5 Up-And-Coming Local Acts To Put On Your Radar In 2019

17 Jan 2019 by Chew Hui Ling

2018 has been a stellar year for local music. While we’ve got a fair share of established acts making a name for themselves, they’ve also paved the way for a new crop of young, promising talents to enter the scene. Meet these new kids on the musical block who are poised to shake up your playlists – you can thank us later when you’re able to say you’ve heard of ’em first.



J.M3, otherwise known as Jamie Lau, is not your typical rapper. A rebel at heart, the rap diva infuses an enthralling blend of rhythmic grooves and lyrical poetry into her discography. Have a listen to her newest earworm ‘TRY’ – a self-empowerment anthem that we never knew we needed – and let her music speak for itself.

Fariz Jabba

Fariz Jabba

The 22-year-old bilingual rap prodigy is undoubtedly the next big artiste to watch. With his penchant for fusing elements of hip-hop and R&B, Fariz Jabba has been making waves in the scene with his distinctive, genre-defying sound. His latest music video for ‘Ape Sia’ is testament to his rising popularity, chalking up over a million views since its release last August.



Some of you might be familiar with the homegrown songbird, who has been steadily earworming her way onto the top of the charts with her addictive tunes. But it wasn’t only until recent years that she really took charge of her own music, trading her indie roots for a more stylistic approach to contemporary pop – and the formula works like a charm. Just take her latest bop ‘Talking Insane’ for instance, which easily chalked up half a million streams on Spotify within the first three months of its release. Look out for her upcoming debut EP slated to drop in March!

Yung Raja

Yung Raja

No stranger to the hip-hop circuit, the ‘Mustafa’ rapper shot to fame with his hugely popular remixes of Gucci Gang’ and ‘Bartier Cardi’. Despite finding viral success, the self-made star has been hard at work honing his songwriting chops and even recently dabbled in acting (you might recognise him from local zombie flick Zombiepura). A rapper, songwriter and now a budding actor – what else can the man not do?

Ysa Yaneza

Ysa Yaneza

If you have yet to check out Ysa Yaneza, drop everything and hit her up stat. Not only does the millennial pop powerhouse serve up some of the most thought-provoking tracks we’ve heard in today’s digital age (her sizzling singles ‘Tea’ and ‘IRL (If You Really See Me)’ are proof), she also doesn’t shy away from lyrical themes such as social media, online dating culture, as well as LGBTQ. Oh, and did we mention she’s got a nod of approval from Troye Sivan? Homegirl’s definitely going places.

More related stories: Why Local Singer-Songwriter Bittymacbeth Is The Girl Power Icon We NeedLocal Production Studio Reveals What Really Goes On Behind The Scenes In The Music Industry 

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After the brief preview of Avengers: Endgame in December, Marvel Studios has impressed once more with the debut teaser for yet another eagerly anticipated hit, Spider-Man: Far From Home. As with most Marvel Cinematic Universe trailers, Easter eggs and subtle references are a given – so here’s our breakdown of some nitty-gritty details you might have missed. Ready to get your spidey senses tingling?

#1 Aunt May is super chill about Spider-Man

Credit: giphy

Based off the ending of Spider-Man: Homecoming, we all know Aunt May is aware that Peter is the web-slinging superhero. Unlike most aunts who’d start fretting about the dangers the job entails, she’s the complete opposite. Not only does she embraces her nephew’s alter-ego, but also partners up with him for a fundraiser. Where else can you find a cooler aunt than this?

#2 Wherefore art thou, Tony Stark?

Credit: captainsamerica.tumblr.com

Blink, and you might just miss it. Instead of a signed cheque from Tony Stark, we see Pepper Potts’ signature. Now, we are unclear if this happens before or after Infinity War so it could mean two things: either Tony is no longer with us, or this is just part of Pepper’s duty as Stark Industry’s CEO. We hope it’s the latter.

#3 I remember you, Spider-Man

Credit: Marvel Studios

Peter is back at his favourite Delmar’s Deli which, if you remember, got accidentally blown up in the first film. We particularly liked how they paid homage to the prequel with the newspaper clippings detailing the events along with a framed photo of Delmar with Spider-Man.

