Hi readers, I was invited to attend NEA’s Eco Music Challenge Season 2 Finale event at Orchard Central on 27 August 2011. I was so happy to attend this event as I got to listen to great music based on the theme: environment in many different genres. This event was hosted by DJ Young from Lush 99.5FM.
This year’s NEA Eco Music Challenge Season 2 had attracted more than 300 entries and more than 900 participants took part in this competition. I would say this season is much more competitive than the 1st season as the number of people who took part in this competition has increased and people can write better songs.
Last season, they had Gayle Nerva from Singapore Idol 2, and Ng Imm Khim from Campus Superstar season 1, as well as one of the youngest finalist, Justin Teo took part in the finale of the Season 1 Eco Music Challenge. Last season, 11 songs were in English and 2 chinese songs were shortlisted in the finals.
For this season, most of the finalists’ songs are in English and there were only 2.5 chinese songs. Why 2.5 chinese songs but not a whole number like 2 or 3? You will find out why as you read on… The show was great and showcased many different talents and creativity of how people can write a song based on environment.
Dasmond Koh and Clement Chow were 2 of the 5 judges who were involved in the judging process of choosing the winning song as the 2012 theme song Clean and Green Singapore
13 Finalists were there to perform their masterpiece to the audience. They are 6th Avenue, Julian Kwok, Cynthia Lim’s friend Zuo En, 86&7, Teo Seng Loong, Nelson Tan Yan Cong & Qiann, Justina Tan, Sold Out Lies, Judah Lyne, Lee Feng Heng, Dr Joel Foo, Darren Lee Zong Ru, Riza Hamizan Mahmood and12 out of the 13 Finalists did an opening act called ‘Live it up’.
All of the finalists come from varied backgrounds; from students and music teachers to cabin crew member and doctor, and even one of Cleo Magazine’s 50 most eligible bachelors. The bands and individuals behind the 13 entries had underwent a three-week mentorship programme to prepare for the finale concert. They worked with popular local musicians, including former guest vocal trainer on Singapore Idol, Sara Wee, and veteran singer-songwriter, Clement Chow.
I was given a piece of paper to write down what I guessed will be the winning song but I won’t tell you what I guessed as the winning song 1st.Now let the show begin…
1st up, 6th Avenue sang their song “Take a stand” written by Zuher Razali. It is very rockish song. I do like the way the lead singer sang as this song.
Next up, Julian Kwok, his cousin and his friend performed his song Love for planet Earth (Reflection of an Astronaut). Great performance by them. The lyrics are inspiring and melody are great for this song. Julian said that this song was written with a 3rd eye view from an astronaut. The song is quite nice and lyrics are quite reflective to our real world.
Next, the 3rd to perform was Cynthia Lim’s friend Zuo En who sang Cynthia Lim’s 她 (Her), a Chinese Song. There were dancers too. This melody sounded quite refreshing and gave me a very lively feeling.
Next, 86 & 7 went up to perform their song “Make her Whole”. This group is make up of members who are born in the year of 1986 or 1987. Emily, the only female member of 86 & 7 is the lead singer. This song has a very jazzy, very unique feel as part of the chorus is sung by GT (the leader and male voice of the song). I do like this song too.
5th finalist to perform is Teo Seng Loong. He was the only finalist who did a solo performance, singing his song “Save Our Earth” while playing the keyboard. He was 1 of the Cleo’s 50 bachelor as well as SIM GE undergraduate. His song was inspired by a bin and has slow tempo incorporated with some sounds & slightly R&B style in his singing.
Next, a Chinese Song will be sung by Qiann. This song is called “绿色环境 ” (Green Environment) and was written by Nelson Tan Yan Cong. It is also a dance song with a very lively tune. The tune has something similar to C Major (by Angela Chang 张韶涵). Very bubblegum pop feeling.
Next up, Justina Tan with her band, Hyphen, performed her song, “SOS – Save Our Souls”. This song is quite a pop-rock. Her lead singer is Sara from the US. I like the lyrics of the song as the Earth is really getting hotter and hotter.
Time for a break with special performances by:
1. Huang Xue Ting and Aaron Lim林伟强 . Aaron is from Intune music school and he’s playing keyboard while Huang Xue Ting will be playing her guitar and singing a song from Denise Ho何韵诗 ,诗与胡说 . Although I have not listen to Denise Ho何韵诗’s song but her song is quite meaning. This was my 1st time watching Huang Xue Ting’s performance.
2. Brandon Lee & His band
This was my 1st time seeing his performance as I had not heard of him before. He sang 2 numbers, Invincible and Breathe Free. Breathe Free is a song that is related to the environment. I do like both of his songs.
