We’re gearing up for yet another K-pop showdown with some of our favourite boy bands going head-to-head on the charts. From Produce 101 debuts to unit comebacks to solo stages, the upcoming July/August lineup is shaping up to be an intense one. Who will come out on top?
BATTLE OF THE BOY BANDS:
NU’EST W (25 Jul) vs Wanna One (7 Aug): 2017 is a major turning point for the final 11 of Produce 101 (PD101) Season 2, who are all set to debut as Wanna One aka the male version of I.O.I. Proving themselves as a rising force to be reckoned with, these monster rookies have been bagging endorsement deals, crashing ticketing servers and breaking album pre-sale records – an impressive feat for a group that hasn’t even made their debut!
Meanwhile, Pledis ‘trainees’ Jonghyun, Dongho and Minki have returned to NU’EST and will be making a comeback with Aron under the 4-member subgroup NU’EST W without Wanna One member Minhyun – in which the ‘W’ stands for ‘Waiting for Minhyun’ (we’re not crying). However, both groups may not be able to bump into each other in music shows for now as NU’EST W is only releasing a special single album before their full comeback in the later part of the year, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed for a teary reunion on stage when that happens!
UPDATE: Stream NU’EST W’s new single ‘If You’ here!
Winner (4 Aug) vs B.A.P (Mid Aug): Winner and B.A.P are two groups who have been consistently putting out good music, and one thing’s for sure: your playlist’s about to get lit this coming month! Winner was recently spotted shooting a new music video abroad, while B.A.P is reportedly still in its preparation stages. The latter will be making their way here for their2017 World Tour Party Baby Singapore Boom on 18 August though, so perhaps we can expect the six-piece to drop a sneak preview of their upcoming single?
BATTLE OF THE DUOS:
Youngmin & Donghyun (27 Jul) vs Yongguk & Sihyun (31 Jul): PD101 may be over, but things are just starting to heat up for two very special pairs. Fans of the show have much to cheer for this week, as Brand New Music’s Youngmin and Donghyun (MXM) and Choon’s Yongguk and Sihyun will be making their unit debuts alongside each other. Is it just us or are we already sensing some quality ‘broduce’ moments waiting to happen behind the scenes?
JJ Project (31 Jul) vs VIXX LR (Late Aug): When it comes to iconic duos of K-pop, who’d ever forget the pre-debut days of GOT7’s JB and Jinyoung in all their JJ Project glory? Interestingly enough, JJ Project debuted in the same month as VIXX (they even appeared on MTV Diary together!) – and the twosome will most likely be rubbing shoulders with VIXX LR’s Ravi and Leo again come August. It’s no secret that the two groups are known to be really close with one another, so we can’t wait to see ’em up to their usual shenanigans!
BATTLE OF THE ONE-MAN POWERHOUSES:
Kim Samuel (2 Aug): Anyone who’s an avid devotee of PD101 would find it hard to dispute the fact that Kim Samuel is one heck of a talented lad, so to say that we’re still salty about his elimination from the top 11 lineup would be an understatement. Turns out that it’s a blessing in disguise as our golden boy is given the chance to debut after all – his upcoming mini album Sixteen already looks set for success, backed up with a string of collaborations including Changmo, Maboos and former I.O.I member Chungha. Let’s walk on the flower path, Muel!
Taeyang (Mid Aug) vs Kikwang (Late Aug) vs Taemin (Late Aug): It seems like BIGBANG, Highlight and SHINee have a lot in common – apart from being the resident dance machines in their respective groups, these veteran charmers will also be pitting against each other on the solo front. With their uncanny knack for serving bops after bops, it’s safe to say you’re in for one epic chain of performances!
Whose comeback are you looking forward to the most? Comment your faves down below!
As if dominating the music industry isn’t enough, there’s a growing trend of musicians shifting their attention away from the vocals, and into their acting chops. From movie cameos to fronting an entire television series, we recap 10 memorable pop star-turned-actor moments – and totally judge ’em while at it.
