This article first appeared on Bandwagon.
The top 5 finalists for Vans Musician Wanted 2021 have been announced, encompassing a genre-diversifying line-up of Cactus Cactus, Krysta Joy, San The Wordsmith, Sio Lubis and Yishun Panik. The regional finals will be live-streamed on the 22nd of September and the winner will go on to compete with other regional finalists for the opportunity to perform on stage with British singer-songwriter YUNGBLUD.
We gathered some of their thoughts on being part of the top 5 and their preparations leading up to this - here’s what they had to say.
Cactus Cactus, the four-piece Singaporean rock outfit shared that they were focusing largely on sharpening their songwriting and tightening up their performances during practice sessions every week. “Being able to play to people during the pandemic (that shan't be named) with some fine-as-hell bands is most righteous,” they said, expressing their enthusiasm for the upcoming concert. They're currently working on releasing their debut EP that is expected towards the end of this year.
Singer-songwriter Krysta Joy expressed her feelings of encouragement, commenting: “I feel so encouraged as I am one step closer to possibly representing Singapore music, which has always been a dream of mine.” She goes on to share that the song ‘1,000,000 X Better' by Griff and HONNE is the best way to describe the feeling of being a top 5 finalist to her.
San The Wordsmith
The hip-hop enthusiast in San The Wordsmith conveyed how he managed to overcome his initial doubts about competing: “It took me a while to consider whether I should submit songs this year. I was contemplating over and over till the day before the deadline.” The realisation of knowing he had more to showcase drove him to participate in the 2021 edition - now, as part of the finalists, he describes the feeling as unimaginable. “Words couldn't measure the amount of excitement I had 5 minutes after receiving the email.”
Sio Lubis made her feelings of surreality and optimism known to us - sharing that she never envisioned herself being a Vans Musicians Wanted regional finalist when she first started out covering songs and writing rhymes. Now with an ignited spark, she gives us a glimpse into her headspace that drives her ever-evolving artistry.
“It’s the constant hunger to improve myself and to never settle for just good enough.”
Three-piece band Yishun Panik - formed in a studio in Yishun expressed their feelings of excitement and shock from being included in the shortlisted finalists. From late-night rehearsals to recording sessions after working hours, Afee remarked “I felt confused and surprised at the same time because we didn’t think we would get this far!”
To summarise those feelings with a song that best describes it to them, Ihasamic! picked ‘Spark Ignition’ by Passcode, Afee chose ‘Burj Khalifa’ by Epik High and Sean Tent selected ‘The Heartburn Song’ by Lawrence. Listen to their featured track ‘dans wif me’.
The top 5 were chosen from the initial shortlisted Top 20 and will be mentored by 2021's panel of judges, with the winner going on to compete on a global stage for a chance to perform with British artist YUNGBLUD.