“Much of the world of music cannot be taught in textbooks”

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In partnership with * SCAPE

Singapore’s music scene is small and tight-knit, and it is not uncommon for lasting friendships – sometimes between the most unlikely of people – to flourish and bear fruit.

This includes the mentoring link, which is often fostered by local music organizations and programs. These include * SCAPE Music Day Out !, which is an event that features live performances and conference panels, but also an annual mentorship program called ALT. Residence.

To the music festival! on October 23, * SCAPE will host its Demo Drop, where emerging musicians can bring their material to a review session where industry professionals – including performers, songwriters, producers and event programmers – give their opinion on what they hear, whether it is a new simple experimental or a home demo.

The Demo Drop will also be how * SCAPE selects musicians for ALT. Residence, where they will be paired with seasoned mentors who will share their experience on the creative and industrial fronts, allowing them to produce a four-song EP and music video for release in 2022.

One of the ALT. Mentors for Residency are Tan Peng Sing, the guitarist of M1LDL1FE and director of indie label Where Are The Fruits, whose roster includes dream pop group Saints Amongst Sinners, singer-songwriters Lewloh, Marian Carmel and many more. others.

“In my own job as a label manager, I often find myself playing the role of a mentor as well,” he says, “sharing knowledge, past experiences, and also just encouraging artists and letting them know that someone another also shared their struggle.

Having gone through the mentoring process himself, Tan is confident in his importance. “A lot of what happens in the music business can’t really be taught in a textbook,” he explains.

“I mean, you could explain how royalties work, distribution, publication, etc. But the real world is still quite blurry around the edges with a lot more gray areas and standards specific to niche markets. So [it’s good to be] able to meet someone in the field just to hang out with them, ask them questions and soak up their knowledge.

M1LDL1FE, with Tan Peng Sing second from the left. Credit: Press

Mentoring can be extremely fruitful both professionally and personally. This is the case of indie rock band Coming Up Roses, which went on a mentorship program in 2018 and will be performing at * SCAPE Music Day Out! This year. “When I think of mentors, I think of two very precious people who mean a lot to me,” says singer Emily Sera.

The group received mentorship from Leonard Soosay and Lennat Mak, the senior senior record producer / engineer at Snakeweed Studios (and mentor for ALT. Residency) and the latest A&R executive at Warner Music Singapore.

Soosay, described by Sera as “one of the nicest people I’ve ever met,” provided commentary on the music of Coming Up Roses and oversaw the recording sessions for their debut EP, while Mak guided the group on the essential know-how of the music industry. How? ‘Or’ What.

Although the bulk of the mentoring took place during a specific period, Coming Up Roses has cultivated lasting relationships with Mak and Soosay. Will remain grateful for their time together. “Without them I don’t think my band would have become what we are today.”

For the music festival! Performer Shak’thiya Subramaniamm – who has performed over the years solo and with his band The Baits – he learned a valuable lesson during his mentorship that could only come from serious soul-searching.

“There’s no point in trying to be mentored if you don’t put in the time and effort. You are not only wasting your time, but you are wasting your mentor’s time, ”he says. “[It’s] something I was guilty of. But, you know, live your life and think as you go.

The years have only made Shak’thiya wiser, and he sincerely believes in mentoring wherever you can find it.

“You would be surprised how eager people in the music industry are to help you along your way, if you are reasonable with your requests,” the singer-songwriter said. “Like the difference between” Can you give me your opinion on this demo? ” And ‘Can you register me for free?’. You get what you give, so give.

Shak'thiya Subramaniamm and the Baits SCAPE musical release
Shak’thiya Subramaniamm. Courtesy of the artist

Besides being reasonable with what you ask your mentor, it’s also helpful to have specific goals you would like to work towards. When a mentorship doesn’t work, it may simply be a matter of incompatibility, not a failure of the process itself.

Adin Kindermann, who will be performing at Music Day Out! with his group Stopgap and is also A&R Director at Sony Music Entertainment Singapore – recalls when his group began a mentorship with an industry expert they respect.

Stopgap has always been protective of their sound, with an attitude Kindermann frankly describes as a ‘gang mentality’, and their mentor’s contribution just wasn’t what they were looking for.

But they remained open to the process and found another mentor who ended up becoming a soul mate: Saiful Idris, former frontman of indie rock band The Great Spy Experiment.

“He really understood what we were looking for,” Kindermann says. “It wasn’t just on a superficial level like, ‘Oh, yeah, I understand what you’re doing’ – but what we were doing was naturally also part of his own musical composition.”

Ultimately, mentoring is about empowering young artists to progress as they begin to make music professionally. Mentoring can help demystify the music industry for young artists and alleviate external pressure that can hamper their internal development.

As Shak’thiya himself says, “Mentors have helped me see that there are no levels or tiers, there is only progress. There is only the journey to the interior.

* SCAPE musical day! will host the Demo Drop Review on October 23. Have your music heard by Baybeats programmer Akilesh, M1LDL1FE bassist (and producer and label manager) David Siow, songwriter-producer Josh Wei and Weish of .gif and sub: shaman. The deadline for Demo Drop submissions is November 7 – learn more here.

For more information on others * SCAPE Music Day Out! activities from October 18 to 23, including live performances, panels and workshops, click here.


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