Over the years, Jeyes has grown from posting music covers online to performing on stage at the Esplanade and *SCAPE’s Music Day Out. Photo credit: PARKA

19-year-old Jeyes Tan, who is signed under local record label PARKA run by friend and producer d0my (Dominic Yuan), chose to do so simply for the love of expression through music. “When I was younger, I thought, oh, maybe this could be a full-time thing.” He notes, highlighting that there had indeed been moments where he questioned if pursuing music was truly what he wanted before eventually deciding to take his time and experiment with his sound.

“My sister used to play piano, and I used to learn drums. My dad was in the band in school. So at home, we would jam and stuff when I was younger,” said Jeyes on his family as a positive influence on his love for music. 

For those who love music, these words may sound familiar. After all, having dreams are part and parcel of growing up. But in Singapore, dreams such as becoming a musician are easier kept as hobbies than turned into a full-time career.

Aside from the popularity gained from his covers posted on social media, Jeyes’ original music has also gained the attention of thousands of fans outside of Singapore. Screenshot taken from Jeyes’ Spotify page.

According to a study by the National Arts Council, Singaporeans tend to not actively seek out music by local artistes – with convenience being a key factor as international music is much easier to access across popular platforms such as Spotify and YouTube.

However, perception towards local music has been improving, with 50% of listeners having had an improved perception of local music after being introduced to it. Showing that the main issue lies in visibility of local musicians, though this has not stopped many like Jeyes who continue to pursue their dreams in Singapore’s music industry.

And it is this continued perseverance in their art that has allowed Singapore’s music scene to grow. “When I started out, I didn’t know many people my age (in the music industry). But as time has passed, a lot more are popping up,” Jeyes commented.

Lack of exposure to local artists was what proved to be the reason behind people’s hesitation to listen to homegrown music. Photo credit: National Arts Council

“I think it’s great that more young people are seeing that this is feasible,” Jeyes added, reminiscing on how his journey as a singer-songwriter in Singapore has been. Highlighting an experience with a university professor who highlighted the same thing: that music is everywhere.

Of course, perhaps a little luck is required on top of skill and overall appeal to the audience. But it cannot be denied that music fills a lot of the silence in people’s lives, from studying sessions to commutes, and even easily overlooked things such as chimes and ringtones.

Choosing music as a career path is not easy and few make it out of the studio and onto a real stage to perform. Photo credit: PARKA

The universal language of music is something that can touch all hearts. Nowadays, even posting a short clip on social media can launch one into popularity — something many aspiring singer-songwriters do as they share their music across social media platforms and music streaming sites like SoundCloud and Spotify. 

Few truly take on music as a full-time job and even fewer experience a breakthrough into the industry. So why then do people like Jeyes still choose to pursue music as a career? Find out more in this video.

Proofread by: Danial Roslan