Spotify Spotlight: A Year Of Local Music Team-Ups In 2021

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Spotify Spotlight: A Year-Long Line-Up Of Badass Team-Ups

STORY: Farhan Shafie
28 December 2021
A multiverse of local music. (Clockwise from left): "Hometown Heroes" winners Team West; NDP 2021 performers; JJ Lin and Gentle Bones; plus rappers Yung Raja and Fariz Jabba. | Photos: instagram/@hometownheroessg, youtube/ndpeeps, instagram/@jjlin and @nme.asia

Singapore music has been a solid A in 2021. It's heartening to see how diverse our local scene has become with more artistes experimenting and producing songs to suit every kind of tastemaker. Just pull up any featured musician from our "Spotify Spotlight" series and you'll hear an eclectic mix of genres, sounds and absolute vibes.

Whether you're a bedroom singer or major label artiste, it seems like the overarching theme for 2021 is musical collabs. Perhaps the isolation brought about by the post-pandemic environment (is it over yet?) has made our musicians desperate for human interaction - no wonder some of the best hits this year have been the result of awesome musical team-ups.

Here, we look back at our fave collabs of 2021.

"The Road Ahead"

Musical multiverse: We start off with the grandaddy of all local team-ups. Singer-songwriters Linying, Sezairi, Shabir & Shye performed this year's National Day Parade theme song "The Road Ahead" which was co-composed by music producer Evan Low.

What they said: “We didn’t want to do something that was so hopeful that it felt out of touch. And we also didn't want it to be something that felt too much of a downer,” said Linying in an interview with Channel News Asia.

"I showed an early demo of the song to a close friend who’s a frontline worker, and it was quite heartening for me because she loved it and ‘felt’ something after hearing it.”

Why it's a bop: Linying need not have worried for "The Road Ahead" has received near universal acclaim upon its release. In our humble opinion, it is the best NDP song to have come out in recent years and a beautiful tribute to our frontline and healthcare workers. We'd like to think the song itself is like a delicious plate of rojak in the best way possible. Don't worry, read on and you'll understand.

The numbers don't lie as well. The music video was voted No. 1 on the "Top Music Videos" list that Singaporeans were watching in 2021, according to Youtube.

"At Least I Had You"

Musical multiverse: One is a Mandop icon. The other is a local indie darling. The former was recently named Best Southeast Asia Act at MTV's Europe Music Awards. The latter was the 3rd most listened to Singapore artiste on Spotify last year. You get the drift. JJ Lin and Gentles Bones recently teamed up on the English pop track "At Least I Had You", and trust us, it's a huge deal.

What they said: "JJ is one of my heroes, in Singapore and in the world. I've been a huge fan of his music for almost of my entire life and he's a very talented individual. ahead of his time back then and now," said Gentle Bones (real name Joel Tan) in a press statement. "When I heard he was open to collaborating, I couldn't believe it."

Why it's a bop: The Gen Z-Milennial team-up you never knew you needed. The two singers are the very best of their respective eras, and, let's face it, JJ Lin is a GOAT at this point.

Other than rooting for a feel good talented-artiste-works-with-musical-hero storyline, the song also marks the first time JJ is singing an English track with a fellow Singaporean male artist. Their two voices mesh together perfectly and it's such a pleasing auditory experience for listeners. Give us more!

"West Side Story"

Musical multiverse: The Avengers have nothing on this superstar line-up. Producer RIIDEM and singing powerhouses Aisyah Aziz, Haven and Joie Tan recorded an ode to their West side roots called "West Side Story", which won them the top spot in "Hometown Heroes", Singapore’s first documentary game show series which pitted music artists from all four corners of our island against each other. West side, best side yo.

What they said: “Well, you know, West side is always the best side!" RIIDEM said upon winning the competition. "Jokes aside, I'm so grateful to be a part of 'Hometown Heroes', and mad props to the talented girls in my team. I couldn't have done this without them! It's an honour taking home the award for best team. It was a fun, awesome experience!"

Why it's a bop: If you grew up in the early 2000s, you can appreciate this banger which totally gave us Timbaland/Nelly Furtado flashbacks. From the wicked beat-boxing production to sleek vocals, this track got us grooving all the way through 2021.

"And Then"

Musical multiverse: Popular Singapore rappers Fariz Jabba and Yung Raja have reached another level of stardom and buzz this year. In 2021, Yung Raja had a verse feature on a Snoop Dogg track, and his song "Mami" was played on the Jimmy Fallon Show while Fariz Jabba blew up on Tik Tok after his track "Kalah" spawned a viral lip-sync challenge. On the back of their successes, the two friends came together for the rap track "And Then".

What they said: “This collab is the first of many; we’ve been waiting for it to happen for way too long,” shared Jabba in a press release.

Why it's a bop: Yung Raja and Fariz Jabba joining forces on a single is like Drake and Chris Brown dropping a collab. It's an event, and it's highly anticipated. And boy, this duo didn't disappoint. Their brand of off-beat humour, multilingual raps and stylish suaveness is on full display on this simple yet addictive track.

It's rather surprising to know that this is their official collab with one another, given how often they've appeared in each other's previous videos. But judging by this banger, Yung Raja and Fariz Jabba need to put out more joints together stat. 


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TAGS: Spotify Spotlight , Music , Local talent , Year End Roundups
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