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The cover version of The Sam Willows' "I'm Gonna Be Loved (This Christmas)" leads a donation drive to raise funds for the Children's Cancer Foundation. Screenshots: YouTube/Zendyll Music

Song Of Hope: Local Singers Band Together To Help Children With Cancer

As the year reaches its close, we tend to get reflective. Some will adopt an attitude of gratitude, others, a state of hate.

Admittedly, 2020 has been challenging. And if you've been whining since February about WFH, and overspending on Internet shopping and food deliveries, I'm here to give you a virtual slap and tell you to stop that right now. If 2020 has been "bad" for you, what about for those devoid of jobs, lacking in funds, and suffering from ill health?

Jon Chua, one quarter of The Sam Willows, wants to highlight how (much more) difficult it has been for social service agencies - in particular, the Children's Cancer Foundation (CCF).

"I’ve interacted a lot with the staff at CCF, as well as some of their beneficiaries. And I understand the hard work and pain they have to go through," says Jon. "Understanding their story helps me realise how fortunate I am, with regard to health, family and the future."

As such, the 30-year-old spearheaded a "special project" by Zendyll Records (Jon is its founder and creative director) that rounded up five local singers - Estelle Fly, Dominic Chin, Shak, Shye and Rangga Jones. The result: a cover of The Sam Willows' Christmas song, "I'm Gonna Be Loved (This Christmas)". The song and music video are part of a donation drive to raise funds for CCF.

"We have always believed that sharing and giving is at the heart of music," says Jon. "We made this video with love and 5 of our favourite artistes to celebrate the joyous season and bring more to those who need it more than ourselves."

Watch the music video here:

We speak to Jon about putting this project together, the challenges of 2020, and the promise of good things in 2021.

What prompted you to get this donation drive started?

I’ve been working with CCF for the last 3 years. We usually sponsor their legacy programme, where we help make one of their beneficiary's dream come true by recording an original song in the studio and shooting a music video for them.

This year, we realised their fundraising efforts were limited due to the COVID-19 measures. I feel very strongly about supporting the beneficiaries of CCF because it's the right thing to do. I’m happy my team and peers feel the same way too.

How did you come up with this arrangement?

"I’m Gonna Be Loved" was originally written by The Sam Willows for the Christmas EP in 2018, and I thought the lyrics were very suitable for the cause. One of Zendyll’s producers, Claire Chew was in charge of arranging the music and the team put together some of our favourite rising local artistes. We had to re-record all the instrumentals, and the vocal re-arrangements were done by the Zendyll team.

Tap the picture to go to the CCF donation page on
Tap the picture to go to the CCF donation page on

How will you be spending Christmas this year? And how different will it be from how you normally celebrate the season?

It’ll be in several smaller groups of 5 with friends and family. Usually, I host a Christmas party where all my friends can gather for a good time. This year is going to be different, but I’m still counting my blessings nonetheless.

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced this year?

I think the biggest challenge would be COVID-19 and the measures that were put in place, but of course, they were done so with good reason. But not being able to do live shows and events has taken a huge toll on my business and mental health.

Another big challenge is not being able to travel to Malaysia to see my in-laws and friends; I used to head there at least once a month. It's been difficult not being able to visit someone from another country.

Tap the picture to go to the CCF donation page on

What are you looking forward to in 2021?

I think, like everyone else, I'm looking forward to COVID-19 being a thing of the past and for social interaction to return to what it once was.

This donation drive to benefit the Children's Cancer Foundation is live from now until 7 Jan 2021. Click here to make a donation.

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