Band of brothers

As a big fan of Taylor Swift, he hardly needed convincing to enter his band into ice cream brand Cornetto's 10-week nationwide Ride To Fame competition in February.

Imprompt-3's guitarist-vocalist Douglas Wong rounded up his three band members to try and score a chance to perform before 12,000 people as the opening act during the US pop-country singer's concert at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on June 12.

When the local acoustic rock act - comprising guitarist-vocalist Mark Ng, percussionist Amos Yang and violinist-keyboardist Jensen Tan - beat more than 150 hopefuls and emerged triumphant at the finals held at Cathay Cineleisure Orchard on April 26, Wong was overjoyed.

Imprompt-3 won after a round of public voting.

"I've been a fan since I heard Love Story, so I did some research and thought she's a great singer. It also helps that she is gorgeous," the 28-year-old lawyer told M.

"I also wanted to make my girlfriend happy as she is a huge fan. Obviously, she is over the moon," he added.

Although his bandmates were not equally big fans of the Grammy-winning hitmaker, they gamely joined in.

Ng, 28, said: "We started out as a brotherhood, playing music together and supporting each other. If one of us is a fan, why not do this?"

The members of Imprompt-3 started out in 2008 as neighbours back in Temasek Hall during their National University of Singapore (NUS) days.

They took part in three singing competitions in 2009 - Impresario by Nanyang Technological University's Cultural Activities Club and NUS' Talentquest and Stardust - emerging champions in all three.

Fast forward five years and their bond remains strong as they continue to pursue their interest in music by playing at various gigs and events despite their day jobs.

Ng is a financial consultant, Yang, 28, a teacher and Tan, 25, an engineer.

Imprompt-3 proved to be the crowd's and judges' favourite at Ride To Fame with their unique spin on Hey, Soul Sister by US rock band Train, and an original song titled Believe.


They bagged a Sony HDR-MV1 music video recorder, a pair of Keds shoes and a year's supply of Cornetto ice cream.

They will be mentored until the concert by Singapore Idol 3 winner Sezairi Sezali, who was the opening act for Swift when she performed here in 2011.

Asked what their plan is for their much-anticipated performance, Ng said they would like to sing a couple of original songs and covers, including an original track by fellow Ride To Fame finalist Debbi Koh called Frankenstein.

For Wong, he has more reasons to be excited. "I'm probably going to try and get her to sign my guitar and then maybe take a selfie with her," he joked.

Tips from another opening act

It might have been three years since Sezairi Sezali opened for Taylor Swift, but his memory of it is clear as day.

The local singer said Swift had even delayed her sold-out concert at the Singapore Indoor Stadium to meet him backstage after his set.

"She told me she liked my songs, hugged me and signed her calendar for me. It was a good two minutes, but I can still remember her smell till today," said the 27-year-old, who cites Back to December as his favourite Swift song.

Here, Sezairi shares his tips for Imprompt-3 prior to their performance at her upcoming concert.

Prepare well

"You have to be so well-rehearsed to the point you're not even thinking about your song."

Do not fret over what you should not do

"The stage is where you express yourself, so there are no restrictions. If you harp on this, it will feel very unnatural when you perform."

Live in the moment

"It's all about having fun and enjoying yourself because it will fly right past you and be over before you know it."

This article was published on May 14 in The New Paper.

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