#4 A nod to Spider-Man’s first appearance in a comic book

Credit: giphy

What caught our attention here is not just Tom Holland’s adorable puzzled expression in his passport photo, but also the reveal of Peter Parker’s date of birth. Not surprisingly, this date holds great significance as it is Marvel Studios’ subtle way of acknowledging the day that Spider-Man made his debut appearance in the pages of a comic book.

#5 Paying tribute to Uncle Ben

Credit: nochillrogers.tumblr.com

If you pay close enough attention, you’ll notice that the suitcase Peter uses for his trip bears the embossed initials ‘BFP’ in-between the handle. Similar to the idea behind the old suit Peter wore in Homecoming, this is yet another clever homage to his late Uncle Ben.

#6 The new building

Credit: theavengers.tumblr.com

Does that building behind Spidey look familiar? Previously owned by Tony Stark before being sold off to an unknown buyer in the first film, we see the former Avengers Tower currently being remodeled, which has us thinking that this might be a foreshadow to the immersion of two possible stand-ins: Norman Osborn’s OsCorp, or the Fantastic Fours’ Baxter building. As there had been mention of plans to integrate Fantastic Four in the MCU, perhaps this might be how they get re-introduced to Marvel fans?

#7 Mysterio who?

Credit: Comic Book Movie

For the uninitiated, Mysterio is one of the oldest and most iconic arch-enemies in the Spider-verse who was formerly known as Quentin Beck, a movie special effects technician. His appearance in the sequel not only means a highly-anticipated showdown, but it may also follow a theme first introduced by the Vulture who sought justice and reprieve for regular working folks amidst the rise of superheroes.

#8 Is that Maria Hill?

Credit: giphy

Despite the ambiguous timeline and how Avengers: Infinity War left off, it was quite a surprise when we saw the appearance of Nick Fury. While we cannot confirm or deny if the person fighting alongside him in the trailer is Maria Hill, actress Cobie Smulders (who portrays the former Deputy Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.) did assure fans that she will appear in the film sans exact details.

Rewatch the trailer again to see if you can spot these details! Spider-Man: Far From Home is slated for US release on 15 July 2019.

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For K-pop star Alexander Lee (or better known as Xander), Singapore is essentially his second home. A scroll through his Instagram would reveal several photos of the former U-KISS member’s recent trip to our sunny shores for tvN Asia’s original production Wok The World, where he can be seen indulging in Singaporean delights only a true foodie will know – laksa, hotpot, durian… you name it.

And if that’s not enough to prove exactly how Singaporean the chap is, he even went ahead to describe himself as our very own ice kachang (think Korean bingsu with a local twist) when we posed the question, explaining that he’s very much like “a mix of ingredients” because he “grew up in a multicultural household”. With his love for Singaporean cuisine, flair for languages (don’t even get us started on his accent – he speaks Singlish better than most of us!) and easygoing personality, we can definitely see why he was chosen to be the show host of Wok The World.

Sitting down with us for a quick interview before the Wok The World cooking competition held on 5 January at Adventure Cove Waterpark, we had Xander talk about all things food – favourite local dishes, ultimate guilty pleasure and more.


“Whenever I come to Singapore, I’d always have to have bak ku teh, chicken rice… and durian (laughs). It’s either you love it or hate it, but I love durian!”

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“We [Nichkhun and ASTRO’s Jin Jin] didn’t really work together this time round as we went to different countries, but we did chat about it. With Nichkhun, we were together on One Night Food Trip as well. I think tvN really knows how to choose people who are easy to work with (laughs).”

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“I learned how to use the terms correctly. Chef Alvin does a lot of shows so he would point out my mistakes in situations whenever I misuse a certain word. For instance, I would accidentally comment that the sauce is so ‘tasteless’, and he’d be like, just use the word ‘subtle’!”


“I have a sweet tooth so I like to eat a lot of desserts. My ultimate guilty pleasure would have to be ice cream. I can finish a tub of rocky road ice cream in one setting, while watching Netflix!”

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“I would say, balut. It’s a Filipino dish that contains a duck embryo inside an egg. I get goosebumps every time I see it. It’s yummy, but wait till you see the duck feathers. I cannot. Maybe I’ll eat it if I’m blind…”


“I would usually say I’m a bibimbap or an ice kachang. I’m pretty much a mix of everything because I grew up in a multicultural household. [Teenage: Why didn’t you mention Hong Kong food since you’re born in Hong Kong?] Well, because HK food isn’t exactly multicultural (laughs). I like dimsum, but it’d sound so weird if I said I’m like a dimsum or char siew fan!”

