Amidst the plethora of young local bands dabbling in the usual genres of indie or rock, Afterglow stands out by identifying itself as a neo-soul band with roots in jazz, funk and blues.

In fact, their unique sound was the reason they landed a coveted spot as one of the 18 mentees under Noise Singapore’sThe Music Mentorship (TMM) 2014.

“Their kind of music is really different from the other bands that auditioned. They were the only ones that sounded like them,” their mentor Eddino Abdul Hadi explains. Afterglow is the only band in the programme with two mentors, and Bani Haykal is the other.

Afterglow-TimbreSubstation1The Unplanned Audition

What is impressive about this band is that they only started rehearsing for their set 2 days before the Noise Mentorship auditions in March. Vocalist and band leader Beth Yap, 20, describes it as a “frantic experience”, before shooting a look at their drummer, Yap Ting Wei, 21.

“I submitted [TMM audition form] under my name because I thought it was a solo project,” Ting Wei confesses sheepishly. Upon realizing 2 days before the auditions that they were only open for bands or singer-songwriters, he roped in Afterglow for help.

Afterglow-SavourFoodFestivalThankfully, the band had already honed their musical chemistry over the past 3 years of playing together at corporate events. The rest of the band include guitarist Marcus Szeto, 21, keyboardist Ryan Ang, 20, bassist Nicholas Wong, 20, and saxophonist Vincent Tan, 24, and after a nerve-wrecking audition, the rest is history.

Beth animatedly explains that the band name is “a shout out to the bands of retro music, funk, soul, jazz and rock of previous eras”.

“We have a lot of influences from what’s considered old music, but also current artistes such as Snarky Puppy, Allen Stone and Robert Glasper Experiment,” Marcus elaborates.

Afterglow-NokiaRekonstrck2When Studies and Passion Intertwine

All 6 of them met through the Singapore Polytechnic Jazz Band, and are also graduates from the Diploma in Music and Audio Technology. Just this year, Nicholas and Ting Wei graduated alongside Beth and Ryan, who received the prestigious gold and silver medals in their courses respectively.

Beth, the self-proclaimed “spokesperson of the band”, is noticeably the most vocal in the group. The guys would occasionally interject with their opinions, but seemed comfortable with a hyper Beth answering the questions. The band shares an easy camaraderie, and the passion for performing is the common thread that ties all of them together. This passion might be the reason why they seemed genuinely nonplussed when asked if it was difficult to juggle both music and studies.

“It’s actually part of our school work to do music, so it all integrates together,” Nicholas says, while absentmindedly shaking his dreadlocks out of his face. Beth agrees, and surmises that “the lines between work and play are blurred”.

afterglow-jazzedge Rose Among The Thorns

For Beth, being the only girl in the band inevitably attracts more attention and scrutiny, but she overcomes it through sheer hard work. For example, she looks at not only the lyrics and the melody of the song as a vocalist, but also the chords that the instrumentalists are performing. This ensures that whatever she is singing is “agreeable to the chords the others are playing”.

As for band dynamics, she is already used to it. “I’ve learnt to roll along with the guys’ humor,” she says wryly, with a hint of exasperation coloring her tone as they erupted into laughter.

“We’re all playful, so she’s the one who pulls us all together,” Vincent admits ruefully.

2014 And Beyond

National service seems to be the biggest hurdle ahead for the band, with Ryan, Nicholas and Ting Wei enlisting in the next few months. However, Afterglow intends to stay as a 6-man band and jam during the weekends, while relying on sessionists to fill in for the members if they are away during gigs. For example, Nicholas will be serving the nation during the final Noise showcase in September, but they have already secured a sessionist who will be playing in his place on that day.


Despite the inconveniences, the band has already mapped out their future plans for 2015.

They aim to launch their EP in Singapore by next July, after taking into consideration scheduling conflicts. The sextet have also set their sights on a Southeast Asian tour, and intend to play at international jazz festivals in United States and Canada.

“Why reach 5 million people when you can reach 50 million people?” Beth muses.

Besides the upcoming Noise showcase, the band is also participating in CineIndieFest 2014. Through these various events, it is evident that they have a hunger for musical growth and improvement. They radiate with a quiet confidence that shows maturity beyond their years, and they are no longer refining themselves just as performers, but also as artistes, songwriters and producers.

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“We all have different styles and musical ideas. By playing together, we exchange musical ideas and learn from one another,” Ryan shares.

At the end of the day, the crux of the band’s endeavors is to join in the revival of soulful music by making it accessible to all.

“We want to remind people there’s this other facet of music you might like if you gave it a try,” Beth explains. “So we want to promote that sound, which is something we enjoy and believe in.”


Check out Afterglow on their social media platforms:




Instagram: @thebandafterglow