It’s a hot afternoon in Singapore, but we’re in the midst of someone effortlessly cool. Perhaps it’s the way he’s adorned in an orange silk shirt that looks like it can go from bed to runway. Maybe it’s how his platinum blonde hair glistens under sunlight by the window. Or maybe it’s because he’s simply Troye Sivan.

At all of 23-years-old, the YouTuber turned pop sensation is all grown up; embracing his brink of adulthood with fervour. Since his musical debut in 2015 – with the understated and introspective Wild EP and Blue Neighbourhood album – Troye Sivan has catapulted to teen pop royalty status alongside the likes of Lorde, Dua Lipa and Shawn Mendes, and became one of the bold faces at the forefront of an increasingly pro-LGBTQ pop culture generation.

On the aggressively sensual singles ‘My My My!’ and ‘Bloom’, Troye charges forth musically and visually with guns ablazing, declaring he’s got “his tongue between a lover’s teeth” and throwing aside inhibitions for devil-may-care dance moves. But just where was this inner confidence hiding all along? “Honestly, a lot of it comes from the fans. I meet the most incredible people every single day who just inspire me,” he says with an earnest grin. “You know, they’ll tell me their story of where they come from or what they’re going through, and I see them just like continuing on? And I really just pull from there.”

While it isn’t his first visit to Singapore – the Aussie lad previously visited with fellow YouTubers like Tyler Oakley as part of 2014’s YouTube Fan Fest – it’s the first time he’s dropping by as Troye Sivan, The Pop Star. His gradual ascent to superstardom unsurprisingly warranted a fan frenzy everywhere he went during his Singapore stint, which included an intimate fan signing session and album listening party.

But a very public bike ride around the city documented on his Instagram stories proved that fame hasn’t gotten to his head, instead embracing ‘normalcy’ as much as possible. In fact, he tells us that he much prefers to keep a low-profile (he cites RuPaul’s Drag Race and Thai food as the “perfect night in”) – an eyebrow-raising choice of lifestyle coming from one of music’s youngest and fastest-rising musicians. It’s a trait he shares with close friend Ariana Grande as well; their kinship and similar perspectives on growing up under the scrutiny of the public eye captured succinctly on their latest collaboration ‘Dance To This’ – a laidback anthem celebrating anti-celebrations.

It’s these offbeat choices that set Troye apart from his peers. Even his monochrome album cover for Bloom caused a minor buzz online as fans questioned its stark contrast to its album title. “Honestly, the first thing that popped into my head was that The Devil Wears Prada quote where [Miranda Priestly] is like, ‘Florals for spring, groundbreaking’ and I thought maybe I should try and steer away from the obvious,” he explains. “The album feels like such an accurate capture of where I’m at in my life [currently], and I really wanted to capture what I look like right now so that when I’m like 30, I can go back and listen to the album and be like, oh yeah, this was that time in my life.”

The songs off Bloom are equivalently honest and accurate as they flesh out Troye’s deepest thoughts in between the lines. On the melancholic ‘What A Heavenly Way To Die’, he longingly chimes “Because forever is in your eyes / But forever ain’t half the time”; while the feral confessional ballad ‘Animal’ holds nothing back, professing “An ode to the boy I love / I’ll die to care for you”.

It seems that Troye’s steadfast decision to live his complete truth has led to even more doors opening in what is already a tremendous year for him, which includes performing to a crowd of 60,000 alongside Taylor Swift, and countless magazine covers.

Come November, he would be in the middle of his anticipated trek around the world on the Bloom Tour, and marking his first adult foray into the world of film (well, he did play young Wolverine in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine). His blue eyes widen in excitement while describing his upcoming role: “The film is called Boy Erased. It’s about a boy who gets sent to a gay conversion therapy camp, where they basically try to turn kids straight. It’s based on a true story and I think the movie is going to be really, really powerful and important.”

It’s safe to say that 2018 is a year of growth for Troye Sivan, as he continues to tackle new projects in his ever-expanding resume. And in that growth lies the constant underlying message of acceptance and positive change, proving that he isn’t just in bloom; he’s full on blossoming into the perfect role model for the new generation.

