Actress fronts Ugly in the Morning

SINGAPORE - Theater personality Pam Oei, 41, is releasing her inner rock chick as the new frontman of home-grown rock band Ugly In The Morning.

"I like their music so much," said Oei, who is known for being part of the musical cabaret trio Dim Sum Dollies.

"Music is my first love.

Singing with a live band has always been my first love."

The comedian snagged the spot two months ago, sealing the deal with a handshake at the end of a session with the members.

The band had called for auditions to replace their former vocalist, Eric Lee, who has been with them since they started in 1999.

To pay homage to Lee, they played their last gig with him on Saturday at Hood Bar and Cafe at Bugis+.

Guitarist David Baptista, 41, said that Lee, their lead singer of 14 years, was leaving to concentrate on his family and career.

Over the phone with My Paper yesterday, the bubbly Oei was bursting with enthusiasm over her role as lead singer.

The mother of a two-year-old son said she's keen to get into the studio to jam with her four members, including guitarist Noel Ong, bassist Clement Yang and drummer Ling Pin.

"I saw their (post) on their Facebook page and texted my friend, Noel, about auditioning. He thought it was a joke," said Oei, who has known Ong since she was seven years old.

The quintet are working on their third album, and the actress will be involved in writing the lyrics and music too.

Fans looking forward to Oei's outing with the funkrock band may have to wait till the end of the year, when they "hope to be able to come out and do a show".

Baptista said: "We are ready for something new, a little bit of a change.

While we might not change much music-wise, Pam will bring a female perspective to the lyrical content."

In fact, this isn't Oei's first stab at fronting a band. She was the lead singer of the defunct folk-rock band Peculiar Remedies, which started in 1998.

Baptista said: "We've gone to her shows. We know she can sing and is not afraid to be on stage.

She would be great at interacting with the crowd."

The talented Oei has carved a name for herself in the Singapore entertainment scene over the past 16 years - taking on roles in theatre, television and movies.

She starred in last year's controversial Singapore film, Sex.Violence.

FamilyValues, helmed by her writer-director husband, Ken Kwek.

She also directed her first full-length production, Hansel & Gretel, last year.

Baptista said: "I would love it if her fans from theatre or other works (liked) our music... It would be nice to see new faces (in the audience)."

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