This year has been exceptionally rough on every one. Just the music industry alone, touring and live performances have been at a standstill during this time (although yay to pilot events being kicked off!), affecting direct physical engagement, live experiences and income for both artists and music lovers.
Even with limited resources and the inability to be able to physically build a connection or relationship (be it work or personal) with people locally and overseas, we have made do with the inconvenient situation of a pandemic and can we just say thank goodness for technology? This year has seen a constant stream of new music and music collaborations by local artists. With what we are all going through, we believe in doing what we can in this trying time, working together and helping one another in this small community of ours, and coming out of it stronger than before. Here at Popwire, we pay homage to the top 10 music collaborations of 2020 by local artists in no particular order:
1. Lincoln Lim & Houg, Feel Like (Dancing Alone)
‘Feel Like (Dancing Alone)’ sums up the bliss of a healthy relationship that is trusting and comforting, allowing you to dance on your own without any mistrust. The single was released together with a Houg remix version, celebrating the duality of Lincoln Lim and Houg, showcasing two radically different mixing and mastering approaches to the same track.
Rewrite, reinvent and redirect. Malaysian Indiepop band, Son Of A Policeman and Singaporean producer DSML teamed up to release ‘LADY LUCK’ in June of this year. As with the ever-relatable tune of how life is fluid, while the past and future are yours to dictate, ‘LADY LUCK’ was written as a metaphorical middle finger to the tides of fate.
Pop-R&B earworm ‘Love Is’ is a reflective celebration of the glass-half-full times of relationships, whether romantic, platonic, familial, or just one your ownself. Taken off Singaporean producer, evanturetime’s upcoming slow-burn of an upcoming EP in 2021, the three artists combined forces exploring the joyful moments in their individual relationships with this track, blending evanturetime’s clean found-sound production style with YAØ’s RnB melodies and HE1ST’s pop musicality.
This track alone is exuding the theme of collaboration. Teaming up with vocal powerhouse (and some say Japanese equivalent of Alicia Keys) Miho Fukuhara, ‘Ashes’ captures the feeling of longing and loneliness resulted from being forced to be at a distance from loved ones. While struggling to reconcile with loss and life’s ongoing changes, ‘Ashes’ serves to reignite one’s faith to hold on for the proverbial silver lining. The duet’s lyrics is in both English and Japanese, marking Charlie Lim’s first time singing in Japanese. The song also features the sensitive piano and arrangement work of Chok Kerong, one of Charlie Lim’s frequent collaborators who co-produced the track with him. To top it off, the single artwork features the work of Kohei Kondo, who has worked with several Japanese artists including pop ambient duo Chocolat & Akito and Sapporo rock outfit sleepy.ab.
5. Dru Chen, Dr Fink & Harts, Givin’ It Up
Rising Singaporean soul and funk artist, Dru Chen collaborated with Dr. Fink (member of The Revolution – legendary multi-instrumentalist Prince’s band) and Indian – Australian guitarist, Harts on this one. With influences of electro-funk and the ‘90s nu-disco, the single, ‘Givin’ It Up’ is an anthem for those infatuated with a certain someone; who are willing to give it all up in the name of love. To say this latest released funk-driven track has a striking contrast compared to Dru’s previous singles, ‘Future Me + U’ and ‘Who We R’ is a huge understatement.
6. Vandetta, feat. AngelK, Kim Olsen and Masia One, My Dough
Electronic singer-songwriter Vandetta gathered her girl gang of female rappers including AngelK, Kim Olsen and MASIA ONE to release 2 versions of the bodacious hip-hop gem, ‘My Dough’ which includes an all English version, as well as a bilingual version of AngelK rapping in Mandarin. The single is Vandetta’s fierce social conscience amplified with the contributions of the AngelK, Kim Olsen and MASIA ONE, taking a hard look at themselves and their relationship with money.
Thought provoking, combined with catchy hooks and a outspoken commentary on the current state of affairs in the world, multidisciplinary artist and singer-songwriter, inch tagged team with fellow rapper ShiGGa Shay on this track. The release of ‘Flags’ signified many things including celebrating exploration, occupation determination, flags that stake ownership to name a few. inch donated all proceeds of this track made from July to September this year to H.O.M.E – the Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics, a Singapore-based charity dedicated to empowering and supporting migrant workers who find themselves victims of human rights violations suffer abuse and exploitation.
8. Caspar and Haven, Love Again
For the upcoming artists to be known, there is German-Balinese Singapore based singer-songwriter and producer, Caspar and local artist, Haven. They met during a casual meet up. Both only 17 years old, ‘Love Again’ sums up their passage as growing teenagers, their feelings of love, frustrations, entanglements and being unsure in one very catchy upbeat tune. Think of this track as an adolescent version of SG Lewis and AlunaGeorge, put together with a piano accompaniment that gets stuck in your head.
As if they already felt the world’s momentum before the COVID-induced lockdown, Japanese Pop outfit, UQiYO came up with the idea of a song expressing, “Being physically separated from loved ones, but connecting the heart and soul by transcending time and space”. Having met in Japan before the COVID pandemic, both UQiYO and Singaporean artist, MARICELLE used one of UQiYO’s unfinished loop tracks, and recorded the single, ‘lo V er’ in separate rooms without seeing each other’s faces. The track itself feels as though 2 lovers are transcending through space and time, 2 worlds that have never met, but coming together to produce a magically balanced harmony inside your brain.
With the recent release of his third album, ‘Spirits’, Singapore veteran producer and homie, Intriguant serves up futuristic break-beats of the 90s, garage bass heavy textures similar to Burial and Zomby. While it has been some time since we’ve had a late-night party, ‘Spirits’ is spot on reminiscent of those good nights and yet suitable for the experience of personal home listening too. The collab track ‘How abt now?’ with fellow electronic producer and part of Darker Than Wax, fzpz, is the most ostentatious one out of the whole album, being layered with synths and glitches, yet still remaining true to its form of bringing the listener into space and absorbing these latent energies that come out of the album. The album ‘Spirits’ is now available physically as vinyl at The Analog Vault.