Rihanna – Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Queen of bops and overall badassery, Riri is no stranger to the big screen – although her acting debut in 2012’s Battleship well… tanked. But being plagued by negative reviews and even a Razzie Award ‘win’ for Worst Supporting Actress (thanks to her role in Battleship) won’t stop the Barbados beauty from pursuing film. Her voice role in 2015’s Home was painfully forgettable and her stab at a serious stint in TV’s Bates Motel was short-lived. But perhaps her most recent appearance in sci-fi adventure flick Valerian as a shapeshifter – cheekily playing off a myriad of different music video-worthy costumes – would mark a step in the right direction towards a proper acting career. Fingers crossed.
Harry Styles – Dunkirk
You’re probably used to having your heart flutter at the sight of Harry Styles by now, although it’s limited to watching his music videos and live performances. But Directioners will have one more reason to swoon over his brooding charm. The former 1D member beat out thousands of other hopefuls to bag a role in Christopher Nolan’s latest war-thriller – and for good reason. Harry’s acting shines among his fellow British comrades in the film, making us root for his survival just as hard as we do for his music releases.
Nick Jonas – Kingdom
We first saw a fresh-faced Nick Jonas waaaay back in Camp Rock, but he’s built up a solid acting resumé since then too, aside from his equally impressive singing career. Whether it’s guesting on TV dramas like Smash, Hawaii Five-0 or Scream Queens, or playing a MMA fighter in Kingdom, Nick has constantly proven to be a knockout success on the small screen. What’s next for the heartthrob? A role in the hotly anticipated Jumanji sequel later this year, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle – can’t wait!
Ed Sheeran – Game of Thrones
Outrage. Shell-shocked. Disappointed. These were just some of the terms expressed by die-hard fans of HBO’s Game of Thrones upon witnessing the familiar redhead show up in the series’ latest season. Ed Sheeran is by far not the first musician to appear on the show (members of Snow Patrol and Coldplay have popped up too!), but it definitely was the most controversial. Netizens savagely tore apart his singing cameo, citing that it merely served as a distraction from the show’s tone. The backlash seemingly even caused Ed Sheeran to delete his Twitter account – although he denied any relation and has since returned to the social media platform. We’ll be singing a different tune this November however, when our favourite Teddy tears the roof down at the Singapore Indoor Stadium for two nights.
Janelle Monaé – Moonlight / Hidden Figures
When you appear in two films nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards (with one winning) in a single year, a singing career can wait. R&B and soul songstress Janelle Monaé’s foray into acting might not attract as many headlines as the rest of her peers on this list, but that’s not to say her performances deserve any less praise. Appearing in both Moonlight and Hidden Figures, her critically acclaimed and emotionally charged portrayals truly established her serious caliber for both fields of music and acting – marking the rise of a new actress to watch.
Park Hyung-sik – Strong Woman Do-Bong Soon
Fans of ZE:A were undoubtedly delighted when Park Hyung-sik carved out an acting career of his own in The Heirs and Hwarang: The Poet Warrior Youth. But it’s this year’s runaway success Strong Woman Do Bong-soon that the budding actor truly shines as a chaebol – with a twist. Flipping the typical script on its head, it made for hilarious results watching Park Bo Young play heroine to the rescue, to Hyung-sik’s damsel in distress. Needless to say, we just can’t wait to see what he has in store for our screens next!
Lady Gaga – American Horror Story: Hotel
To be honest, Lady Gaga has always been kinda scary. From her spine-tingling album covers for The Fame Monster to her blood-soaked ‘Paparazzi’ performance at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, Gaga always had a penchant for the creep factor. Which made her the perfect candidate to play The Countess in American Horror Story: Hotel, where she let her freak flag fly, slicing victims’ necks open while still looking red-carpet ready at the same time. Although her performance won rave reviews and even a Golden Globe award, we’ll have to wait till her lead role in 2018’s musical drama motion picture A Star Is Born to fully determine if she’s not just a one-trick pony.
Suzy – Uncontrollably Fond
When miss A’s Suzy is not dancing up a storm in a trio, the actress has also lighted up drama serials with her pretty face and commendable acting – such as in 2016’s Uncontrollably Fond. While some were unfortunately… not fond of her performance, citing “blank expressions” and “shallow delivery” as shortcomings, others were more forgivable with comments that highlighted her improvement from Dream High. Time will tell if she continues her progress towards becoming a serious actress, with a leading role in romance-drama While You Were Sleeping up next.