For more information on him, feel free to visit http://brandonleeofficial.com for more details and his songs
Now back to the remaining 6 finalists performing.
Sold Out Lies, with their lead singer, Jason Hui, sung their song, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (Reduce Reuse Recycle Your Things)”. It’s very different from the rest of the finalists as it’s very punk and rock feeling and I did not expect that Eco-related song can be sung in such a way. Quite creative and I like it.
Next up, Judah Lyne performed her dance song, Set Her Free. It was great to have dancers to accompany this song. This tune sounded like it is similar with Madonna’s songs.
Next, Lee Feng Heng, or known as Feng, and his team mates performed their song “World Without Fences”. Feng likes to play guitar and movie score. His team is the only team has a celloist. He also has a keyboard player, conga drum player too. This song sounded very calming and nice and has a great music arrangement. Feng said this song was inspired by last year’s Clean and Green Singapore Theme song – Heaven on Earth.
Next, Dr Joel Foo ( a doctor in private practice) and his lead singer of the song, his friend, Adrian Kuek (a teacher) performed their song, Lost in time. This song was written many years ago and was accompanied by a guitar. It is quite a simple song but I felt that they can polish up the song to make it even better.
Next, the only team which do a hybrid song (bilingual song – with English and Chinese) called 早安你好！. This song was written by Darren Lee Zong Ru from SMU and sung by his friend, Rei. They called themselves ” 早安“.This song has quite refreshing and creative. I did not expect that a hybrid song can be written and sung in such a way to make it nice. Now you know why I said it’s 2.5 Chinese songs.
Last finalist to perform was Riza Hamizan Mahmood. His group performed a song called “Change of Tomorrow”. It’s the only group which used ocean rock to create music for part of the song. It has a rockish feeling and watching a live band performing for the last song to be sung to the audience.
After the last 6 finalists performed their numbers, there were 3 more special performances by Toh Yi Fan, Shawn Tok and Inch Chua while the judges went for discussion and tabulate the results.
People may not know who is Toh Yi Fan. Yi Fan, a 14 year old boy from Dunman High School, is a winner of Young Musician Award. I really did not expect that people can even write a rap song on environment He wrote a rap song called “Clean and Green” for this season of Eco Music Challenge.
When he 1st rap the song on the stage. I was so surprised that he can rap very well. Like Enimem. The rap is very well written and it is not easy to do a rap. Although the chorus of the rap song is not that strong (but has the feeling of Black Eyed Peas’s “Where is the Love?”, but I felt that he really deserves to be the winner of Young Musician Award with his strong rap and compose more songs.
Next, Shawn Tok, grand champion of Campus Superstar season 2, performed 2 Chinese numbers. 拯救世界 (Save the Earth) and 和世界一起旅行(Travel together with the World). He has just released his Chinese Album and it is on sale at Popular CD rama and other music stores. He said 拯救世界 is a song on environment. Visit his page at https://www.facebook.com/shawntxz for more updates of his events if you are interested.
Inch Chua, NEA Eco Music Challenge season 2 poster girl, performed 2 of her numbers, Discern and Mount Epiphany. This was my 3rd time seeing her performance live. (1st time was at NEA Eco Music Showcase at Timbre, 2nd time was during National Heritage Festival event at Fort Canning). She said Mount Epiphany was a song written related to environment. I do like her songs. For more information, feel free to visit her website http://www.inchchua.com/ to listen to her songs and updates.
Time to give out the prizes. Top 5 winners were announced as well as the most popular song award winner.
Lai Yi Xuan was the winner of the most popular song award. She wrote a song called “If You Paint a Picture of Me“. I felt sad that the most popular song was not performed or played during the event, which as a pity. But if you wish to listen to the most popular song, visit http://nea.ecomusic.sg/emc2winners.php
5th place: Judah Lyne’s Set Her Free
4th place: Change of Tomorrow by Riza Hamizan Mahmood
3rd place: 早安你好！ by 早安 (Darren Lee Zong Ru and Rei)
2nd place: Love for planet Earth (Reflections of an Astronaut) by Julian Kwok
And the winner is…… (drum roll…….)
World Without Fences (the song that I voted as the winning song) by Lee Feng Heng. His song is great and they really deserve to be the winner of the song. Stay tune for the TV commercial on this song as Clean and Green Singapore 2012 Theme song.
So you wish to listen to all the 13 finalists, the most popular song and the best young musician’s song? Visit http://nea.ecomusic.sg/emc2winners.php and feel free to listen to their songs!
Beside that, the top 3 winners get to perform at Timbre on 1 day and I cannot wait to watch them performing at Timbre! And I am looking forward for Eco Music Challenge Season 3!