Add to playlist: Singaporean and Malaysian musicians to follow and songs to listen to
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To say that music is a powerful medium is an understatement. An art form that can lift your spirits during trying times, music holds an innate ability to connect, transform, and inspire. If you're on the lookout for new acts and sounds, look no further than artists hailing from the Southeast Asian region – Singapore and Malaysia. Ahead, our list for a musical feast.
This familiar face needs no introduction. But did you know that music wasn't always part of her repertoire? Along with Benjamin Kheng, the siblings were on Singapore's national swimming team. She also acted in shows like "Lifespam", "Do It Yourself", and "Zero Calling".
Narelle's 2019 solo single, "Outta My Head", is a meaningful piece about a two-year-long toxic relationship that she had experienced during her time in university. Other songs to check out include" Some They Lie", "Tears", "Let Me Be", and "Blue".
Singer-songwriter, musician, and producer Charlie has made a name for himself since his debut in 2011 when he released his first EP, Charlie Lim. After signing with House of Riot! in 2012, Charlie toured the region and has played in Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, and Brisbane among others. He has also supported acts such as Lenka, Kimbra, and Sigur Ros. After releasing double EP Time/Space in 2015, he clinched a deal with Universal Music in 2016.
Charlie tends to traverse between genres. You can find acoustic melancholia, post-rock, neo-soul, R&B, folk, pop, and electronica from his songs – an interesting yet sonically-pleasing combination. He dropped Check-Hook in 2018, featuring songs such as "Better Dead Than A Damsel", "Least Of You", and "Circles". Other songs to check out include "Hummingbird" with Linying, "Knots", "Choices", "Bitter", and "Blah Blah Blues".
This Pahang-born singer-songwriter and rapper is no stranger to the Malaysian music scene. In 2014, his song "No More" took home the Best Song Award at the Anugerah Industri Muzik (AIM), and it was the first English track to do snag the title. Other career-defining songs include "Firefly", "Apa Khabar" with Joe Flizzow, and "Hakeleh".
Born Mikael Adam Lozach, he has collaborated with Singapore's Alif on a joint album, Detail, which consist of 15 tracks, including hits such as "Obvious", "Pun Boleh", and "Look Around". On 26 March 2020, the French-Malay rapper – currently signed to Def Jam South East Asia – dropped his newest track – "Bomba" – his first ever trilingual record (Malay, French, and English). The Adriana Tunku-directed music video was released the next day.
This Penang-born R&B and pop singer is another up-and-coming star in the Malaysian music scene. Back in 2017, NYK (a.k.a. Nick Yungkit) released the popular track "FWB" (with 1.5 million streams on Spotify so far) and has been on the rise since. Signed to Sony Music, NYK has opened shows for The Sam Willows and James Arthur.
In addition to songs such as "Make It On Me" with Airliftz, "Faded", "Pretty Burn", "My Baby (Loves Me)", and "Anymore", NYK's latest release, "AAA" with Shelhiel, is a fun and boppy English-Mandarin record. One thing's for sure – you can expect more Spotify chart-toppers from this artist in the future.
The daughter of Malaysian female pop singer – Sheila Majid – and producer – Roslan Aziz, this rapper did not build her career on the reputation of her renowned celebrity parents. She begun singing professionally at 21 and charted her own path in the music industry. Kayda's debut album Love For No Reason was released in 2018 and is produced by Emir Hermono, B.E.M., and Puffietop.
Now known as one of the leading hip hop and R&B musicians in the country, the Kuala Lumpur-born artist's hits include "Only U", "Your Call", "Beg 4 Me", "Sugar", "Go Hard or Gostan" with Hunny Madu, and "Down With Me". One of her newest tracks – comprising Malay, Mandarin, and English – is "Macam-Macam" produced by Kayda and Luca Sickta.
After winning the third season of Singapore Idol in 2009, the Singaporean musician went on to release his debut album Take Two in 2010, featuring the single "Broken". Before dropping his self-titled EP, Sezairi was signed to Sony Music. Songs to check out from this EP include "Fire to The Floor", "It Will Never Mend", and "Empty".
In January 2020, Sezairi made his comeback album, Undertones. The four-track record consists of songs such as "Mirage", "It's You", "She Moves", and "In Secret". In addition to music, Sezairi has also starred in "1965", a Singaporean historical thriller film.
Born and bred in Kuala Lumpur, this singer-songwriter is known for her captivating vocals as well as a popular social media influencer. The highly sought-after artist recently opened for Jeremy Zucker and has collaborated with numerous acts such as Ali Aiman, Darren Ashley, SonaOne, Tatsuro Miller, and NYK.
Songs you should definitely listen to include "Okay" with Darren Ashley, "ineedsomeone", "would you", "Maple", "Please Stay", and "on you". In 2020, she also released "dontyouseeme" and "sweetlove". In addition to music, Talitha is also a fitness enthusiast – with parkour being on the top of the list.
The first Singaporean artist to win an MTV European Music Award for Best Southeast Asia Act in 2019, Jasmine Sokko she hasn't stopped churning hits out since her debut 1057, which includes "600D", "F5", and "Hurt". She was also the only female act and the only Singaporean contestant to compete at the finale of China's Rave Now – an electronic music reality show in 2019.
Soon after Rave Now, Jasmine Sokko dropped "Tired and Shh", her first fully-Mandarin single. Released on 20 March 2020, her latest track "Fever" is a Mandarin single written in collaboration with Svea Kågemark, Melanie Wehbe, and Elias Näslin.