With her jazzy vocals and easy-on-the-ear guitar arrangements, Mars B’s debut EP Still — released last November — is easily one of the most infectious homegrown soul records of recent years. As the self-taught musician with an instantly recognisable halo of auburn curls puts it, the four-track album is perfect for “vibing”.
She might have a penchant for experimental hair colour and bold jewellery (nose piercing included), but Joie Tan’s eponymous 2018 debut album brims with slow-burning love ballads that make her our indie answer to Taylor Swift.
Now that her tropical pop rock group Specific Islander is on hiatus, frontwoman Joanne Cheah is focusing on Semut Semut, the experimental electronic act she formed with guitarist/long-time beau Fahruddin Hamid. Named after the colloquial Malay term for pins and needles, the act sees the 27-year-old’s lulling vocals melded with ambient synths for what she describes as a “meditative and cathartic” experience.
This experimental solo artist known for her unexpected live loops and vocal percussions went global last year with her soporific contributions to the soundtrack for the Oscar-shortlisted documentary Shirkers. Now, Weish is focusing on something closer to home: a new album for her electronic band .gif — due out early this year — and playing musical director for an upcoming production by Checkpoint Theatre.
With her neo-synthpop group Disco Hue, the demure Sherlyn Leo puts a wry twist on feel-good ’90s urban tunes. For its debut “coming-of-age” album The Yearbook — due for release this year — the band riffs on another music movement from the era — and one that Gen Z’s obsessed about: boy band sounds a la Nsync and Shinee.
Malay-American rapper Huda Hellru might not be a household name yet, but her catchy feminist rap anthem Run That S**t brings to mind the sounds of rising Californian hip-hop sweetheart Saweetie with its brazen verses and smoky vocals. Throw in her modelesque good looks, and this 20-year-old is certainly one to watch.
The stage name Celine Autumn perfectly captures this 20-year-old’s infectiously effervescent personality and dulcet voice (her last name is actually Lim). Now, she and her indie band Sobs are prepping for the launch of their second EP — less than a year after the release of their sparkling, guitar-drenched debut album Telltale Signs.
Photography Nicole Ngai, assisted by Julian Tan Styling Imran Jalal, assisted by Jiayi Lim Hair Junz Loke/Hairloom, using Kevin.Murphy Makeup Sha Shamsi, using Dior Location Six Senses Maxwell
This story first appeared in Female’s February 2019 issue.