Get Troye Sivan’s new album Bloom here.

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Here's Exactly What Went Down At HallyuPopFest 2018

12 Sep 2018 by Chew Hui Ling

From 7 to 9 September, more than 25,000 festival-goers packed into Singapore Indoor Stadium to catch their favourite idols at HallyuPopFest (HPF) 2018 – a first-of-its-kind music extravaganza that played host to over 100 K-pop stars, featuring a star-studded roster of powerhouse acts like Wanna One, NCT 127 and EXID alongside rising rookies like UNB, Gugudan and Dreamcatcher.

There was never a dull moment throughout the three-day festival, as fans were treated to an electrifying lineup of crowd-pleasing performances during the evening concerts. Although the audience was made up of varying fanbases from all walks of life, it was a heartwarming sight to see fans waving the glowing HPF lightsticks in unison to the beat – proving that music is truly universal.

And that was when we realised, this is really what K-pop’s all about.

Concert

Day 1

Kicking off the set was Korean-American heartthrob Eric Nam, whose showmanship was on full display as he delivered a solid performance of his latest hits ‘Potion’, ‘Don’t Call Me’ and ‘Honestly’. As the appointed emcee of the show, it came as no surprise how comfortable Eric was on stage – commanding complete attention with his flawless vocal delivery and effortless stage presence.

Just when we were left wanting more, VICTON took over with their infectious dancehall banger ‘Remember Me’. Although they are only two years into their debut, these hot-blooded lads certainly don’t lack in any department. Talent? Loads. Enthusiasm? Bring it on. We’re especially pleased with their well-timed ad-libs, which scored ’em plenty of charisma points in our books. Bonus: they also performed a killer cover of ‘Go Go’. BTS would be proud!

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Cheers then erupted as MOMOLAND got everyone hyped up with their infectious earworms ‘BBoom BBoom’ and ‘BAAM’. Despite being one member down due to Ahin’s leg injury, the ladies still put on an energetic performance for their fans. We sure hope Ahin recovers soon!

Slowing down the pace, ballad legend Huh Gak descended onto the fog-shrouded stage for an emotional rendition of ‘Hello’, leading the audience into a mass singalong session. Not only was it memorable to us, it became a night to remember for Huh Gak too. “Instead of giving you a gift, I feel like I’m receiving [it] from you instead,” he tearfully thanked fans at the end.

Apink

Huh Gak’s labelmates Apink were next, and they definitely didn’t disappoint. After performing their recent comeback track ‘I’m So Sick’, the girls proceeded to treat fans to a slew of throwback bops such as ‘FIVE’, ‘Mr. Chu’ and ‘No No No’. 

It was at this moment that all the Wannables in attendance whipped out their nable bongs, eagerly anticipating the boys of Wanna One to make their grand entrance. And boy, did they enter with a bang – captivating the crowd with high-energy numbers like ‘Energetic’, ‘Boomberang’ and ‘Light’. Even though some of the members were noticeably not in their best form due to their hectic schedule, their professionalism is nonetheless worthy of praise.

Day 2

The party was just getting started! The first two acts to open the show were up-and-comers ONF and Snuper, who were both performing in Singapore for the first time. Ever so eager to please, both boy bands went all out to impress with their addictive tunes and razor-sharp dance moves. At one point, the latter group leaped into the crowd’s crazed embrace just to get upclose and personal with fans – high fives, hugs and all. We’d by lying if we said we weren’t even a teeny bit jealous…

AOA

With songs as catchy as ‘Bingle Bangle’, ‘Excuse Me’ and ‘Heart Attack’, it’d be hard not to groove along to AOA. Our resident summer queens brought the atmosphere up a notch with their breathtaking visuals (don’t even get us started on how gorgeous Seolhyun looks IRL) and sizzling choreography.

