Kick back to the soothing tunes of Ffion, and you’ll be entranced by her melancholic voice in an instant. But it’s not just the way she sings that captures her audience. Listen to her lyrics carefully, and you’ll then realize that maybe, you’ve been there too before. Though relatively new to the music scene, the Singapore-based British songstress has a lot to offer as she prepares for the release of her debut EP in July.
On this edition of BillboardPH’s #SoundtripsAndJoyrides, Ffion lists down the seven places you have to visit in Singapore, where to go for a taste of the local music scene, along with the story behind her first local gig.
Where did you play your first local gig and is the venue still around today? Do you remember how it felt to be on stage for the first time?
I played my first local gig with one of my classmates at the time at *Scape (which is still around) back in 2012. It was this really tiny/intimate gig, but I remember being so nervous and only a handful of my friends came to watch. Nonetheless, it was a great learning lesson and I do believe there’s still a video of that performance floating around on the internet somewhere!
What local venues do you frequent (or used to) for a fresh dose of the local music scene?
If I’m ever in the area, I love dropping by the Esplanade as they are always super proactive about having programs that involve local musicians. I always feel super happy at the rate our music scene is growing and how good it’s sounding!
Where did you see your first major concert? What band/artist did you watch?
My first big concert was way back in 2001 where I got to watch Pavarotti performing on this huge stage in Hyde Park. 5-year-old me probably didn’t realise how momentous it was watching him but I do treasure the memories now.
Are there certain places in Singapore where you feel songwriting flows the best?
I’m most comfortable writing in the studio on the spot, but I have had random sparks of inspiration seated outside the BluJaz cafe, which is where a bunch of really talented musicians play every night. It has got really chill vibes and great food!
What are your favorite music stores (for gear, records, merch) in Singapore?
I’m slowly getting into the whole vinyl craze and I’m also slowly learning it’s a very expensive hobby! I love going to Hear Records, it’s near my school and their collection is always fresh plus they have great service! My go to place for gear is either City Music, Swee Lee or hunting for things on Carousell!
Give 7 places–from gig venues/clubs/bars, famous landmarks, busking areas, and museums people should visit in Singapore. Why should they visit these places?
BluJaz – A go-to place if you’re looking to just chill out with a few friends, listen to great live music and have a drink!
Esplanade – Featuring a variety of programmes from very traditional music, classical to electronica, punk rock, and singer-songwriters. It’s a great way to get to know the local music scene in Singapore plus there is great food and shopping within the area.
Hard Rock Cafe – Even though its iconic car on the roof has been removed, HRC has still done a great job at revamping the whole restaurant, featuring a new gallery area where you can admire the artifacts of famous rockstars. They have great live bands during the dinner period and the food is always stellar.
Refuge – Having just moved into their new home at Chijmes, Refuge is a place you should check out, especially if you’re into R&B and funk tunes. Once a month they partner with Look Ma, No Hands! to pay tribute to the great songs of the past with EMONIGHTSG, offering a great hangout spot to be nostalgic with your friends. Definitely an event you shouldn’t miss if you are in town!
Orchard Rd. – This is probably a really obvious landmark to visit, but if you come by at night, you are sure to be able to catch some really talented buskers. They are usually pretty open to taking song requests or letting listeners have a go at singing. Nonetheless it’s pretty entertaining to watch.
P.O.D – This is probably a go to spot for people living in the East side of Singapore. It’s a cosy little bar tucked away in Siglap that offers live football matches and drinks. However, I normally go there to play electronic darts with friends who live around the area. There’s only two machines, so the fun is in trying to get to one before someone else does.
Singapore Art Museum – By far one of my favourite museums; its clean white aesthetic is great for people who love photography. I would totally recommend heading there if you are into taking pictures for your Instagram. They also offer exhibitions on the contemporary art scene in Singapore.
FEATURED IMAGE BY: AMANDA LIM