Spotify Spotlight: A Look Back At The Hottest Singapore Releases In Sep 2023
September 2023 was hot, hot, hot. And we’re not just referring to the daily maximum temperature of 33°C to 34°C on most days. Ugh. We’re talking about something a lot more welcoming – the most fire homegrown music releases on Spotify.
The month kicked off quietly strong with singles from singer-songwriters Charlie Lim and aeriqah, before we saw full-length albums from Sezairi, Nathan Hartono and Shelby Wang.
We kick off our September rewind playlist with the most recent single, “Vinnmin” (“star” in Tamil), from Shabir.
Shabir featuring Prithivee: "VinnMin"
In one line: This impassioned single (“VinnMin” is “star” in Tamil) – featuring a Nadaswaram (Indian horn) hook that’s catchy AF, and equally captivating vocals by Tamil indie artist Pithivee – is an exciting preview of the upcoming album “NGRKVi” by singer-songwriter-producer Shabir, a bona fide star himself.
In one line: An extensive vocal range ICEBOX (aka Leo) may showcase in this single (we’re talking about dropping to a warm, whispery low F-sharp, and hitting a stratospheric D-sharp), but never once does he over-sing this heartbreaking masterpiece.
LAYYI featuring YAØ: "homebody"
In one line: This easy, breezy single by Top Radar Artist SG&MY 2022 LAYYI is the anthem introverts, newly-single lovers and WFH champions everywhere have been waiting for.
Nathan Hartono: "The Great Regression"
In one line: “For the last few years I’ve been more of a hermit than usual”, writes Nathan Hartono in a recent Instagram post about his first full album, which is so-titled as a nod to his struggles with his career and mental health, and his journey of self-(re)discovery.
Vivien Yap: "nothing is ok rn"
In one line: We’re particularly obsessed with the post-grunge vibes of “AHHH”, and the oh-so-relatable sentiment of “MY BEST” (“I’m trying my best, but everything’s a mess”), whether it’s navigating relationships, work, or just life itself; “…if this were to be my last EP, it is perfect” writes Vivien in an IG post, and we couldn’t agree more.
In one line: All we can say, especially in this scorching Singapore weather, is that award-winning hip-hop artist ALYPH should have been more careful what he wished for when he sang, “Aku nak heat” (“I want heat) in this sizzling single.
Aaron Bunac and Owen Li: "Overdue"
In one line: These two legit singer-singers (just check out their insane riffs, range, and resonance) also lend their pipes to The Island Voices, and we honestly feel this chill duet of stunning vocals (they blend oh so well!) and outstanding musicality is way overdue.
Gen Neo: "Stay"
In one line: The force of 90s R&B is strong with this one, and we can’t get enough of it; you can literally feel the yearning in Gen’s delivery of the title line “can you just stay”. (We’re pleading the same thing of Gen – to remain in the music industry, that is!)
hongjoin and RENE: "we grew up together"
In one line: If you enjoy brooding, languishing, and a generally melancholic state of being, this collab between hongjoin and RENE is the perfect single to get you in the mood.
Shelby Wang (王曉敏): "BLUE-HOO"
In one line: This debut album by Shelby Wang is pop at its bubblegum best, starting with a quirky upbeat opening number that puts the listener in the shoes – or rather, fins – of a bubble-eyed goldfish swimming out of its comfort zone.
In one line: Vikkash Suruchand’s solo project as Morsecodes has borne some pretty hardcore fruit: “Mother” is his third single under this moniker, after “Every Soul Shall Taste Death” in April, and February’s “No Man’s Land”; it’s a steely slow burn leading up to a new album slated for release at the end of the year.
Sezairi: "Self Soothing"
According to an IG post on the date of this album’s release, superstar Sezairi proclaimed the making of “Self Soothing” to be “the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done in my life, period” – the energy, emotion, and enjoyment of music-making here is decidedly palpable.
aeriqah: "House Parties"
In one line: Listening to this self-confessed storyteller’s songs is food for the soul; seemingly prosaic observations of everyday life and random core memories, when set to the gentle strumming of her indie-folk guitar and delivered in her dulcet timbre, transform into pure mellifluous poetry - we like!
Charlie Lim, Linying and Katz: "Definitely"
In one line: The complex beauty of this single really lies in its repetitive chant-like four-chord song structure (born out of a spontaneous jam session), overlaid with a languid, drifting melody, which even Linying's lyrics allude to: “like a vortex, a well / with no visible end / or a confusing spell / cast and lifted again” – we recommend getting happily lost in the windmills of these creative minds!