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Discover how GastroBeats 2024 is amplifying local musicians

2 mins read

After six long months of preparation, a thrilling line-up of up-and-coming local musicians is ready to take the stage at the GastroBeats festival with live music ranging from pop, to rock, to indie.

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The GIG-ers, as they are affectionately called, are part of GastroBeats’ GIG-ers Mentorship Programme that aims to train young artists and give them opportunities to perform in front of a live crowd.

Their mentors are none other than GastroBeats’ Chief Music Officers (CMOs): locally renowned pop band 53A, who performed the 2016 National Day Parade theme song “Tomorrow’s Here Today”.

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“Opportunities and platforms like GastroBeats are essential for young artists in Singapore to find their footing in the music scene,” said Lisa Haryono, 53A’s keyboardist.

“They get to experience (the industry) first-hand and gain exposure through their performances in a professional capacity alongside industry experts.”

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Building a steady beat

The programme started off with both 53A and the GastroBeats team calling for auditions via Instagram in October of 2023. Shortly after choosing the mentees, the programme kicked off in January this year.

“I think there were really great vibes from everyone during that first meeting already,” shared Sara Wee, the frontwoman of 53A.

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As CMOs, 53A played a vital role in helping their mentees unlock their full potential, with a focus on live performance. From rehearsal sessions to a full-on songwriting and production workshop, they were dedicated to helping these young artists find their footing.

Initially, the mentees found it hard to open up. “It’s always the case when you start any mentoring process. They tend to want to put you on a pedestal and you just have to keep smashing that barrier and be at their level,” said Helman Kamal, 53A’s drummer.

But the band went the extra mile to help their mentees feel comfortable, which began with understanding their strengths and weaknesses right off the bat.

“The trick to being comfortable with an instrument is to really magnify the strengths and exaggerate them,” said Lisa, the keyboardist of 53A.

In the same vein, the team encouraged their mentees to be as vulnerable and unfiltered with their weaknesses in order to identify room for growth.

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When asked about standout moments from the mentoring programme, Sara shared about a time when Desmond, guitarist of pop-punk band Curry The Basil, stunned everyone with his piano skills.

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“He suddenly walked up to the keyboards and started playing the intro of ‘Bring Me To Life’,” Sara recalled, referencing Evanescence’s hit song. “That was so unexpected because we’ve only ever known him to play guitar!”

Amping up local music

As a local band themselves, 53A hopes that through GastroBeats, Singaporeans will show more support for the local music and performing arts scene.

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Having participated in other mentorship programmes, Sara firmly believes that opportunities like the GIG-ers Mentorship Programme play a significant role in growing Singapore’s music scene, stressing that it’s the people who join these programmes that are the most invested in making it in the industry.

“When like-minded people work together, great things happen,” she emphasised.

All images are credited to GastroBeats 2024.

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