From soul and funk to reggae and alt R&B

The music festival circuit is starting to rev its engines this month as award-winning mega music event in Asia, Music Matters, returns to Singapore for its seventh edition on Sep 9-13. Kicking off the festival is the All That Matters industry conference, followed by the live performance segment, which will see more than 40 bands from 14 countries perform in and around this year’s choice venue, Chijmes.

To get you started, we've rounded up five local musicians you shouldn't miss. And if we've managed to pique your interest, you can check out the full line-up here. It’s free admission too!

Dru Chen

This Melbourne-born, Singapore-based singer-songwriter is the shining example of old soul, young body. His catchy tunes are an amalgamation of old school soul and funk that’s jazzed up with rock and pop elements and a dynamic, soulful vocal range. If you follow him on Instagram, this super down-to-earth and all-round good guy (he and his fiance Melyssa Goh organized a charity jazz concert that benefitted migrant workers in Singapore) often goes live to interact with his fans. You can expect a sophomore album some time this year.

When: 5:35pm, Sep 10 (Sun)

Where: The Lawn @ Chijmes


At the beginning, local singer-songwriter Ffion fiddled around YouTube making covers. But she’s been on a roll this year, having performed at numerous events around Singapore and releasing the super sensual EP, Bad Habits, at The Substation in June. This alt R&B songstress may be a newcomer to the scene, but she’s already making waves both locally and regionally with her unapologetic lyrics and sultry vocals atop some mesmerizing synths and beats.

When: 8:35pm, Sep 9 (Sat)

Where: The Lawn @ Chijmes


Once known as Take Two, the band renamed themselves after guitarist Johnathan Lim left the band to pursue other things. Not one to give up, they pressed on as a four-piece outfit, gathered themselves and went back to the studio to work on new material. The indie-pop quartet certainly delivered, showcasing a fresh take on their guitar-centric tracks laced with sensuous electronic textures on their self-titled sophomore record (the first under their new moniker).

When: 9:45pm, Sep 10 (Sun)

Where: The Lawn @ Chijmes


Possibly one of the biggest local acts around that doesn’t get enough love in Singapore is MAS1A (or Masia One). This ambitious superwoman has gone through a lot to get to where she is, from creating lyrical poetry and paintings under the bed as a child and writing pop songs in Hollywood (and eventually getting jaded from it) to being told over and over again by labels that she "wasn't marketable" (and being offered bullshit deals) and losing her brother, which eventually brought her back to a country that was too stifling for her taste. She rose above it all and plans to create a reggae revolution in Singapore with a couple of friends under the music collective (and event series), Singapura Dub Club. We could go on and on about this multi-talented artist, but let the music of Southeast Asia’s Queen of Hiphop + Reggae tell you more.

When: 5pm, Sep 10 (Sun)

Where: Canvas

Sam Rui

She’s only 21 years old, yet she’s already performed at the stages of both Laneway Festival Singapore and Ultra Singapore in the same year. Surely she’s doing something right with her music; and rightfully so too because early last year, she dropped two singles on Spotify unannounced (very Beyonce, we love it) early last year, which topped the digital music streaming service’s Viral Chart playlist with about 500,000 plays then. She bares her soul in her debut album, Season 2, with lyrics like “And I might be bitter but baby I know what I saw / And I heard she was something else" on "Better", an angsty yet beautifully written post break-up track disguised as a feel-good song she found difficult to write, having to revisit painful memories.

When: 9:10pm, Sep 9 (Sat)

Where: The Lawn @ Chijmes