Monteiro: Be proud of local music

Monteiro: Be proud of local music
Local jazz musician Jeremy Monteiro.

In a Facebook post on Monday, Singapore jazz veteran Jeremy Monteiro urged local musicians to "stand by (their original composition) and perform it with conviction and confidence" while developing a "thick skin to accept critique and just keep doing it".

He based it on his own experience as a home-grown artist, adding that he has been guilty of feeling a "mix of shyness, humility maybe, unsureness almost like an apology in advance" when performing original work both here and overseas.

Monteiro, 55, compares this against a sense of "conviction and respect, sometimes reverence" when performing music by international composers and lyricists.

When contacted yesterday, Monteiro said we should be proud of the soaring standards of home-grown music.

"It has gone up in stretches and reached the highest level of acceptance in the music industry in the world.

"Even coming from me, someone who has been in the industry for many years, when asked to play my own composition on an international stage, I used to doubt if it is good enough," said Monteiro, who wants to share this "newfound confidence" with musicians in Singapore.


In his post, Monteiro mentions several Singaporean musicians to take note of, including Lenny Wee, singer-songwriter Charlie Lim and indie band The Sam Willows.

Some local musicians that TNP spoke to agreed with Monteiro's comment.

Said veteran composer Dick Lee, 58: "It is probably because most of these musicians are not really confident in songwriting.

"Perhaps, they also lack exposure and platforms to showcase their original songs and compositions, because usually the Singapore audience is not really interested in locally-produced music."

Musician Randolf Arriola, 49, added: "This is a common thing in Singapore because of our culture. It is not about the quality of their compositions and works, it is the Singapore audience who is not ready.

"Even though the music pieces written by local composers and musicians may be good, the audience is still more oriented towards popular music, which is usually written and produced by international artistes and musicians."

The Oddfellows' frontman Patrick Chng, 47, disagreed.

"The local songwriters and composers I have come across seemed pretty confident of the songs they have written."

This article was first published on May 22, 2015.
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