Adam Levine – Begin Again
2013’s gem of a film Begin Again gave us some of our favourite stars in minor, charming roles (James Corden, Hailee Steinfeld), but none more memorable than Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine’s turn as an obnoxious musician – possibly a nod to his charmingly cocky persona he exudes as a coach on The Voice? And while his acting was stretched minimally, who could forget the Academy Award-nominated radio hit ‘Lost Stars’ that resulted from the film? We’ll next get to see Adam flex his comedic muscle in upcoming movies Fun Mom Dinner and The Clapper.
Christina Aguilera – Burlesque
Adam Levine’s fellow The Voice coach Christina Aguilera has also achieved some silver screen success herself. Debuting in a dual acting and singing role in Burlesque, the vocal powerhouse shimmied and sashayed her way into our hearts as the film’s leading character – and critics agreed. The film and its accompanying soundtrack garnered positive responses and was recognised for expanding Christina’s skills as an actress, ultimately resulting in her upcoming roles in The Emoji Movie and Zoe. A triple threat that sings, dances and acts, what can’t Xtina do?
Who’s your favourite singer-turned-movie star? Sound off in the comments below!
Bursting with bright colours and exuberance, Falling Feathers’ (or better known by his real name JJ to some) brand of unapologetically mainstream pop is making him the next local music name on the brink of a breakthrough. And with a new single release and a major label signing to Warner Music Singapore in tow, Falling Feathers is set for takeoff. We speak to the passionate musician to uncover his metamorphosis.
Hi JJ! Tell us how you came up with the moniker Falling Feathers?
I used to play in a pop punk band, JJ and the Paperplanes. When we decided to split up, I wanted to come up with a name [for my music] and the name JJ is already taken up by JJ Lin. The idea of ‘Falling Feathers’ is like how animals shed their skin, and how birds shed feathers and grow new ones. So the idea of Falling Feathers is [to symbolise] the constant growth of getting stronger and better – the cycle of improvement.
So… if you were any type of bird, which would you be?
I love flamingos! When I was younger, I was always fascinated by how they can stand on one leg for so long and their feathers are really vibrant, so I really like that.
Congratulations on signing with Warner! What was the process like getting signed to a major label?
It was a very surprising thing that happened because when I started Falling Feathers, I just wanted to make pop music and to be able to relate to more people. This signing came as a surprise but I’m really glad this happened because the Warner folks are way more experienced than me. When I first started out, I had to learn everything myself by talking to people who have done [music] or googling how the industry works.
What do you think is the biggest difference in your artistry, transitioning from JJ and the Paperplanes to Falling Feathers?
For JJ and the Paperplanes, it was pop-punk, and the music I really liked back then. I listened to a lot of Anberlin, We the Kings and Mayday Parade. Whatever I was listening to, I just wanted to get friends together and make music. I think Falling Feathers is more… “legit”, if that’s the right word to use. I told myself “Okay, I’m going to write palatable pop music that can relate to people my age or teenagers”. I think the working process and the way I execute the music is different too, in terms of doing it myself [now]. When you are doing [music] in a group of friends, you’re able to work off each other. Even though I have support now from friends and from Warner, it’s still pretty much a solo project so no one is responsible for my music except for myself. That gives me more to work on and to be more confident in putting out good material.
You’ve opened for bands such as Mayday Parade and Before Your Exit. What would your first reaction be if Warner surprised you and said “Hey, you’re going to be opening for Ed Sheeran in Singapore”?
(Laughs) Firstly, I think Ed Sheeran is a bit too far away [from being able to open for]… He is an artiste that I really respect. He’s one of those people whose story is really “from rags to riches”. Even before he got signed, he has been trying to make it for the longest time and the perseverance is what I really respect. How genuine he comes across in his music, writing stuff about personal experiences and being able to put that into context to become one of the biggest pop stars of today is really cool. If that happens (opening for Ed Sheeran), it’d be dope.
You’ve played a ton of shows already so early in your career. What’s been your favourite gig or festival to play at so far?
