Laneway goes local

Laneway goes local
Singapore swings: Gema, Vanessa Fernandez and The Observatory, made up of (from right) Dharma, Bani Haykal, Leslie Low and Vivian Wang, will perform at the festival on Jan 25.

Experimental rockers The Observatory, singer Vanessa Fernandez and electronic producer Gema will be the first local acts to take the stage at Laneway, Life! can exclusively reveal, when the popular indie music festival returns for the fourth year in January.

The event had previously featured only foreign musicians, many of whom are acclaimed in the indie music scene.

The Singapore acts were chosen by Laneway co-founder and curator Danny Rogers, who described the three acts as "truly worthy of their position among this incredible group of artists".

He tells Life!: "My pals on the ground sent me their music and I felt they all had a genuine international feel to them. I am also assured that all of them could more than hold their own on a festival stage."

Fernandez, 31, is "completely over the moon" about getting to play at Laneway.

"It is a great opportunity to present Singapore acts side-by-side with acts from around the world. I talked to Danny Rogers and the rest of the organisers and they are true music fans. Laneway festival is known for focusing on up-and- coming artists and music that is new and exciting," says the ex-singer for homegrown hip-hop/pop/rock acts Urban Xchange and Parking Lot Pimp.

Her recently released debut EP, Fly, has received favourable reviews from the American music media, with LA Weekly praising her voice for its ability to do "volitations ranging from angelic hymns to caged bird blues".

The upcoming line-up at Laneway, to be held at Gardens by the Bay, comprises 15 global bands, including major names in the indie scene such as American trio Haim, British band Savages and Scottish group Chvrches.

St Jerome's Laneway Festival, to call it by its full name, has its beginnings in Melbourne in 2004 and has since gone global.

Held annually in Australian cities such as Brisbane and Adelaide, the festival organised by concert promoters Chugg Entertainment has also branched out to Auckland, New Zealand, as well as Detroit in the United States.

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