

4. ‘Make It Right’

In yet another big-name collaboration, BTS partners up with British pop singer Ed Sheeran to bring us a co-written track that showcases the unique style of both acts, although it’s got a tad bit more of the ginger-haired crooner’s vibe than we preferred.

Backed by synths with a simple repetitive instrumental, the septet sings of a desire to make this world a better place through kindness and human connection (“I could make it better, I could hold you tighter / On that long road, oh you’re the light”). Even though we haven’t had a cameo from the ‘Perfect’ singer on this track, we’re pretty sure it won’t be long until a BTS featuring Ed Sheeran remix is released.

5. ‘Home’

BTS has always been priding themselves on their deep connection with ARMYs and much like how ‘Magic Shop’ is penned with their fanbase in mind, this R&B track is yet another affectionate dedication that the boys have prepared for their beloved fans. In spite of the perception that naysayers and critics may have about them, the members describe their fans as their home, where they can seek comfort, love and support whenever they’re tired or lonely (“I’ll be comfortable even if nothing is said / If I have you, everywhere is home”). If this doesn’t tug at your heartstrings, we’re not sure what will.

6. ‘Jamais Vu’

Voted as the go-to karaoke song by the members themselves, this emotional track is the product of a new sub-unit made up of Jin, J-Hope and Jungkook. Already a hit with fellow ARMYs, this poignant ballad comprises heartfelt lyrics that detail the hope of salvaging a relationship that has lost all feelings (“Please give me a remedy, a remedy that will make my heart beat again”).

As if we’re not already sold when the boys serenade us with their complementary blend of rap and vocals, it’s also especially hard not to react to the feels we get from the flawless harmonisation of Jin and Jungkook.

7. ‘Dionysus’

Probably our favourite track off the album is this head-banger, which gets its title reference from the Greek God of wine. A throwback to their old-school hip-hop days, this 80s-inspired anthem is actually co-written by J-Hope, who had painstakingly written almost half of the track. Amidst the heavy beats and rapid-fire rap verses, the members celebrate shrugging off media criticism as they transition from idol to artiste; which is evident during Suga’s portion (“Born as a K-pop idol / Reincarnated artiste”).

If this album is any indication, BTS could certainly lay their rightful claim to being one of the most revolutionary artistes in history – and they will only go higher from here.

BTS’ new album Map of the Soul: Persona is now available for streaming and purchase. And in case you missed it, watch the music video for ‘Boy With Luv’ here:

What’s your favourite song from the album? Share with us in the comments below!

More related stories: BTS Is Back With A Halsey Collaboration For Their Upcoming Comeback SingleBTS Just Teased A Possible Collaboration With Ed Sheeran And We’re Losing It

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The music billboard doesn’t lack any pop singers or need anymore sad love songs, but Anne-Marie’s signature tropical bubblegum pop brimming with attitude is exactly what we need.

With a hefty dose of goofiness and equal amounts of sass, pop songstress Anne-Marie dominated the stage with her chart-topping tunes and infectious charms at her Capitol Theatre concert on 9 April. She even makes breakups seem contentious, almost a happy thing, as she enthusiastically bopped around the stage hi-fiving fans and exchanging gifts – a lucky fan managed to swap a plushie whale for a drumstick. If you could hear doodles and scribbles, that’s exactly how Anne-Marie sounds like.

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On the back of her highly acclaimed debut album Speak Your Mind, Anne-Marie blasts through hit singles like ‘Alarm’, ‘Ciao Adios’ and ‘Bad Girlfriend’. Every song has its own story, and more likely than not, it was about a cheating boyfriend. She’s been the wronged one, been cheated on, or just fell out of love. The singer joked that she had a penchant for picking the worst men to date, but it’s okay since she got a couple of good songs out of it. Well, maybe she’ll be the next Taylor Swift…?

It’s not just all about cheating exes though. ‘Perfect To Me’ was born when the singer realised that she didn’t feel good about her own body after watching inspiring talks on YouTube, resulting in an anthem for acceptance that reminds us that it’s okay to have anxiety all while inspiring us to feel confident in our own skin – a message that resonated well with Anne-Marie’s diverse crowd of fans.

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The night ended on a high as the versatile singer launched into more EDM-fueled tracks from her high-profile collaborations. As much as Anne-Marie has been hurt by failed romances, she has also friend-zoned her fair share of guys, as told by the feisty ‘FRIENDS’ with Marshmello. And who can forget ‘2002’, the ever so addictive smash that sees Ed Sheeran lending his songwriting prowess to.

The only letdown that left fans wanting more was the clearly noted absence of ‘Rewrite The Stars’, the massive duet that Zac Efron and Zendaya sang in blockbuster movie The Greatest Showman – although she did tease us a little with a short snippet of it before launching into her last song of her set. Guess she has to come back again soon to perform even more songs!

Photo credits: Lushington Entertainments

More related stories: Who Is Anne-Marie? 5 Things You Need To Know About The ‘2002’ Singer-SongwriterInterview: Anne-Marie Talks Ed Sheeran, Positivity And Self Love

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After a gruelling few months since the auditions, the nine remaining finalists of Asia’s Got Talent (AGT) Season 3 had gathered to perform at the final showdown on 4 April, in a bid to clinch the grand prize and score exclusive bragging rights as the coveted winners.

