Features August 8, 2018

Industry experts share why you need to be all over the Singapore showcase at BIGSOUND 2018

Industry experts share why you need to be all over the Singapore showcase at BIGSOUND 2018
Clockwise: Larry Heath, Mel Dine, Joel Cangy, Jerry Poon, Vivan Vo

When people hear BIGSOUND the first thing they think is up-and-coming Aussie bands getting their glittering opportunity to break into the big leagues.

The good people at Hear65 want to expand on that definition a little.

With the help of National Arts Council Singapore, the inaugural 2016 showcase at BIGSOUND introduced local audiences to the likes of folk singer-songwriter iNCH, electronic duo .gif, prog-rockers In Each Hand A Cutless and rapper THELIONCITYBOY.

Now they’re back to unleash a whole new generation of artists on BIGSOUND 2k18.

For the past several months ten talented industry professionals have been collaborating behind closed doors to review the new crop of artist that will grace the Hear65 stage in September.

The experts are:

Larry Heath (The AU Review)

Jerry Poon (The Operatives)

Vivan Vo (Small Fry PR)

Melinda Dine (The Push)

Joel Cangy (Jaden Social)

Shelley Liu (Valve Sounds)

Becc Bates (Arts Sound Australia)

Nic Shields (Singapore’s 98.7FM)

Mia Besorio (Acclaim)

Nik Tripp (3RRR)

TMN caught up with some of the judges to find out how they got involved, what the showcase has in store and why nobody should be sleeping on Hear65 at BIGSOUND 2018.


“I was part of a Singapore exchange project a few years ago where we took some artists to play there and vice versa so I had some pre-existing knowledge of the local market,” Dine explains.

“While we were over there we had a really great experience hearing their local talents and formed great relationships with key Singapore industry professionals.”

Many of the other judges have had the luck to be able to travel to Singapour to scope out the music scene in real life.

“I met Vanessa [Fernandez, Hear65’s producer for the National Arts Council’s initiative] on a trip to Singapore last year to see a few Singaporean bands live and met some reps in the music industry,” Vo said.

“I’ve seen really hard work put in to support emerging musicians, local Singaporean bands and also female artists.”

Once all the industry figures were rounded up the real task began, sifting through the finalists to decide who would make the trip out to Australia.

It was a process that brought with it more than a few surprises.

“The vocal strength of all the candidates, followed by the intelligent instrumentation and production, was outstanding,” Cangy exclaims.

“You can tell they’ve all put years of learning into mastering their craft by simply listening to a song. This was quite refreshing, actually.”

Several of the judges were blown away by the level of diversity presented in the finalists work.

“I was surprised and happy to see such a high-quality music. There was range in music genres and showcased gender diversity,” Vo said.

“The variety of styles of music presented was great!” Dine agreed.

“They seem to be such well-trained musicians and artists in their own rights. I’m really digging the electronic and pop scene that is coming out of Singapore at the moment.”

In a sea of hundreds of showcases over three nights, Hear65 is bringing something new to the BIGSOUND landscape.

“They definitely have a unique voice, bringing in the influences of not just Singapore into their music – but also the wider Asian region,” Larry said.

Cangy commented that the artists coming from Singapore aren’t influenced by the Aussie typecast of ‘indie music’, “The difference is the fact that they’re not trying to fit a particular indie mould and have just written great, original music that’s influenced by different music globally.

“While there’s an array of amazing music coming out of Australia, I’ve found that a lot of developing local acts are writing/producing music that they believe will have the ‘best’ chance of getting added to triple j, which can work sometimes, but can also leave you without much of an edge in terms of experimenting with new sounds/pushing creative boundaries.”

So why should BIGSOUND industry types lock in some time at the Hear65 showcase?

Heath put it most succinctly when he said,”It’s a great opportunity to be the first in Australia to discover the best new talent from our neighbours in Singapore. Isn’t that what BIGSOUND is all about?”


Check out the video below to find out more about the Hear65 2018 judges. To find out more about the showcase, head to the official Facebook event.

Related articles