Michael & Relyne beat 10 other finalists to win Eco Music Challenge 2014

The band "Michael & Relyne" has won the Eco Music Challenge (EMC) 2014, beating 10 other finalists in the Competition Finals held at The Star Terrace of The Star Performing Arts Theatre this evening. Organised by the National Environment Agency (NEA) for the fifth year, the Eco Music Challenge is a national songwriting competition that encourages music talents of all ages to submit original music compositions with the aim of inspiring more people to cherish the environment and conserve resources.

The winning song, titled "手牵手" or "Hand in hand" in English, will be the official theme song for Clean and Green Singapore (CGS) 2015. The year-long CGS programme aims to inspire Singaporeans to care for and protect the environment by adopting eco-friendly practices as an integral part of their daily lives. Band members Michael Kek and Relyne Ban were inspired to write this song while watching children playing at the playground. The song aims to convey the importance of preserving the environment for future generations to enjoy.

"Wan Wen and the Go Green Girls", a group of best friends and students from East View Primary School, have also won this year's EMC Young Musician Award. The girls penned their song "Let's Lend Nature A Hand" after being inspired by their school's Mind, Body and Soul (Music) programme. "We are really happy to be a part of the competition and win the Young Musician Award. It is great to know that our song will help inspire others to care for the environment. We will continue to do our part to keep Singapore clean and green," said the girls.

EMC 2014 saw a total of 208 submissions, a 20 per cent increase from last year. 11 finalists were shortlisted from the entries, who then attended three weeks of training under the mentorship of well-known music producer Ruth Ling, veteran musician Clement Chow, popular local singer-songwriter Jack Ho, and Timbre co-founder Danny Loong. The mentors provided training and guidance on lyrics, music arrangement, instrumentation, vocals and showmanship to the finalists for three weeks. The finalists were also given live performance opportunities to hone their skills at Timbre @Substation.

Being under the mentorship of these established names definitely played a part in helping the finalists give their best performances. Winners Michael and Relyne said, "Our schedules were quite difficult to align, but Ruth Ling did her best to accommodate us and for her to make that sacrifice really touched us. She encouraged us to push ourselves to make our performance bigger and better." Runner-up Andrew Wang added, "Our mentor Danny Loong treated us more like friends than as his mentees. He taught us how to perform on stage and not just play the music. He really showed how experienced he is, and his music sensibilities were spot on."

"The Eco Music Challenge has helped bring together many talented individuals to inspire others, through songs and performances, to play their part in cultivating a clean and green environment in Singapore. Music is an effective means of expressing our care for the environment. The higher number of entries this year shows that the community today is even more enthusiastic about expressing this connection with the environment," said NEA's Chief Executive Officer Mr Ronnie Tay.

The winners are:

Top Prize: "手牵手" or "Hand in hand" by Michael & Relyne

2nd Prize: "Only Home" by Andrew Wang

3rd Prize: "1 Step, 2 Step" by Hui Lu and Waii Loong

Young Musician Award: "Let's Lend Nature A Hand" by Wan Wen and the Go Green Girls

Most Popular Song: "1 Step, 2 Step" by Hui Lu and Waii Hoong