Since circuit breakers measures have been imposed, the world has had to adapt to a new normal. This means no more trips to the cinema, no catching up with friends over a meal, and certainly no live concerts or music festivals to attend for the time being. These are difficult times we find ourselves in, but music always has a way of reminding us that there is light even in the darkest days.
Below, the Hear65 team has come up with a list of songs created by homegrown artists this year to inspire Singaporeans with some much needed cheer.
Virtual Choir - ‘Gathering Home, as One’
In this time when physical distances are felt more keenly than before, more than 900 Singaporeans have rallied together around a familiar anthem - Dick Lee’s iconic song, Home - and formed Singapore’s first Virtual Choir Project to remind us that we’re never truly alone.
This project sees recorded videos of Singaporeans performing their own snippets of Home from 26 countries, including the United States, Turkey and the Netherlands. The new choral arrangement comprised of participants aged 5 to 80, and even featured homegrown artists such as Nathan Hartono, Shigga Shay, Charlie Lim, Jasmine Sokko, Yung Raja, Fariz Jabba, Joie Tan, Tan Wei Tian and more.
It’s a moving cacophony of voices belting their hearts out to a beloved tune, and it’s proof that love is capable of overcoming even the greatest distances and the tallest barriers to reach people who need it.
Clement Chow x Straits Times - ‘Stay At Home, Singapore'
Clement Chow and other local musicians— Alemay Fernandez, Lisa Haryono, Mathilda D'Silva, Michelle Poh, Jordin Tan, Izat, Christiane Mikaela and Alexendra Hsieh—have remade Chow’s iconic ‘Count On Me, Singapore’ as a rallying call for Singaporeans to fight the virus by doing our part and staying at home.
“We’re gonna stay in touch by meeting virtually / Don’t cough and sneeze, wear your mask please”, they urge. Despite the new arrangement and lyrics, the message remains the same as always: Singapore is counting on us, and given current circumstances, the best way to lend our support is to stay home, and stay united.
Dominic Chin - ‘Hold On’
Superheroes always seemed so untouchable and far from our reach, almost like an urban legend our eyes will never see. Yet ever since the outbreak of COVID-19, we’ve seen our own heroes emerge from the most ordinary of places, selflessly risking their lives to ensure the survival of others’. ‘Hold On’, an original composition by the Music & Drama Company (MDC), pays homage to our frontline workers, who make their way to hospitals and emergency rooms day after day without complaint, just to ensure the safety and comfort of the patients there.
“Hold on, stay strong / We will face it day by day / We are with you all the way”: this refrain of solidarity and resilience is a heartwarming tribute to our frontline staff and their endless courage, and is a timely reminder that bad days always pass. We just need to keep moving, one foot in front of the other, one step at a time.
Phua Chu Kang - ‘Singapore Be Steady!’
Phua Chu Kang (PCK) is back—trademark mole, yellow boots, and all—to liven things up with a new rap video for COVID-19.
Singaporean actor and television personality, Gurmit Singh, who is best known for his role as Phua Chu Kang—an eccentric contractor from the local sitcom Phua Chu Kang Pte Ltd—first made an appearance in 2003 with his SARS rap video, 'SARvivor', which provided Singaporeans with some amusement and comfort at the height of the epidemic.
Humour has always served as a coping mechanism, and in light of current circumstances we may need it more than ever. This time, PCK has returned with equally iconic lines as 2003's "Some say 'leh', some say 'lah' / spread kaya but don't spread SARS!", featuring lyrical gems such as “Things different already / But Singapore be steady / Stay clean and healthy / Just use your brain, use your brain”.
Listen to PCK and “don’t play play”, everyone.
Tanya Chua - ‘别找我麻烦 Dark Cloud’
Tanya Chua has adapted one of her songs, ‘Dark Cloud’, to current circumstances, turning the song into a light-hearted appeal for the coronavirus to take its leave. In the rendition, she captures some of our shared sentiments, summing up our anguish in lines like “Virus Virus please go away / Don’t you know I really want to see my friends and have a meal together” and “Incessantly washing my hands are making them so dry, making my heart feel bitter”.
She also hilariously reports on the new normal we’re experiencing: “Toilet papers are all sold out suddenly / The news are reporting deserted streets”, all the while reminding us to continue taking preventive measures, stay home and avoid physical contact as much as possible.
This rendition is a light-hearted tune that sounds almost optimistic, and it reminds us that we can find small pockets of joy in even the most mundane things in our everyday routine.
JJ Lin ft Stefanie Sun - ‘Stay With You’
JJ Lin's new song, 'Stay With You', peeks through the anxiety and gloom that descended with the initial outbreak of the coronavirus. Produced by Lin and penned by fellow Singaporean artist, Stefanie Sun, over just a few days, the song pays tribute to medical personnel who are working around the clock on the frontline, locked in strenuous combat with the virus.
Accompanied by gently reassuring lyrics, the delicate ballad urges everyone to keep their head and hopes up despite this period of uncertainty: “Let us walk forward to meet this storm / Even the coldest night is sure to pass”.
"I'll stay with you", Lin repeats. Indeed, things may seem bleak now, especially without the comfort of human interaction in real life, but no one is ever truly alone in such times. We’ll get through this together.