VIMA MUSIC AWARDS has just announced that bittymacbeth from Singapore, the soul-pop-funkstress, has notched its highest award by being named one of the 4 acts that will receive the Thank You For Existing Award at the upcoming VIMA MUSIC & MODEL Awards night in Kuala Lumpur.
The Thank You For Existing Award is given out to the most creative & innovative acts in the region annually.
The following is an exclusive interview with her:
1. Congratulations on winning the VIMA THANK YOU FOR EXISTING AWARD. How do you feel about being bestowed the highest honor for VIMA?
Thank you! I’m really surprised, I didn’t know this award existed less than 24 hours ago. But thank you for appreciating my music and my existence.
2. Who are your key influence to your style of music and genre?
Esperanza Spalding, Allen Stone, Khalil Fong, Snarky Puppy, Robert Glasper Experiment, Jon Foreman, Anchor & Braille.
3. What are you currently working on and what can your fans expect from you in the near future?
I’m performing at a couple of national festivals in August (details on http://www.facebook.com/bittymacbeth) – and in a couple of months I’ll be releasing something in conjunction with World Suicide Prevention Day!
Before I launched the album Dru already expressed interest about wanting to produce my next single, we’ve picked out the song already. So some time from now I’ll be releasing a new single, and then maybe an EP to follow.
4. If you had a chance to perform with any musician in the world, who would it be and why?
Besides wanting to work with my influences, I would really like to work with Yuna or Lianna La Havas, they’re talented performers and songwriters and I think our styles could work pretty well together.
5. What are your thoughts about the current music scene and what can be done to make things better?
I’m really encouraged to hear all the new music coming out from my peers – it’s good for what it is, and I don’t praise it just because it’s “local”/”regional” or because they’re my friends.
We in the industry always seem to be having this discussion. It seems all the different agencies involved don’t seem to take risks.
Consumers always fall back on the same international artistes they listen to because they are comfortable with what they know. I also see their side – why should you have to make an effort to seek out local music to listen to just because it’s local? (However, it must also be said that many other countries like Japan, they’re very nationalistic and thus support their local musicians readily.)
This is where media and music enterprises come in – they could provide the exposure to make local music prevalent in society and culture. However, radio, TV, streaming platforms, record labels, etc don’t take a chance on more local music because they’re afraid it won’t be commercially viable. I understand the music business is still a business.
But what is each artiste’s USP anymore if they’re all following the same formula for an “success”? There is a smorgasbord of Singaporean rock, alternative, indie, electronic, soul, R&B, jazz, funk, etc music – there’s richness in what we have, stuff that is quite different from what’s on the American Top 40 charts.
Of course, artistes, musicians, producers, arrangers and composers also have the responsibility to grow and improve at their craft, be humble, support each other – we can’t afford not to – and to make the best of every situation, instead of being bitter and jaded and full of complaints. I understand this may be hard sometimes when the money earned just isn’t enough to battle rising living costs.
I summarise this with what my friend Aya Sekine said: instead of #supportlocal – because that makes us sound like we need hand-outs and pity – let’s #believelocal, for what we need is pride and joy in our music, a part of our national culture and identity.
Read more about bittymacbeth here