Our Answer To Pharrell: Yung Raja
From street-savvy odes about Mustafa Centre to viral parodies of the “Gucci Gang” brouhaha, there’s nothing this charming rapper won’t do. The 22-year-old started flaunting his silver-tongued flow and show-stealing charisma as a hype man at clubs, and has since become quite the budding hip-hop phenom, complete with fashionable Pharrell-esque pink hair. His X-factor: his authenticity and devotion to his roots — he’s a self-professed “brown superstar” who raps in Tamil and English. Just check out his infectious, M03 Records-endorsed debut single Mustafa — its hyper-stylised video’s already racked up over 600,000 Youtube views.
The Chameleon Chanteuse: Ffion
With breathy, velvety smooth vocals reminiscent of R&B crooners like Corinne Bailey Rae that’ll give you goosebumps, this demure songbird’s rise to fame is inevitable. UK-born and SG-bred, she first gained attention doing Youtube covers seven years ago. Now 22 and having worked with industry veterans like Vanessa Fernandez and the producer Fauxe, she’s confidently whipping up sensual, close-to-home tunes about romance and relationships. Heart-tuggers like Rumours and I Miss You, released last year, have clocked over a million streams on Spotify. The new modern pop sound of Personal, her debut single release (Oct 26) with Warner Music Singapore, is likely to mean even more.
The Fresh Prince of Rap: Fariz Jabba
This fledgling emcee could very well be our Fresh Prince. Since blowing up last year with freestyle rap videos on social media, the 21-year-old has graced top-tier stages like Baybeats and the Ignite! Music Festival, winning the ardour of both wide-eyed punters and regional rappers like Malaysia’s Sonaone and Joe Flizzow. Aside from being a grandiloquent rapper who spits rhymes in both Malay and English — nod your head to his fiery hit Ape Sia — he also shines as a singer, dancer and actor, making him one multitalented maverick who’s giving the scene a cool new edge.
The Indie Idol: Celine Autumn
Her band, Sobs, has a nascent yet triumphant reputation, and as frontwoman, this 21-year-old commands with infectious insouciance and an understated swagger. Despite this endearingly lackadaisical disposition, she’s been instrumental in thrusting the 2017-born act into the spotlight. Her rounded, swell-for-summer vocals perk up her bandmates’ soporific guitar hooks, completing a ripe indie-pop package that modern-day beatniks can’t get enough of. If you’re one of the latter, pick up their sparkling debut Telltale Signs, a full-length album that launched in June, or head to this month’s Neon Lights music festival, where they play alongside globally acclaimed acts such as Caribou and Rhye.
Read more on the next page.