The 19-year-old Singapore musician Shye loves K-pop, particularly the scene’s new-gen supersized groups such as Ateez and Stray Kids, which each boasts eight members; SF9 (nine naturally); and of course the “biggest boy band in the world”: the Guinness World Record-breaking, Grammy-recognised septet BTS. (“Would you like a 10-page essay?” she replies in jest when asked to explain her adoration for these idols.)
As of now, she might not share their fame or cultural impact. Yet in the three years that she’s been putting out music officially under her mononymous moniker (her full name is Shye-Anne Brown), one can say that she’s like these acts compacted into one enigmatic young female artiste in terms of skills and – we dare say – talent.
While she has ventured beyond the lo-fi, teenage-romance-soaked sounds of bedroom pop that launched her career, she still writes and creates most of her music on her own in the room that she grew up in.
Following her genre-spanning, self-produced 2020 debut album Days to Morning Glory, her next single is an electronic and trap-infused ditty about recognising one’s self-worth titled Not Rly to be released “as soon as possible”.
It will be accompanied by her first official music video directed by local filmmaker Jasper Tan with her weighing in on its look and feel (“I basically wanted it to look like an upgrade from my usual DIY videos without looking too polished… Expect to see me having fun and going a bit crazy,” she says).
Spy the Stories on her Instagram account @shye.mp3 and one might catch home videos of her expertly breaking out the moves to the latest K-pop hit. She’s in fact a trained dancer having studied the likes of ballet, Chinese dance, tap and jazz since she was three, but stopped about six years ago – K-pop got her back into it last December.
And like many Gen Z K-pop personalities, she does more than music. A growing number of fashion brands have been turning to her as a budding fashion plate.
In March, for example, she revealed a campaign that she had done with Uniqlo for its Airism line. A month later, she was among an exclusive group of local musicians invited to the (social distancing-regulated) screening of Gucci’s Aria show for which she had styled herself (she matched a short and sporty monogram-printed dress from the label’s GG Multicolor collection with black knee-high socks, heeled oxfords and graphic wingtips along the eyes; the effect not unlike that of a chic and rebellious schoolgirl).
There’s an upcoming game show-style Youtube miniseries that features her alongside other young creatives and a major showcase of which details she had to keep under wraps at press time.
“I think a lot of my independence stems largely from how I had started out making music when I did not have the right equipment and did not know anything about music or anyone who was doing it.”Shye
When asked what else she would like to achieve in her last year of teenhood, she lets on that she would like to try out for a musical, pandemic-permitting. It wouldn’t be her first – she had played one of the orphans in Annie the first time the Broadway sensation was staged here in 2012.
“I think a lot of my independence stems largely from how I had started out making music when I did not have the right equipment and did not know anything about music or anyone who was doing it,” she says (fun fact: she had recorded her 2018 EP Augus7ine using the microphone on her Apple earphones).
“Doing something new is always a bit scary, but I’ve enjoyed what I’ve been learning so I have just ridden out the little bumps along the way. The sense of fulfilment one gets far outweighs the difficulties and it’s better to have tried than not at all. That is my commitment to myself.”
BTS, are you looking for a new member?
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