EXID

Our favourite set of the night, EXID won us over with their girl crush vibes as they heated things up with their trademark sultry anthems ‘DDD’, ‘Hot Pink’ and ‘Up & Down’. This marked Solji’s return to the group after a two-year hiatus due to a serious thyroid disease, but the quintet showed no signs of losing any edge and came back stronger than ever.

Making a comeback as a full-fledged solo star, former SISTAR member Soyou showed that she’s more than capable of holding her own. Besides a special collaboration stage of ‘Some’ with labelmate Jeong Sewoon, the vocalist also surprised fans with her version of SISTAR classics like ‘Ma Boy’ and ‘I Swear’. All the feels!

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Performing for two nights straight had evidently taken a toll on Wanna One – Guanlin was seen with shades on, Daniel was spotted coughing throughout, and Jisung had to run backstage a couple of times – but that didn’t stop the 11-member group from giving their all for their closing set. Their setlist remained mostly similar to the previous day, but with the addition of slower numbers like ‘I’ll Remember’ and ‘I.P.U’, much to the delight of fans.

Day 3

The third and final day of HallyuPopFest boasted argubably the most well-rounded lineup of all. Although there was a mix of veteran and younger artistes, each group was stellar in their own right – nobody overshadowed anyone, and that’s a tough feat to achieve in such a large-scale festival.

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Firing up the crowd right from the get-go, UNB brought the house down with a brilliant remix of Alessia Cara’s ‘Stay’ followed by a seven-song set of fan favourites like ‘Feeling’, ‘Ride With Me’ and ‘Black Heart’. Perhaps it’s because of their tough beginnings (context: UNB is a project group made out of idol underdogs through the survival programme The Unit), but it’s obvious they poured their hearts into every ounce of their set, which made them all the more endearing.

At first glance, Heize may look like your typical ice princess – but beneath her cold exterior lies a gentle heart, and a big voice. Halfway through her set, she made a dash towards the extended stage and adorably cooed over the fanboards she spotted in the front rows. What a sweetheart!

NCT 127_(2)

NCT 127 brought some serious swagger to the stage with their blistering set of hip-hop anthems such as ‘Limitless’, ‘Firetruck’ and ‘Cherry Bomb’. The nine-member unit commanded the loudest cheers that evening, and deservedly so.

When it comes to BTOB, their live vocals are the real deal. No such thing as lip-syncing here; these guys can belt out a tune just as well as they can slay a move. Their musical ability aside, there’s no doubting their camaraderie either. When they were not busy fooling around with each other, they never failed to include Eunkwang in their conversations – and even asked Melodies to yell a collective “Fighting!” for their precious leader, who had just enlisted in military service.

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Finally, it was Taeyeon’s time to shine. Despite being a one-woman show without her Girls’ Generation members, just her soulful vocals was enough to fill the stadium. But she was never alone, as she was joined by SONEs in the crowd who were swaying their pink lightsticks and crooning along to every word of her five-song set.

Photo credits: H.A.H Entertainment

That’s a wrap for HallyuPopFest 2018. For those who missed out on the red carpet action, check out the highlights here. See you next year!

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8 Iconic Red Carpet Moments You Missed At HallyuPopFest 2018

11 Sep 2018 by Chew Hui Ling

It was three days of Hallyu madness at HallyuPopFest 2018. Arguably the largest (and most hyped-up) K-pop event of the year, the mega music extravaganza saw over 100 idols making their red carpet debut, including the likes of Wanna One, Taeyeon, NCT 127 and more.

Over the course of three jam-packed days from 7 to 9 September, thousands of devoted K-pop fans flocked to the Singapore Indoor Stadium to catch a glimpse of their favourite stars. Despite the sudden downpour, fans weren’t letting a little wet weather rain on their parade – all geared up with ponchos and umbrellas in tow.

Missed out on the red carpet action? Here are the top highlights.

#1 When Apink were out there serving looks

Apink Naeun HallyuPopFest Red Carpet
Credit: Shannon Ang

Decked out in eye-catching monochrome outfits, all eyes were on the Apink ladies as they strutted down the red carpet. Visual queen Naeun looked particularly stunning with her chic bow tie ensemble and sleek ponytail. What a look!

