Wednesday, 27 May 2015

From bars to Universal Music Singapore

by Rachel Ng

Home-grown local act Gentle Bones takes the Music Matters Live stage for the second year running, but this time, it’s a whole new different ball game.

Not So Elusive: Joel Tan, also known as Gentle Bones, commands a strong presence once he’s on stage. PHOTO BY: Rachel Ng

Last year, he packed out four bars during Music Matters Live (MML) in Clarke Quay three nights consecutively.

This time, he played on the main stage for the same event, to a turnout that was probably the sum of all the people who turned up at the four bar gigs in one place.

Taking the local music scene by storm, 21-year-old Joel Tan – or better known by his moniker, Gentle Bones – certainly had a blast of a year. He released his eponymous debut EP in August last year, had his own tour in Kuala Lumpur, and opened for American pop singer Christina Perri’s concert here in Singapore.

More importantly, he signed on to Universal Music Singapore this month, making him the second Singaporean artist to do so.

Even after seeing him live a number of times, it’s hard not to smile and sing along as he poured his heart out serenading his audience every time he performs. Opening his set with the moody ‘Settle Down’, one can hear the echoes from the crowd as he belts out the chorus – “Won’t you settle down, settle down, with me now, and forever?”

It brings to mind what Joel mentioned about this track a year ago at one of the bars he played at, before releasing his EP. Overwhelmed by the crowd’s support, I recalled that he said back then that this was a song he was immensely proud of, and that he couldn’t believe that he wrote it.

But this time, he’s not singing it to his fans. He’s singing it with them.

He followed up with the more original tracks from his EP, upbeat ‘Save Me’, ‘Lost’, and ‘Elusive’, which spurred a collective resounding ‘I, I’ echo from adoring fans, similar to what could be heard in the background of the song.

“Thank you guys so much for coming out tonight, I’m sorry for the short set, but this is for Music Matters 2015. Thanks so much for having us under this beautiful roof, and thank you guys for coming out and singing along,” said a grateful Joel as he started to perform his last song – the one that propelled him to success ‘Until We Die’.

When violinist Josh Wei started to play only the starting notes of the song, the crowd went wild. “Is anyone crying?” Joel cheekily quipped.

Partner-in-Crime: Violinist Josh Wei is a master of his craft, having played for acts like Gentle Bones and The Sam Willows. PHOTO BY: Rachel Ng

It is no doubt that ‘Until We Die’ is his most well-known hit. Halfway through, he took the mic and pointed it at the crowd. “Let the whole Clarke Quay hear you!” he said as it reached the chorus, and they did – or you could say, they sung… “until they die”.

We Will Sing Until We Die: Joel held his mic up for the crowd and sang the chorus of ‘Until We Die’. PHOTO BY: Rachel Ng

So what’s coming up for Joel next? He’s recently recorded a song for the upcoming 28th SEA Games, and would be heading to London for the SGMUSO Live Showcase alongside local acts Charlie Lim and Pleasantry.

With the amount of success he’s achieved in just a span of one year, one thing’s for sure – big things are definitely coming his way.

1 comment:

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