By Herlyani Rahman
Where our local arts scene is concerned, there has always been a stigma that our local artists are not good enough. Frankly speaking, I was bought into that perspective too, preferring to credit international artists as my role models and to pay no heed to the arts scene in Singapore.
My involvement in theatre works, as miniscule as it may be, has helped me understand just how difficult cultivating your name as an artist, or simply, a brand, is. I may have the thirst for all the creative pursuits life has to offer me, but I turn down all the ones that have been offered to me right here at my very doorstep.
I know, I know. What a mistake I have made this whole time.
It has been a long time coming, but the wide variety of talented homegrown musicians at the Made in Singapore showcase at Music Matters Live 2014, held at Paulaner Wirtshaus Clarke Quay on 23 May 2014, clearly challenged the notion of how lacklustre our arts or music scene in Singapore is- because it is evidently far from it. I will have to admit that I was incredibly embarrassed to have arrived at the festival with such a mindset.
The Made in Singapore showcase presented local acts such as Gareth Fernandez, Sezairi, Ming Bridges and Take Two, along with 20-year-old Joel Tan, who goes by the moniker Gentle Bones, as the opening act for the night.
As mentioned, I was already extremely jaded from the beginning and with the sheer number of females in the audience waiting anxiously for his set to begin, it was hard not to conceive the idea of teen heartthrob Justin Bieber in my mind. He’s got the style, he’s got the swag, but does he have the talent?
Arguably, Justin has a whole team of producers and sound engineers backing him up, but where Gentle Bones is concerned, ‘talented’ alone simply does not cut it to describe him. He is a performer. And an all-rounded one at that. Completely at ease on stage, he skillfully captivated the audience throughout his entire set with his smooth vocals, incredible stage presence and star quality.
There is usually the perception or idea that the people who survive and succeed in the entertainment industry either start their training young, or were simply born to shine; but for someone who has no prior musical background, Gentle Bones would most likely stick around with us, maybe until, who knows, he dies? (pun intended, guys)