#2 When EXID cured our OT5 withdrawals

EXID HallyuPopFest Red Carpet
Credit: Shannon Ang

EXID’s back as OT5! Leader Solji made her long-awaited return to the group after taking an indefinite hiatus due to a serious thyroid disease in 2016, with HallyuPopFest being her first official schedule. The girls also revealed that a new album is in the works, so be sure to show ’em lots of support for their next comeback!

#3 When Wanna One showed up in sharp suits

Wanna One HallyuPopFest 2018 Red Carpet
Credit: H.A.H Entertainment

Despite looking noticeably exhausted, Wanna One still put on their best-dressed foot forward as they stepped out in matching suits. The 11-member group walked the red carpet twice, but somehow managed to miraculously conjure rain for both days which unfortunately cut the Q&A session short – but they made up for it with tons of fan service.

Just look at this heart-fluttering clip of Daniel grabbing the hands of a fan at the front row!

#4 When Dreamcatcher went all out with fan service

Dreamcatcher HallyuPopFest Red Carpet
Credit: H.A.H Entertainment

Dreamcatcher’s fan service game was hard to beat. From blowing kisses to dishing out finger hearts, the girls certainly weren’t shy about showing their love for their beloved fans.

#5 When Heize ran out to take a plushie from a fan

Heize HallyuPopFest Red Carpet
Credit: H.A.H Entertainment

Being the total sweetheart she is, Heize spotted a fan holding out an Olaf plush toy to her and ran over to take it. It might seem like a small gesture, but it sure made the day of this lucky fan!

#6 When Eric Nam serenaded us under the sweltering heat

Eric Nam HallyuPopFest Red Carpet
Credit: Shannon Ang

We’re not kidding when we say Eric Nam was the star of the show. The man appeared for all three days of the red carpet, gamely answering questions, doing little dances and even gifted us with a spontaneous acapella in this unbearable weather. Major respect!

#7 When UNB suavely dodged a question

UNB Jun HallyuPopFest Red Carpet
Credit: Shannon Ang

An oopsie moment happened when UNB was mistakenly asked about their comeback plans in September, to which the members appeared flustered as they had just concluded promotions for ‘Black Heart’ not long ago. Luckily, Jun quickly came to the rescue by swooping in to say that “it’s a secret” and hope fans would anticipate their next album.

#8 When NCT 127 graced us with their presence

NCT 127 HallyuPopFest Red Carpet
Credit: H.A.H Entertainment

NCT 127’s appearance on the red carpet was brief, understandably so as we learned that they had touched down in Singapore in the wee hours prior to their performance. And hey, we’re not complaining – just their presence alone was enough to please all the NCTzens in attendance, who showed up in full force with their neon green lightsticks.

Featured image: Shannon Ang

Feeing the post-concert withdrawals already? Check out our full coverage of HallyuPopFest 2018 here!

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22 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Noah Centineo

5 Sep 2018 by Jasmine Ong

It almost seems like yesterday when Noah Centineo took over our screens (and hearts) as the charming Peter Kavinsky in To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. The 22-year-old Netflix star has instantly become the Internet’s collective boyfriend, thanks to his dashing good looks and melt-worthy pupple smile. With his upcoming Sierra Burgess Is a Loser set to drop on 7 September, we’ve dug out some little-known facts you ought to know about the bae of-the-moment. 

#1 He was an honourary Disney alum.

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Before he became the perfect boyfriend of our dreams, young Noah was a familiar Disney face starring in minor roles on Austin & Ally, Shake It Up!, Jessie, and the Disney Channel Original movie, How to Build a Better Boy.

#2 His breakout role was in Freeform’s The Fosters.

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Credit: Freeform

When Jake T.Austin (original Jesus) left the show, Noah was recast as the new Jesus Adams Foster, who supposedly returned from a terrible car accident in the season 2 finale. This was also Noah’s first lead role in a television show!

