The Final 1 contestants set out on own music projects

The Final 1 contestants set out on own music projects
(From left) Glen Wee, Winston Koh, Johnson Cheung and Yuresh Balakrishnan make up Stillsunrise.

COUPLE ACT

Most viewers would remember Hashy Yusof as the dreamy-voiced statuesque belle of The Final 1.

Hashy, who made it to the Top 11 of the local reality TV singing competition which aired over Channel 5 last April, earned herself a string of male admirers during her stint. Indeed, some even professed their interest in dating her.

But it was fellow contestant Marc Than who captured her heart with his tireless support during The Final 1, which was judged by Ken Lim, Kit Chan and Taufik Batisah, and won by Farisha Ishak.

The couple, who have been dating since the competition last year, have teamed up to form musical duo Marc X Hashy.

Together, they released their first single, Battles, on Valentine's Day this year and have plans for a follow-up and EP.

Battles, which is about overcoming odds, was written by Hashy after she was voted out of the show.

The 20-year-old, who will graduate from Temasek Polytechnic this month with a diploma in aerospace engineering, told M: "Things weren't going so well for me. The Final 1 was a good experience and I was happy to get as far as I did, but it was upsetting that I was voted out.

"Battles is about finding strength to get through setbacks."

Than, 30, a sales and marketing manager, added: "We were also going through a rough time in our relationship, given our busy schedules. But we got through that and tried to be there for each other, so that is what Battles is about."

Despite the disappointment at not bagging the $50,000 recording contract with Lim's company Hype Records and $50,000 cash prize, Hashy cheekily joked: "At least I won him as a prize."

Than added: "We like to think we've won in the competition - we have each other."

SIGHTS SET ON MORE CONTESTS

She did not finish well during The Final 1.

But guitar-strumming Top 8 finalist Debbi Koh did not let that stop her from joining another singing competition.

The 18-year-old music student from Lasalle College of the Arts recently entered Cornetto's Ride to Fame contest for a chance to open for Grammy-winning US country-pop superstar Taylor Swift at her upcoming sold-out concert here on June 12.

Debbi made the Top 5 out of around 150 entries, but eventually lost to quartet Imprompt-3.

She said: "I was 16 when I joined The Final 1. For someone so young, it was overwhelming and I was just sailing along confused. Now, I'm more confident and want to push myself through exposure in competitions."

Debbi said that her age is an advantage and she wants to gain more experiences and develop her talent in the next few years.

Aside from performing at gigs and private functions, she is working towards releasing her self-penned single Frankenstein and an EP.

Does she have her sights set on even more competitions in the future?

"Sure, but maybe one with no voting involved!" she said.

'WORK IN PROGRESS'

When The Final 1 contestant and charming crooner Glen Wee made it to the Top 4, he moved the audience with an original heartfelt self-penned track called Untitled.

The song was reworked and released as a single last month with his band, Stillsunrise, which was formed during the competition.

The group, which is influenced by folk music, includes fellow The Final 1 competitor Yuresh Balakrishnan, as well as Wee's long-time friends Johnson Cheung and Winston Koh, all in their early 20s.

Untitled, a song about heartbreak, would not have materialised without the help of Wee's bandmates.

Said Wee, who is dating Debbi Koh: "(To cut a) long story short, I didn't have the best girlfriend experience and it was a very confusing time for me.

"Fortunately, I had an outlet, which was a brown piece of paper on which I wrote this song. I brought it to the band and they each had a part in the final product. It made me feel a lot better."

For Stillsunrise, songwriting has always been a collaborative process and storytelling in their music is key.

Said Yuresh: "We write (our songs) based on everyday emotions so people can relate (to them) easily. We're not the most jolly bunch and we'd like to write something that tugs on heartstrings."

Listeners can get a taste of their music in July, when they release their debut EP.

Added Yuresh: "As a band, we're still a work in progress and there's still a lot to achieve in terms of musicality and exposure. But we have a common outlook and it helps to get where we want to be."

This article was published on May 7 in The New Paper.

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