Definitely opening for Mayday Parade – it was an emotional rollercoaster. It was one of my first gigs as Falling Feathers actually. The promoters were kind enough to let me showcase my music in front of a huge audience. It was nerve wrecking because the audience was a few thousand people. And many things happened during the gig – the band’s flight got delayed, then they announced that the band may not be able to make it [on stage], and the people queuing outside were getting pissed. Naturally I was nervous because [as an opening act], I would be the first performer they’d see when they walked in. What was great was that the crew and organisers there comforted me and told me to just do my thing. They finally announced that Mayday Parade was going to do an acoustic set. So when I first came on stage, I thought they were either going to throw rotten eggs, or they were going to cheer. But luckily, there was no rotten eggs – people were really supportive and shouted encouraging words from the crowd. It was a really heartwarming show.
Tell us more about your new single ‘Hush’, how did this song come about?
The idea of ‘Hush’ is just like how love songs go. The best part about ‘Hush’ is the creative process and how I made the song. It was a collaboration with Zie (from Disco Hue) who’s doing really well and a senior who I really respect.
Credit: Aloysius Lim/Warner Music Singapore
What’s it like working with a fellow musician (Zie from Disco Hue), first for the ‘Perfect’ video and now for ‘Hush’? Will we see a collab with the full band in the works, or any other local musicians soon?
Hopefully! We’re working on some stuff [currently]. I think collaborations are always great, because collaborating means you’re learning from each other and everyone has different strengths. Like Zie is really good at synth production, so I really learnt a lot from him. Even the video stuff, he really inspired me to just go out and direct a music video. There’s nothing to lose, so just do it.
You’re gonna be doing some school tours soon. What kind of student were you back in school?
I was definitely one of those students that didn’t study. I was in Zhonghua Secondary School and it was a good school where people really studied – I didn’t know how I managed to get in! Every year, parents would be called in and the comments [for me] were always “Why this boy never study one” because I was just jamming out to music and playing basketball all the time. Studying wasn’t a priority for me back then. I really wanted to get into Singapore Polytechnic’s Music and Audio Technology course because it was the only place where I could study what I am interested in, so I decided to really study. Thankfully I managed to get into the course.
When I was going to SP and recording, it was really what I wanted to do. There was nothing holding me back and I was more motivated. When everyone in the course was a musician or wanted to do something in music, it’s fun to go to school and it was less of a chore.
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Most local music is either punk rock or indie music. What are the challenges of being a mainstream pop act in Singapore and how are you overcoming those obstacles?
The reason why I decided to do mainstream pop is because not many people are doing it here. So I wanna step into it and try it out. I think the difficult part about doing pop music is that the biggest artistes in the world are making really good quality music and videos and the fact that artistes like me are putting out music out on Spotify against all these amazing global acts – that really makes me more motivated to match up their standard. There are so many great pop acts – Katy Perry, Ed Sheeran, etc. Music in general is not just the writing and the production, it’s a super steep learning curve to learn everything else too. Because of the fact that I’m an independent artiste, I have to do many things myself, even though now there’s help from Warner. I think that’s the tough part, to always seek to improve and to stay on par with everyone else.
What’s next for Falling Feathers?
There’s going to be an EP coming out next year, it’s called Pipe Dreams and I really like the concept of the EP. It’s a series of songs I put together with an idea of Falling Feathers and this “pipe dream”, about how it might be impossible to achieve certain things, but if you never try you’ll never know. There’s definitely going to be more collaborations and more shows too. Ignite Music Festival up next!
Listen to Falling Feathers’ new single ‘Hush’ now HERE. The music video premieres this Thursday, 27 July 2017 at 12:30pm on his official YouTube channel.
For more about Falling Feathers and other rising young local talents, stay tuned for our August issue out on newsstands soon!
Linkin Park was a huge part of our teenage years. Not only were they one of the bands that helped us fall in love with alternative rock music, scream-shouting to the likes of ‘In the End’, ‘Numb’, and ‘Shadow of the Day’ were cathartic moments that helped many of us through moments of extreme difficulty. In light of Chester Bennington’s tragic suicide, these very same songs have taken on a haunting new meaning altogether.
With Linkin Park scheduled to embark on a world tour after the release of their new album, One More Light earlier this year, the news of Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington’s suicide was a shocking albeit heartbreaking one. Chester, who is survived by his wife and 6 children, had a lifelong battle against mental health and addiction. And for the most part of their monumental 17 year career so far, Linkin Park’s discography is peppered with songs centered around struggles with depression, paranoia and anxiety.