#3 He was Camila Cabello’s love interest in ‘Havana’.

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Credit: harmonize-grande.tumblr.com

Anyone who has seen Camila Cabello’s ‘Havana’ music video would have probably been wondering just who was that fine-looking boy? Well, mystery solved – it was Noah! Though we didn’t really get to see his dance moves, we’re pretty sure we’ll see him Salsa one day.

#4 He’s a writer… of sorts.

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Credit: akindofemotionaltether.tumblr.com

Don’t we all love the moody, sensitive type? Lucky for us, Noah falls into that category as we’ve discovered that the sentimental lad uses writing as a catharsis for what he’s thinking or going through. Hey Noah, can you write us notes every day too?

#5 He’s a selfie pro.

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Credit: filmgifs.tumblr.com

If you’re following him on Instagram, you definitely know that our boy is no stranger to the camera. That’s why when asked for his best selfie advice, Noah states that his only go-to tip is getting the right lighting more than anything. Now we know why he looks so good in all his shots.

#6 He doesn’t slide into people’s DMs.

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If you think sliding into Noah’s DMs would be the fastest way to get noticed, think again. Noah mentioned that he thinks it’s a little strange to hit on people you’ve only ever seen photos of, so he prefers meeting somebody in real life instead. Not that we mind – besides, ain’t that more romantic?

#7 He’s completely sober.

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Just how much more perfect can he get? On top of being a total dreamboat, Noah doesn’t smoke, doesn’t drink and doesn’t do drugs. Instead, he uses yoga as an outlet to help him clear his mind and cope with his mental health. We stan a wholesome legend!

#8 He wasn’t cool in high school.

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Credit: heckyeahreactiongifs.tumblr.com

Sometimes t’s the dorky ones that steal our hearts, amirite? Unlike Peter Kavinsky, Noah never bothered about social status quos and was actually a goofy little kid who always sat at the back of class and cracked jokes all day, not listening to a thing the teacher was saying!

#9 He’s the hero we never knew we needed.

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Credit: bfostr.tumblr.com

Not all heroes wear capes! Knowing that he has a huge following, Noah hopes to use his social media platform and online presence to help fight social injustices.

#10 He likes to read.

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Credit: clarafarleybarrow.tumblr.com

There’s just something about a guy who reads. Noah recently shared that his best first date was reading by the pool with a girl he liked, and that reading is something he does whenever he needs a digital detox.

#11 He came to the rescue of a girl he didn’t know.

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Credit: Freeform

While at a party, a random stranger had approached him for help with a situation that involved a dude who was harassing her. Not asking any questions, the chivalrous Noah wasted no time in aiding her in getting the guy off her back. What a guy!

#12 He is a hopeless romantic.

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Credit: filmgifs.tumblr.com

As if he wasn’t already perfect enough, Noah is also a self-proclaimed hopeless romantic because he just loves anything to do with love. One of his most romantic gestures was when he surprised his then-girlfriend by taking back to her hometown, which she hadn’t returned in years.

#13 He’s a diehard rom-com fan.

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Here’s the 4-1-1 on six of Noah’s favourite romantic comedies you need to watch ASAP: 13 Going On 30, Failure To Launch, How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days, What Happens in Vegas, You’ve Got Mail and Serendipity (which is his ultimate favourite).

#14 His first meeting with Lana Condor was awkward AF.

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Credit: clarafarleybarrow.tumblr.com

Before they were our OTP, Lana had actually turned Noah down when he asked if she wanted to run lines together at the audition for To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. Oh boy…

#15 He got the scar on his face thanks to a doggy.

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Credit: Buzzfeed

When Noah was just 6 years old, a Mastiff had attacked him and left him with a face injury that eventually healed into the left scar we see now. He still looks gorgeous though!

#16 But he’s understanding about it – at 6 years old.

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Credit: Buzzfeed

Even after he got bit by the dog, little Noah knew not to blame the dog because he could tell that the dog didn’t understand what had just happened. When people asked if he wanted the dog to be put down, Noah protested it despite him being the one who was hurt.

