9 must-hear collaborations from local and international artists in the past year

9 must-hear collaborations from local and international artists in the past year

Singapore’s music scene has always been diverse, featuring a plethora of artists across different ages, ethnicities, and religious backgrounds. Increasingly, as local music begins to garner more attention across the globe, this diversity has also extended to collaborations with artists of various nationalities. From the likes of Jackson Wang and Jay Park to Karencici, Singaporean musicians have racked up exciting features with overseas talents.    

Here’s a rundown of nine must-hear collaborations that you should have on your listening radar.

Sezairi — ‘Blue feat. msftz’

‘Blue’ is homegrown singer Sezairi’s latest single that arrived on 11 June. Teaming up with South Korean singer msftz, the Singaporean artist croons about repairing a relationship on the funk-infused song. msftz jumps in with airy vocals in Korean, adding a bilingual flair to the track. 

“‘Blue’ is a song that I wrote when I wanted to remind myself that loving each other means that you share a space, free of all judgement and anger. A space we save for each other unknowingly and don’t go to often enough,” shared Sezairi in a statement. 

Gentle Bones — ‘一天加點愛 feat. Karencici’

‘一天加點愛 (Daily Dose of Love)’ is the second Mandarin single from Singaporean pop wunderkind Gentle Bones. Featuring Taiwanese-American up-and-comer Karencici, it’s an R&B-tinged track that sees the two singers trading lighthearted verses about romance and infatuation.

Gentle Bones—aka Joel Tan—first made his foray into Mandopop last August with ‘Don’t You Know Yet?’, which featured local singer-songwriter Tay Kewei. He has also released a few English-language collaborations recently, including ‘A Day At A Time’ with Filipino artist Clara Benin and ‘Better With You’ with Benjamin Kheng

JJ Lin and Jackson Wang  — ‘過 Should've Let Go’

A dream crossover with some of the two biggest names in contemporary Mandopop, ‘過 Should've Let Go’ was the first collaboration between GOT7 member Jackson Wang and homegrown sensation JJ Lin. Released in December 2020, the melancholic track also came with a music video that stars Wang and Lin alongside nostalgic vignettes of high school romance. 

Beyond ‘過 Should've Let Go’, the Singaporean singer also worked with Steve Aoki last November for a remix of ‘Not Tonight’, a cut from his debut English-language EP Like You Do. Most recently, he linked up with British artist Anne-Marie for the English-language ballad ‘Bedroom’ in April 2021.      

Lady Kash and LAYA — ‘Kaalam’ 

‘Kaalam’—the Tamil word for ‘time’—was a single featuring Singaporean Tamil rapper Lady Kash and Chennai-based R&B artist LAYA. Released in June 2020, the bilingual track is a lush meditation on the cyclical nature of life, offering a message of hope amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Lady Kash is no stranger to international collaborations, having worked with renowned Indian composer A. R. Rahman for the soundtracks on the films Enthiran (2010) and Highway (2014). Testament to her crossover talent, the rapper performs in both English and Tamil regularly.

Charlie Lim and Miho Fukuhara — ‘Ashes’

Another bilingual collaboration, ‘Ashes’ was released in October 2020 by Singaporean singer-songwriter Charlie Lim and Japanese artist Miho Fukuhara. On the soulful duet, both singers switch fluently between English and Japanese as they muse on cherishing a lover. 

Even though this is Lim’s first time singing in Japanese, he has worked on several collaborations with international artists in the past couple of years, including South Korean soloist BIBI and Japanese producer Kan Sano. No stranger to bilingualism, he also previously teamed up with Singaporean artist Aisyah Aziz for the English-Bahasa Melayu single, ‘Won’t You Come Around’.      

Annette Lee and YELO옐로 — ‘Gold [K-Remix]’

Annette Lee also jumped on the collab bandwagon, linking up with Korean singer YELO옐로 for a Korean version of her March 2020 single, ‘Gold’. Produced by K-pop songwriting collective MonoTree, the remix replaces the pop rock sensibilities of the original with buttery R&B grooves and additional Korean verses from YELO옐로. ‘Gold [K-Remix]’ also marks the first time Lee has featured an international artist in her music. 

Shigga Shay — ‘uRight feat. Jay Park’

Singaporean rapper Shigga Shay and Korean hip hop maverick and AOMG founder Jay Park teamed up for ‘uRight’, a smooth trap banger that’s perfect for turning it up on a night out. With glassy synths and smooth guitar licks laid over a straightforward beat, the two trade verses about partying and winning over a love interest. The accompanying video also sees the rappers gallivanting around prominent tourist sites across Singapore.

‘uRight’ isn’t the first time Shigga Shay has partnered with international artists. He previously jumped on Korean producer and AOMG signee JuniorChef’s 2019 single ‘DOMO’, alongside French-Malaysian rapper SonaOne and Japanese hip hop artist JP THE WAVY.  

Dru Chen — ‘Givin’ It Up feat. Dr. Fink and Harts

‘Givin’ It Up’ is easily one of the most eclectic and unexpected collaborations on this list. A dance-worthy funk tune from Dru Chen, the song features contributions from Prince collaborator and keyboardist Dr. Fink and Indian-Australian musician Harts.

Chen, who was born in Australia but based in Singapore, is known for his unique brand of soul and retro-infused pop. He released ‘Givin’ It Up’ in November 2020, following the singles ‘Future Me + U’ and ‘Who We R’

iNCH and QUEST — ‘Four Walls and a Ceiling’

‘Four Walls and a Ceiling’ sees Singaporean singer-songwriter iNCH and Filipino rapper-producer QUEST joining forces amid the initial wave of pandemic lockdowns back in June 2020. Written as part of the Music Matters Live 2020 festival, the song was recorded remotely for the #MMLFromHome series, which saw several Singaporean artists performing with other musicians in the region. Notably, SEZAIRI also performed the collaboration ‘It Won’t Be Long’ with Indonesian musician Teddy Adhitya under the same initiative.  

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