A simple audition earlier in July went awry for Vivien Yap (CS’18) after she played a wrong chord on her acoustic guitar while trying out for the coveted Noise Singapore music mentorship programme.
“After the audition, I was sure I wouldn’t be accepted into the programme because I really underperformed. Also, everyone before me had a full band, which brings in more dynamism,” said the final-year student at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information.
But the ordeal had a gratifying conclusion for the singer-songwriter. Later in the same month, Yap was selected to be part of Noise Singapore and was placed under the tutelage of Sara Wee, lead vocalist and guitarist of local five-man band 53A.
Yap shared that mentees are shortlisted based on the potential of their longevity and growth in the music scene, not their abilities.
Noise Singapore is the island state’s largest youth art platform set up by the National Arts Council. Since its conception in 2005, budding artistes like Yap get the chance to be mentored by industry professionals before performing on roving showcase sets across country. This year’s performances are slated to run until December, starting with The OverHeard Sessions, an open mic event at The Barber Shop on 28 October.
“The reason why I was a bit hesitant to venture into music was because I thought no one would care about the genre of songs I was keen to perform.”
“For musicians in Singapore, our priority is to do live shows because that is really how we get heard and get noticed,” she said.
Yap first performed live at 11 years old and wrote her first original song four years later. But it was her university coursemates’ support that pushed her to see herself as more than just a shower singer.
Yap, who is working on a health campaign for her Final Year Project, has performed for multiple campus events, including WKWSCI’s annual music showcase Reverb and fronted Hall 16’s jam band, One Knight Stand.
“The reason why I was a bit hesitant to venture into music was because I thought no one would care about the genre of songs I was keen to perform,” she said. “But if I don’t do it, I will go a bit crazy because there is no other way for me to be heard or express myself.”
One of her most memorable performances was to open for local artiste LEW for his album launch at the Esplanade Annexe Studio in July. Yap gained about 40 new followers on social media the same night the event was held. She currently has approximately 800 followers in total on Facebook and YouTube.
“My music leaves an impact on people, mainly through online platforms since people are more vocal online. I’ve done shows and it’s very rare for people to come up to me personally,” she said, recounting her time performing for LEW’s launch where she got to interact directly with her supporters.
Graduating in 2018, Yap hopes to get a full-time job in the public relations or marketing sector. Due to the volatile nature of a career in music, she believes that a stable job is imperative in supporting her side venture.
She has big ambitions, though. Releasing a studio album is in her five-year plan.
“It’ll be great to launch an extended play. But then again, I don’t want that to happen so soon because it’s always the build-up that makes it the most memorable,” she said.