#17 And he still loves dogs today.

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Despite it all, Noah still has a soft spot for dogs. Six weeks after the accident with the Mastiff, Noah’s parents got him a black Labrador German Shepard Rottweiler mix. And he has expressed that if he were to get another big dog, that’s even better!

#18 He’s a heavy sleeper.

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Credit: stiles-lydia.tumblr.com

Remember that lock-screen photo of Lana and Noah in real life? Well, it turns out, Noah enjoys cuddling because he sleeps… a lot. Whenever he gets free time on set, he would be out like a light and his fellow castmates would join him in a cuddle. Apart from Lana, he has also cuddled with Israel Broussard (who plays Josh Sanderson). How cute is that?

#19 He is BFF worthy.

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Credit: bu-ckys.tumblr.com

Lana revealed that during the filming of To All The Boys I’ve loved Before, she had texted Noah asking for some company after she received some bad news. Noah literally dropped everything he was doing and ran to her apartment where he swaddled her like a baby with a bunch of blankets, and cleaned her whole apartment afterwards. Can Noah just be our bestie already?

#20 His most-used emoji? The nerd face emoji.

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Credit: Freeform

Noah frequently uses the nerd face emoji – the one with glasses and buck teeth – because he thinks that he is awkward sometimes, and that’s his cute little way of saying, ‘Oh, I’m weird’ to whoever he is texting. Aww, Noah!

#21 His ideal girl…

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Noah has expressed that his ideal girl needs to be someone who takes care of herself and is honest. He really doesn’t like girls who doesn’t take care of their wellbeing, and is passive aggressive about their feelings.

#22 He would probably not date a fan.

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Sorry girls, it seems like our Internet boyfriend won’t be taking the relationship offline anytime soon. In a recent interview, Noah has unfortunately burst everyone’s bubbles that he wouldn’t date a fan as he feels that the relationship would be more of an infatuation with the character rather than the person. But hey – never say never, he could still change his mind!

Still can’t get enough of Noah Centineo? Rewatch To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before or catch Sierra Burgess Is A Loser on 7 September 2018 on Netflix!

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Homegrown singer-songwriter Beth Yap aka Bittymacbeth is not your typical pop star.

Talented, honest and fiercely independent, this young trailblazer is unafraid to speak up about important causes close to her heart. Just take the launch-cum-benefit show in support of her latest single ‘Trace (Comfortable Sympathy)’ for instance, which she used as a platform to raise funds for an anti-human trafficking charity organisation – all while celebrating fellow females in the music scene with up-and-comers Marian Carmel and Kyla T on the performance bill.

In an industry that Lady Gaga infamously dubbed a “F***ing boys’ club”, the Berklee College of Music undergraduate doesn’t hold back on sharing her struggles dealing with the rampant sexism as a female musician currently based in Boston – on top of being Asian and the stereotypes that come with it. But instead of letting it get to her, she channels the negativity into what she does best: music with a cause. And if you’re not already listening to her, you may want to sit down for this.

Read on for our full interview with Bittymacbeth where she opens up about breaking gender norms and how she hopes to recover humanity through music.

Hi Beth! It’s been two years since you last released new music. What have you been up to in between?

Shortly after finishing up my last album Beauty For Ashes, I started school at Berklee in the beginning of 2017 thus I’ve mostly been trying to adjust to the new environment. You get exposed to a lot of fresh talents here, so I guess I was also trying to teach myself how to see music with a renewed perspective. Other than that, I’ve been working hard on writing new material and ‘Trace’ is kind of the first project in this new series that I came up with around the start of my Berklee journey.

You’ve co-produced ‘Trace’ with Korean producer DAMYE. How did this collaboration come about?

I think it’s really important to find the right people to work with; who believe in me and my music. For DAMYE, I met him at Berkley because we happen to go to a lot of the same jams. He then asked if I could help him with a song he was trying to pitch to a Korean indie label, so I did – and he got signed! He was gonna drop out of Berkley so I suggested working on something together before he leaves, hence ‘Trace’. 