Can’t get enough of Xander? Check out part 2 of our interview below, where we got him to try out Singapore childhood snacks!

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Marvel fans in Singapore are in for yet another treat! Come 14 February 2019, the stars of the highly-anticipated Captain Marvel are set to make an appearance at a special Fan Event at Marina Bay Sands.

Though it seems like just yesterday when we welcomed the OG Avenger Robert Downey Jr. and his companions to our sunny island, the stage is now set for local fans to get upclose and personal with the new super-heroine in town. Actress Brie Larson, alongside her Hollywood co-stars Samuel L. Jackson, Gemma Chan and the film’s directors, Anne Boden and Ryan Fleck will be making their way to our shores to greet fans as well as to promote this upcoming addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Similar to previous Marvel fan events at Marina Bay Sands, it’s free admission and will be held at Sands Expo and Convention Centre. Due to capacity limitations at the venue however, fans are required to pre-register to enter. Registration for the tickets will begin on 10 February at Sands Expo and Convention Centre, B2, Hall F at 10am, and continue to run until all the tickets have been fully redeemed. To get your hands on the coveted tickets, you will need to have a valid Marina Bay Sands or SISTIC ticketing account that is mandatory for registration. If you do not have an account, you can sign up for one here.

Here are some important guidelines to follow before you head down:

  • You need to have a valid Marina Bay Sands or SISTIC ticketing account.
  • Remember to bring a photo ID (NRIC or Passport) along with you when you register.
  • Tickets are issued on a first-come-first-served basis so be sure to get there early if possible.
  • You are only allowed to register for yourself and not on behalf of anyone else.
  • Tickets are strictly non-transferable as ID verification checks might occur during the day of the event, and organizers are allowed to deny entry to such ticketholders.
  • Members of the public will be subjected to security checks upon entry.
  • Although there is no age limit for the event, children below the age of 13 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

As this will be the only Asian stop for this promotional tour, don’t miss the chance to rub shoulders with the cast and snag a selfie with Captain Marvel herself!

For more information on the Captain Marvel Fan Event, head over to www.MarinaBaySands.com/CaptainMarvel

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K-pop songstress Taeyeon has always been known to wear her heart on her sleeve, especially when it comes to being honest with her fans. Halfway into the set at her first ever solo gig on our sunny shores, the Girls’ Generation member stood beneath the lone spotlight, looking at the audience like she wasn’t quite sure what to say.

“I don’t really like to talk about the past,” she said to the crowd of adoring fans, visibly emotional as her voice began to break. “There are many things waiting for me so there’s no time to think about the past, because what has passed won’t come back again, right?” She laughed, “I’m so emotional today, maybe because it’s the last concert [of the tour].”


Despite Taeyeon’s candid display of emotions, we’d like to point out that never once did she let her feelings get the better of her. Instead, she channelled her grief into what she does best: singing her heart out in a performance that was equal parts powerful and emotive. Of course, fans were nothing but supportive as they cheered her on. Her initial nerves quickly dissipated as she let her polished vocals take over, snapping back into professional mode as if nothing had happened.

After powering through the rest of the songs, she addressed the crowd during the encore: “There’s a New Year’s resolution I made. I wanted to make this year one where I could experiment and try a lot of things. But now that I think about it, I want to spend more time learning how to better control my emotions and make a ‘me’ that I can be happier with.”


“I’m a bit fearful because I feel like I’m drifting here and there, but I think that this is also an aspect that I have to overcome,” she continued with a warm smile on her face. “Many of you are here for the one person that is me, and I feel the responsibility to work hard and become a better version of myself. A lot of fans say they would listen to my songs whenever they have a hard time. I want all of us to be happy.”

On that night, we saw her as more than just the kid leader from South Korea’s biggest girl group. Beyond her glitzy costumes and elaborate stage theatrics, it was Taeyeon in her rawest, most vulnerable self. Very few singers would dare to bare their hearts in front of thousands, much less in a K-pop concert where dialogues are usually rehearsed and passed off as time-filling banter.

We don’t know about you, but that just makes us love her even more.

Photo credits: IMC Live Global

More related stories: A Night Of Healing At IU’s 10th Anniversary Concert In SingaporeRed Velvet Successfully Powers Through Their Redmare Concert In Singapore

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