Shout-out for Noise 10 years on

Pop-rock band The Summer State.

For the past decade, Noise Singapore, a youth creativity platform, has been humming along - incubating the likes of indie musician Inch Chua and rapper Shigga Shay.

Pairing young talents aged 17 to 35 with professionals in the fields of music, art, design and photography, Noise encouraged mentorship, apprenticeship and the creation of new works.

Ten years and about 6,000 participants on, the National Arts Council initiative is celebrating with a special showcase of its alumni.

Chua, Shigga Shay and pop-rock band The Summer State are among past Noise participants who will perform at a two-day concert at the end of this month.

An arts market with 80 art, retail and food vendors will also be held.

From Oct 24 to Nov 8, there will also be an exhibition of works by 20 former mentees from the Noise arts programme.

Mr Kenneth Kwok, the arts council's director for arts and youth, says that Noise Singapore has been steadily growing since its inception in 2006.

"We're proud to have been able to offer diverse opportunities for our young people to encounter the arts and express their creativity," he adds.

For Chua, who was part of the pioneer batch of music mentees, Noise Singapore lays the foundation for an aspiring musician's education.

"It gives you a taste of performing on a bigger platform and picking up skills such as learning to interact with the media," she says.

The singer-songwriter, who also goes by the stage name iNCH, was based in Los Angeles before returning to live on Pulau Ubin for a spell.

She has released two full-length albums, an EP and performed on world stages including the South By Southwest (SXSW) music festival in Austin, Texas in the United States.

Chua, 27, who was in the programme since 2005, before the mentorship component started, adds that Noise Singapore's initiative gears "participants towards building a career".

The Summer State's bassist Edwin Waliman, 24, says he and his four band mates owe the progress they have made after signing up for the programme in 2011 to Noise.

The band released an EP two years ago which has sold close to 500 copies and briefly topped the iTunes rock charts in Singapore.

He says: "It was really the trigger for us to turn a hobby into a potential career. Before that, we were jamming for fun."

This year, 10 local music stalwarts, such as music producer Leonard Soosay and guitarist Daniel Sassoon, guided 18 bands and solo musicians of varying experience under the Noise music mentorship programme.

It is not the only music mentorship programme in town. Esplanade's Baybeats Festival - an alternative music festival that showcases Singapore bands alongside international ones - has a Budding Bands scheme that selects eight bands for mentors to work with.

Noise's current mentees went through a four-month mentorship programme earlier this year, which culminates in a three-day concert from tonight at the Esplanade.

One band is alt-rock band Efficient Public Transport. Formed last year, the five-member band decided to sign up for the mentorship programme after noticing how it improved the bands which went through it.

Guitarist Nazreen Osman, a 27-year-old engineer, tells Life: "We saw the amount of support our friends such as the band Take Two got and how they matured musically. We wanted that for ourselves."

For another participant, national serviceman Lewis Loh, 19, the programme is a way to get his foot in the door of the music scene.

Before, he was mainly uploading onto YouTube videos of himself singing in his bedroom.

Of his mentors, local singers Sara Wee and Vanessa Fernandez, the singer-songwriter says: "If I need help with any music-related matters, I know that they are there. That's one of the best things about the programme."


WHERE: Esplanade Outdoor Theatre and Concourse
WHEN: Today to Sunday, various timings from 7.30pm


WHERE: Lawn @ The Foothills at Fort Canning Park
WHEN: Oct 30 and 31, 5 to 11pm


WHERE: Galeris Nila & Utama @ The Foothills at Fort Canning Park
WHEN: Oct 24 to Nov 8, 11am to 8pm

This article was first published on October 2, 2015.
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