‘Trace’ is the first single of the four-song suite you’re working on. Can we assume we’re expecting three more collaborative tracks to come?

Yeah! The upcoming collaborations are going to be similar in the sense that I’ll be working with a producer to elevate the production on songs I’ve written. The next release will be with an American producer and it’s probably the poppiest track I have right now. Then there’ll be something that’s a lot more jazzy and chill with an Australian producer, before ending it off with a funky, R&B tune that I’ve worked on with an Italian producer. It’s a departure from the organic, acoustic vibes in Beauty For Ashes, and moving towards a more produced sound that showcases different faucets of my musical influences.

Among the four tracks, which would you say is the closest to your heart?

Probably the last one with the Italian producer. Between Berkley and the single launch, a lot of things happened in my personal life – I’ve lost friends and missed out on big opportunities because of what I suppose were my principles. I had all these questions about how my life would have been any different if I hadn’t done this or that. I spent time wondering about that a lot and for a while I was very bitter about things. So I wrote this song to remind myself to not dwell on the past and allow my experiences to be a standpoint for growth instead.

What kind of message do you hope to spark with your music?

That there are a lot of difficult things we have to go through, and that it’s important to acknowledge each other’s challenges and do whatever’s in your own power to help them out. Especially when you’re in a place of more privilege, you have a greater responsibility to make things better for others. Through these songs, I want people to know that they have a listening ear. I may not be able to fully understand their situation, but I can empathise with what they’re going through.

Is that why you came up with the idea of linking your single launch to a benefit show?

I think a lot of us are unaware of the trafficking issue in Singapore. People think we’re totally clean, but what they don’t realise is that trafficking works in three ways – a country can be a source country, a transition country, or a destination country. If Myanmar is the source country for trafficked victims, then Singapore can be either a transition or a destination country for them. It happens a lot with domestic helpers and construction workers, and we’re enabling it to happen.

If I were to do a launch for ‘Trace’, I want to be able to help in a tangible way – thus partnering up with a charity organisation to raise awareness about this issue. I feel like the first step is for Singaporeans to be aware so they can ask the right questions when they sense any suspicious activity.

During the launch party, you also took the opportunity to feature fellow female artistes. How important is it to you that we celebrate women in the industry?

Sexism in the music industry has become more apparent to me when I was in the US. I used to attend these recording sessions, and bands that are made of only males were more likely to question me, a female, about their score than the other male players. I’m sure everyone makes mistakes, but they would just come down more harshly on me.

A college prof told me this story. The Boston Symphony Orchestra were conducting blind auditions as they had a big problem of male to female player ratio. Despite people going behind a thick curtain to play, it still didn’t improve the ratio. Someone then suggested getting them to remove their shoes before going on stage – and after that, the ratio became almost one to one. Because people just had these subconscious biases after hearing the sound of their shoes and judging them based on the gait of their walk. It was then that I realised, women do it to other women too. So I feel like we just need to remind one another that we all have something to contribute and to give each other equal opportunities.

Have you ever thought about advancing your music career in the US?

I’ve thought about it, but with a more developed music industry, it also comes with more competition. To be completely frank, being Asian doesn’t help either. In the US, Asians tend to be in the back-end roles and although they are doing well for themselves in their respective areas, it’s much harder for them to be a recording artiste. Besides, Singapore is a nice gateway to other countries – a lot of my peers are able to tour regionally and internationally without being based overseas. The community here is also a lot more tight-knit because everyone knows each other so it’s much easier to get help.

Lastly, what do you hope to achieve in this new phase of your career?

I’m working towards rebranding myself and coming into my own as an all-rounded artiste, be it songwriting, performing or producing. I started out as an indie one-woman band, but now I want to move towards a bigger sound with a production team – in a way that’s contextualised for the new generation of audiences while still remaining true to my musical self.

Listen to Bittymacbeth’s newest single ‘Trace (Comfortable Sympathy)’ prod. DAMYE here.

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