The band’s single, ‘Heavy’ (off One More Light) ” had the lyrics “I keep dragging around what’s bringing me down/ If I just let go, I’d be set free/ Holding on/ Why is everything so heavy?” Chester has also publicly stated that the song’s first line, “I don’t like my mind right now”, was him 24 hours a day. With the news also comes jolt of realisation that all along, the frontman has been channelling fragments of his vulnerability, and the truth about his mental demons and battles into the very same music that resonated with and helped fans through their darkest moments. But ironically, perhaps because he was singing so openly about them, the world didn’t realise the extent of his burdens.
The news of Chester’s passing has brought about a massive influx of condolences, messages of support for his family and tributes from mourning fans all over the world. And it reminds us all more urgently than ever that mental health issues are real and never to be taken lightly. Here are some of the most important messages you have to read.
Absolutely devastating to see someone as influential and adored as Chester Bennington go.
There’s just something about bangin’ K-pop dance covers that make you wanna get up and groove! Need a little motivation? Slip on your dancing shoes and get ready to be amazed by these 8 K-pop dance covers.
‘Don’t Recall’ – K.A.R.D. by K-City
If you need proof to see how far K-pop dance covers have spanned across the globe, look no further than K-City’s flashmob-inspired cover of K.A.R.D.’s ‘Don’t Recall’, right smack in the streets of Vancouver, Canada. Dressed in all-white ensembles and armed with confidence, the foursome busts out moves to the intrigue of bystanders and passersby. Are you entertaining the thought of throwing out some spontaneous moves at Orchard Road yet?
‘As If It’s Your Last’ – BLACKPINK by EAST2WEST
A popular favourite among K-pop dance cover crews is this bubbly bop from BLACKPINK. But while usually a staple for female-centric crews to take on, leave it to the all-male troupe from EAST2WEST to do the choreography justice in their own right. Hip sways, sashays and sass – checked!
‘Cherry Bomb’ – NCT 127 by Koreos UCLA
Gather your squad and put your skills to the test rivalling this impeccable cover of NCT 127’s simmering hip-hop track. Dripping in swag, the dance moves will have you sweeping smoothly from side to side, all whilst cooperating with your bevy of fellow dance floor killers to pull off coordination at its finest. Can anyone say boomz?
‘Red Flavor’ – Red Velvet by VIVA DANCE STUDIO
They say imitation is the best form of flattery, and there ain’t no better way to emulate the appeal of Red Velvet’s latest smash than taking a cue from these VIVA DANCE STUDIO girls. Clad in similarly red-accented outfits as in the original video, this fierce fivesome channel some serious #girlpower vibes throughout, nailing the dance to a tee.
‘Really Really’ – Winner by Def Dance Skool
We ‘Really Really’ can’t take out eyes off this cover! Def Dance Skool’s crew of fierce female dancers prove they’ve got the sizzle and skills similar to Winner. But instead of the grayscale-toned visuals of its original video, this dance cover pops with colourful outfits in front of a bright burst of graffiti art to inject a breath of fresh air in the routine.
‘Not Today’ – BTS by RISIN’ CREW
Forget dance studios or street alleyways when you can go big. RISIN’ CREW takes it up an ante by recruiting a full clan of supporting dancers in tow, even locking down a similar-looking location as the original MV for an accurate representation. Wind-swept hair, picturesque backgrounds and poetry in motion – this is how you do dance covers right.
‘Bling Bling’ – iKON by 1MILLION Dance Studio
One of the leading dance schools in Korea, 1MILLION Dance Studio prove their outstanding reputation is well-deserved with their array of explosive dance covers ranging from K-Pop hits to the latest international chart-burners. Just take their Rikimaru Chikada choreographed routine for iKON’s electro-hop hit below for example – showing how they kill it solo, in a trio, or as a fivesome. Truly #Lit!
‘WEE WOO’ – PRISTIN by Lisa Rhee
Who says you need a whole squad to do your thang? When you’re left alone to practice your skills, follow the lead of Lisa Rhee’s dance cover of the PRISTIN earworm ‘WEE WOO’, to make sure you don’t get left behind in the next rehearsals with your friends. Remember, part of slaying it together with your crew is having confidence individually and embracing your inner shine as well– time to break a sweat!
Think you can best these videos and show us what you got with fellow dance enthusiasts? Sign up now for the upcoming Teenage Dance Challenge!