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Jason Yu may have served his NS with the commandos, but he's a real softie (soft serve?) at heart - aiyah, like all romantics lah! Photo: Jason Yu

Spotify Spotlight: Jason Yu (Aka How NS In Commandos Shaped His Music Career)

Ah, love is in the air, aka Valentine's Day is fast approaching. And if you need some musical inspiration when you think of romantic ideas to surprise bae with, then this week's Spotify Spotlight is sure to bring out the Romeo in you. 

Infused with intimacy and affection, "Make Her Mine" by singer-songwriter Jason Yu is the 4th single off his upcoming EP, "Ideals", which will be released in mid-March.

We talk to the 26-year-old's journey with music and how his NS stint shaped his career.

Your songs centre around the subject of love and the condition of the heart. How did the Casanova singer-songwriter in you emerge?

I've loved singing since a very young age, and spent a lot of free time just singing out loud to the visualiser in Windows Media Player back when I was in primary school. I'd print out lyrics of songs that I liked and bring them to school just so that I could sing those songs to myself softly during class .

Growing up, I dabbled here and there in open mics and competitions but never really got anywhere with it. It wasn't until I was close to completing my National Service (#ORD loh) that I took up busking for fun. Putting myself out on the streets of Orchard Road really got me a lot of opportunities and greater exposure to the music scene. This kinda started the ball rolling and I seriously considered music as a career.

I'm finishing up my Bachelor of Music at Monash University, in Melbourne, where I spent most of my time the past four years.

You mentioned that you started busking as you neared your ORD. Which NS unit were you from? Did NS shape your musical journey in any way?

I was from the Commandos, and my NS stint there was definitely gruelling. I learnt a lot about myself, and about pushing past the limitations we set upon ourselves. It taught me that a good attitude and perseverance can help us achieve more than we think we're capable of. And that philosophy is something I carry throughout my endeavors in life, or, in this particular case, my career and journey in music.

Pursuing a career in music in Singapore, or anywhere for that matter, comes with a fair number of challenges. I like to quote Jim Carrey on how I respond to the obstacles that I've faced so far: "You can fail at what you don't want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”

Just from the title, "Make Her Mine" is obviously a love song. Tell us more about the inspiration behind this single.

We’ve all had moments in our lives when we’ve fallen head over heels for someone, and "Make Her Mine" is a song for those sentimental moments. Whether you’re crushing hard on someone, or going all out to chase them, the song speaks of a simpler, more innocent kind of romance, reminiscent of the adventures of our youth.

I had so much fun bringing "Make Her Mine" to life because it’s so different to what my listeners are used to. It’s nice sometimes to be able to pause life for just a bit, and look back at the older, simpler days.

The song is done in the style of an indie-pop tune, and this change in instrumentation/genre brings about a breath of fresh air for my listeners. Also, it's a fun track that's perfect for adding some energy into your daily routines - whether you’re on a morning commute or sweating it out with a workout.

Or if you need a background track to a cute love story, this would be it.

The numbers don't lie - looks like your music really connects with people everywhere! What are some of the highlights of your journey so far?

I've amassed a significant following on social media and reached a million streams on streaming platforms like Spotify. My music also charted on the Viral 50 Spotify playlists in Singapore, Indonesia and Taiwan with my debut single "Hearts Release", and my subsequent releases received attention and features on major radio stations and editorials such as 987FM, Power98, Men’s Folio and HerWorld. I'm definitely working hard to become one of the most prolific artistes in the region. on Spotify

Yes! We're on Spotify. Check out our "I M SGPN" playlist comprising all the cool local artists we feature in our Spotify Spotlight series:

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