Arts Interview Music Singapore

Music Is: Jam with Discover by Circles.Life this July + An Interview with LEW and Joie Tan

Jam w Discover_lewandjoie.jpg

This Sunday, join local indie singer-songwriters LEW and Joie Tan as they perform an intimate virtual concert, live from the studio via Zoom. Organised by Discover by Circles.Life, the duo will be performing their hit duets ‘Red Flags’ and ‘Baby Steps’ as well as other original songs by both artists. Apart from their music collaborations, LEW and Joie are also extremely good friends behind the scenes.

During the show, they will also be doing a special discussion segment about being brave and standing up for what you believe in. After their performance, they will host a short Q&A session for fans. Check out our interview with them, to find out how they’ve been coping during this COVID-19 period, and what they have in store for fans this session:

Bakchormeeboy: How’ve you been keeping busy during the lockdown? Have you found that it’s more conducive or more stifling for your creativity?

LEW: Equal parts napping, Netflixing and music making. I think at the start it was stifling, but that had more to do with uncertainty and new times, and less because of the lockdown.

Bakchormeeboy: During the show, there’ll be a ‘special discussion segment about being brave and standing up for what you believe in’. What are these beliefs you hold so strongly to yourselves, and is that difficult to hold onto with likely naysayers from all fronts? 

Joie: I strongly believe in standing up for what you believe in and pursuing what feels right for you. For me, pursuing a career in music was something I’d wanted since I was a kid. While my friends around me were getting into prestigious colleges and pursuing higher education, I was focused on artistry and wanting to create music. Of course, my decision was faced with concern from family members and their friends about how I would make a decent living for myself with the nature of how the industry can’t promise financial stability.

Since then, there have been campaigns surrounded artists stepping up to encourage youth to pursue their dreams and to let them know that it’s okay to take the unconventional route. I’ve had many conversations with my friends who work 9-5 jobs that often lead to them expressing that they’re envious of the freedom I have and the “carefree” lifestyle I get to lead. A lot of the time, they downplay their achievements simply because it’s “so normal” and “not artistic”, and that anyone with experience could do the same.

On the flipside, I often fantasise about having the financial stability that a 9-5 could give. I’m so thankful to be able to do what I do, but I want to highlight that all jobs- conventional or not- are important and worthy of praise and respect. I know that a lot of youth tune in to both LEW & my content and I think it’s so important for them to know that whatever path they decide to take is one they should be proud of. Whether they’re doing sales in an insurance company or have a successful mukbang career, they’re both jobs that are valid and essential in their own right.

Bakchormeeboy: Both of you are known for some seriously catchy singles, and have both become recognised singer-songwriters in your own right. How did you two decide the setlist for the night?

LEW: We picked a combination of old and new material, but more importantly, a setlist that would be fitting for a Sunday night. We’ll be singing some original duet songs, some covers, and some of our solo original work.

Bakchormeeboy: Performing online is a completely different ballgame from performing in person. How have you both adapted to this ‘new normal’, in terms of rehearsing for the performance? 

Joie: I used to make YouTube videos everyday in my room, so being alone in front of the camera feels very natural to me. Of course, there’s the convenience of dressing up only from the torso up and you could literally be in your pyjamas as you sing for the video, but there’s also the lack of audience interaction and often times the energy of the crowd can enhance your performance. I do applaud companies for adapting to the concept of virtual concerts and livestreams as quickly as they did given the current situation and am so thankful to get to do things like this!

Bakchormeeboy: Tell us a little more about the level of connectivity you feel with audience members compared to before; how can we overcome the physical distance from each other in a Zoom performance? 

LEW: I usually like to read the room, and base my banter and demeanour off their energy.. and so adapting to an online presence was initially trying. However, In live performances, whilst they may be physically closer, the audience don’t usually get to share personal opinions directly with the artist/performer – and because the audience will be able to interact with us via zoom chat, we can directly address and honour their comments in real-time.

Bakchormeeboy: In these unprecedented times, it can be difficult to imagine what the future of the music scene is like. What do both of you see in your own futures to come?

Joie: Man, this one’s a tough one. It’s funny because since the lockdown I’ve managed to collaborate with people I’ve been wanting to. The fact that so much of music can be done online now plays to our advantage. For example, HONNE recently released a single that they recorded at home, inspired by the current times and I think that’s such a great way to continue to put music out there and make it relevant to your fan base. I hope to see more collaborations in the future for sure. With the lockdown, a lot of people have been forced into learning how to produce and make music on their own and this has been something I’ve wanted to do for awhile, so I definitely hope to release a self-produced EP some time in the future.

Bakchormeeboy: Discover by Circles.Life is a great new initiative that opens up more opportunities for connecting audiences with creatives like yourselves. What other initiatives do you hope to see to better bridge or introduce Singaporeans to you? 

LEW: I think more internal events held by local and non-local companies would be an interesting way to better integrate the arts scene with the corporate world. I also think that the discourse between the two fields would benefit each other in both career and personal growth.

Tickets for the show can be purchased here, with the performance taking place on Zoom. All ticket purchasers will also receive 3-months access to high quality music streaming from TIDAL (worth almost S$60).

Check out more things to do with Circles.Life’s Discover app here


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