From digital magic to contemporary acrobatics to shadow play, these talented performers never fail to impress with their unique individual skills. Before the season comes to an end during the unveil on 11 April, we sat down with the AGT judging panel David Foster, Anggun and Jay Park to talk about their final thoughts about the show, most memorable moments and more.

On their most memorable moment of season 3

Anggun: I remember the vroom-vroom guy from Malaysia during the auditions. Oh my God, I laughed so hard, I cried! I’m actually a little disappointed that he wasn’t here because he was just so funny.

David Foster: That moment when I got to go up on stage with this Japanese magician. It was really thrilling for me to watch him up-close as he did his magic because I’m an amateur act myself.

Jay Park: Well… I got some underwear flung at me by one of the contestants (laughs). Although it was part of their segment, it was nonetheless very memorable for me.

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On how they judge a performing act

Jay Park: I think that with AGT, there are so many different types of talents that it’s impossible to be an expert in every single field. So I judge based on how the act makes me feel when I’m watching it. If I’m entertained, it’s good for me.

David Foster: For me, I purely judge on what I see, hear and feel.

Anggun: At the end of the day, it’s about whether or not I’ve been touched by a performance, moved by a voice or surprised at how a dance routine has revived something in me. It’s really one of those things where I have to pay attention to when I’m watching them.

On the contestants that didn’t make it

David Foster: There’s only going to be one winner and eight non-winning acts who are going to have to make a decision in their life. “We didn’t win AGT, so what are we going to do next?” Just because they didn’t win here, doesn’t mean that they’re not going to win anywhere else. I guarantee you that out of those eight non-winners, you might just hear from a couple of ’em because they are just so good.

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On what hidden talents they would use for their auditions

David Foster: I’m an amateur magician, so I would try to do magic.

Anggun: I can imitate a snail! (Laughs)

Jay Park: I would probably wrestle a crocodile or something.

On what they would do if they won the show

Anggun: This is one of the biggest platforms in the world where we are reaching millions of people. So I think it’s a great opportunity to put my art in the spotlight and show the world what I’m capable of.

Jay Park: When I first made some money, I bought a couple of gifts for my parents because they’ve done a lot for me. So if I won, I’d keep working on my craft and focus on staying humble and grounded.

David Foster: I’ll probably use the prize money to pay one of my ex-wives (laughs). 

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On the kind of acts they hope to see in the next season

Anggun: We don’t have any comedians so I’d love to be able to see some comedians [on the show]. It’s one of the hardest things in the world to make people laugh and I think that humour is its own language. Finding that one person who has that comedic talent that can transcend culture, would be something I’m definitely going to look out for.

Jay Park: I would really just like to see a good rapper. There are a lot of great hip-hop rappers in Asia so I think it’s time to see a real solid rapper grace the AGT stage.

On advice for future auditionees of the show

David Foster: If you’ve seen the talent over the last three seasons and are afraid to enter, then you should not enter. Because if you’re fearless and really want to make it that badly, nothing will and can stop you.

Anggun: I agree!

Jay Park: I think seeing all the past contestants on the show should be something that will motivate you to work harder. If they are better than you, you’d know what the standard is and how to surpass it. It’s a sort of blueprint that should inspire and spur you, which makes the process a lot easier than those who competed without any benchmarks.

Photo credits: AXN Asia

Asia’s Got Talent Season Three Grand Finals: Results airs 11 April 2019 (Thursday) at 8.30pm on AXN!

There’s plenty to be excited this April as the K-pop world readies a lineup of exciting comebacks for fans around the world. Amongst the list of idol acts is the highly-anticipated return of global sensation BTS with their upcoming EP, Map of the Soul: Persona.

Having just dropped their comeback trailer two weeks ago, the septet is back with another surprise teaser for ‘Boy With Luv’, which is created in collaboration with American pop singer Halsey. Dubbed by BTS stans as the collaboration of the century, this project has been a long time coming since both parties first met at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards, where they showed us exactly what was it like to be #FriendshipGoals.

Although this long-awaited collaboration took two whole years to happen, fans have finally been rewarded for their patience with this partnership becoming a reality. Despite getting just about 46 seconds of visuals and just a hint of a tune, it’s more than enough for ARMYs to blow up social media in anticipation for the full music video release on 12 April, 7pm.

From Steve Aoki to Nicki Minaj to now Halsey, the boys have shown that Korean pop music isn’t just limited to Asia anymore. Together with the rapidly-growing size of the BTS ARMY, we’re pretty sure that the list of would-be collaborators will also continue to increase, ideally bringing the K-pop idol group closer to realising their Grammy dream.

In case you’ve missed it, here’s the first teaser video for BTS’ new track ‘Boy With Luv’ in collaboration with Halsey.

More related stories: BTS Just Teased A Possible Collaboration With Ed Sheeran And We’re Losing ItThe Official BTS x Mattel Dolls Are Here, And Fans Are DividedAll The BT21 Collaborations Every ARMY Should Add To Their BTS Collection

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