6 Singaporean music artists featured in international films — J.M3, Aisyah Aziz, Ding Yi Music Company, and more

6 Singaporean music artists featured in international films — J.M3, Aisyah Aziz, Ding Yi Music Company, and more

Have you ever heard a song in a cinema and wondered why its singer's voice sounded like one you had heard in Singapore before? Or have you sat through the credits of a film and noticed a familiar name or two?

Given that we typically expect to hear made-in-Singapore music in local films, it is always a pleasant surprise to come across the works of homegrown artists when we are watching international productions. From being featured in a popular animated film just across the border to being a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, these diverse creations serve as great entry points for curious movie-goers who may want to dive deeper into Singapore's vibrant music scene.

Here are six Singaporean artists whose music can be heard in films from around the world.

J.M3 - 'Tap Out' (from Joy Ride)

Bilingual hip-hop artist J.M3's 'Tap Out' is one of the inclusions on the soundtrack of Adele Lim's 2023 comedy film, Joy Ride. Starring Emily in Paris' Ashley Park and Everything Everywhere All At Once star Stephanie Hsu, the film follows a group of Asian-American buddies who find themselves on an off-the-wall journey of self-discovery.

Joining tracks from other Asian acts, such as Ramengvrl, VaVa, and Griff, J.M3's contribution is an upbeat number loaded with fiery bars from the rapper that seamlessly alternate between English and Mandarin lyrics. An anthem about having a "champion mindset", 'Tap Out', which can be heard in a memorable club scene from Joy Ride, perfectly complements the film's women-centric themes.

Kalacharan - Enaku Endey Kidaiyaathu (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Aside from being behind music from local drama series such as Mediacorp Channel 8's Mandarin army sitcom The Recruit Diaries and Mediacorp Vasantham's Aaruvathu Sinam, Kalacharan has ventured beyond Singapore to leave his touch on a number of regional productions, including 2023's Enaku Endey Kidaiyaathu.

The composer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist showcases in the Indian Tamil-language mystery film's soundtrack, in which you will find tracks such as the suspenseful instrumental number 'Awakening' as well as Kalacharan's dance-inducing team-up with Parithabangal Gopi and Kameswaram Sumathi, 'OC Anthem'

TZECHAR - The Sadness (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

If you are a horror fan, you might recall a Taiwanese film from a couple of years back that left you feeling deeply disturbed and probably even disgusted. Set in a fictional version of Taipei in which a virus has turned regular people into bloodthirsty savages, The Sadness is Taiwanese body horror flick whose frightening reality is brought to life not only by the grisly images on screen, but also an atmospheric score from TZECHAR.

Not wanting to restrict themselves to tried-and-tested formulae for making horror scores, the Melbourne-based Singaporean duo incorporated the sounds of Chinese instruments such as the suona and erhu, which were chosen because of their ability to mimic human crying or laughing, into their music. The result? 20 chilling tracks that will keep pulling you back into the world of The Sadness after you leave the theatre. 

JJ Lin - 'Lose Control' (from Marvel Studios' Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings)

Much like how the Kendrick Lamar-curated soundtrack album for Black Panther featured African and African American music, the soundtrack album for Marvel Studios' Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings brings together some of the biggest Asian names in music today. Produced by 88rising and Sean Miyashiro, the album's sole Singaporean contributor is Mandopop superstar JJ Lin, the voice behind the infectious 'Lose Control'.

The track is featured in an early scene from the superhero film which stars Simu Liu as Shang-Chi and Awkwafina as his best friend Katy. As the titular character walks down a street in San Francisco while making his way over to Katy's house, he is accompanied by an energising instrumental intro that builds towards the introduction of Lin's instantly recognisable vocals.

Aisyah Aziz - 'Bukalah Matamu' (from Ejen Ali: The Movie)

The beloved Malaysian animated spy series Ejen Ali was given the big screen treatment back in 2019. Set in a fictional futuristic city known as Cyberaya, Ejen Ali: The Movie follows the titular secret agent, Ali, as he seeks to unravel a mystery and protect his home from a new threat. 

Released as the first single from the film's soundtrack album, 'Bukalah Matamu' is a stunning cross-border collaboration between homegrown singer Aisyah Aziz and Malaysian rapper Bunga. Blending a pulsating EDM beat — that's reminiscent of what we loved about Daft Punk's brilliant Tron: Legacy soundtrack —  and Aisyah's soaring vocals, the song takes your immersion in the world of Cyberaya to another level.  

Ding Yi Music Company - Mulan (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Starring Liu Yifei, Jet Li, Donnie Yen, and more, Disney's 2020 live action remake of its animated classic Mulan tells the story of a young Chinese woman who enlists in the army in place of her ailing father to defend her land from invaders. While the film's more realistic nature means that Mulan and her comrades don't break into musical numbers as they do in the 1998 original, it features a new score that whisks you back to ancient China.

Composed by Harry Gregson-Williams, the score incorporates Chinese instrumental sounds played by Singapore's very own Chinese chamber music ensemble, Ding Yi Music Company. Led by Ding Yi's Resident Conductor, Wong De Li Dedric, the ensemble is also listed as one of the film's contributors in the music section of its closing credits.