For the Singapore music industry is almost a non-existent one. In a country where the creative arts is not a natural profession, making a living out of making music is an arduous road to take.
Yet, despite the obvious difficulties, Si Tong has chosen the path less traveled and is now, just reaping some of the rewards.
Like a lot of Singaporeans, Si Tong was put through music school at an early age, learning classical music and playing the piano.
After a number of years, the lessons stopped but it seemed her passion for music did not. Over the intervening years, she started to pen her own tunes and learn the craft of songwriter on her own.
Inspired by the likes of Fish Leong, Si Tong's forte was the ability to write songs that reflected her own personality as well as infusing the light and melodic breezy pop of her idols.
|Si Tong Performing|
As Si Tong was about to enter the working world, she also wanted to reconnect with her musical dreams and decided to enroll in further music lessons, learning to play various other instruments as well as getting more aligned with contemporary music and production.
It was at this point that Si Tong made the decision to turn professional and become a full time singer/musician/songwriter. And this did not come easy as her mum initially objected, as most people know that this industry is not lucrative and without the right connections, it would be very hard to make the necessary breakthrough.
Si Tong was adamant though, and eventually convinced her parents and today, her dad is not only behind her, he even helps her out with managing her various events and business aspects of her budding music career.
Finally in late 2012, after 3 years of hard work, Si Tong finally released her debut EP, Tong's Music and was pleasantly surprised to see it topped the HMV's Asian pop charts. The success was an endorsement to her professional decision and would be worlds apart from the corporate banking and financing world that she studied for earlier.
|A Happy Looking Si Tong and Her Waffles|
The EP's seven tracks have been well received and are mostly written by Si Tong herself. One track's music was composed by Lee Shi Shiong, who is one of our leading songwriters for TV serials and Stefanie Sun's mentor. Jim Lim, who also helps to arranger her songs also contributed to the melody of another track.
Since then, her star is on the rise as she was asked to contribute lyrics to a drama serial theme song in 2010 and that has led her to even greater things. Sometime last year, Si Tong beat out a competition of 40 other entries to land the rights to penning and singing the theme song for this year's hit TV drama, Gonna Make it.
The song has catapulted her to becoming a household name now, with the song being sung by even children on the streets. The catchy tune with its very optimistic message has seen her being interviewed by various media outlets and appearing in many other events at the same time.
As we are about to enter 2014, things are looking really good for Si Tong at this juncture of her career. She has already begun work on her follow-up to Tong's Music and will record her new material in 2014. She has own own independent music label, appropriately named Haha Music and Entertainment and most importantly, there is a sense of gratification in her decision to stick to her musical goals.
Still, life ahead will not be easy as despite her current successes, Si Tong still needs a lot of support from the local communities and her fans to be able to sustain this career. Like all Singaporean singers and musicians, she needs all the support she can muster.
Yet, despite all the obstacles, Si Tong has clearly shown that for a local singer, if you are determined enough and willing to persevere, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
You can listen to her hit song in the Youtube below.
To support Si Tong's music, these are her links:
You can also catch Si Tong this coming Saturday 4th Jan 2014 on Channel 8 at 9pm performing live on the Sheng Shiong show.
Additional photo courtesy of Philip Lim.