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Nathan Hartono, Inch Chua to collaborate on stage for the first time at *SCAPE The Invasion Festival

You could say Nathan Hartono and Inch Chua have grown up together as musicians.

You could say Nathan Hartono and Inch Chua have grown up together as musicians.

Over the past six years, the two singer-songwriters have grown to become “dear friends”, bonding over shared ideals about music and their mutual love for dogs. And for the very first time, their fans will get a glimpse of how their chemistry will play out on stage. The Singaporean musicians will be sharing the stage as the closing acts of the second edition of the *Scape The Invasion festival on Saturday (Dec 17).

“The *Scape show is interesting because for the first time, it’s going to be like a joint concert — Inch and I will be doing a joint show. I am very excited because I have known her for so long, I have written with her, we are dear friends, but we have never done a show together,” Hartono told TODAY.

Chua and Hartono will be performing songs such as Birthday, which the duo wrote together in a single sitting in 2010 when they met for the first time at Chua’s place, as well as other duets and solo songs. Even though their recording sessions usually turn into unproductive chat sessions revolving around “geeky talk” about Breaking Bad, comic books, or video games, Chua says she and Hartono have been working hard to perfect their set in the lead-up to the festival.

“Nathan has been one of the kindest people I know in the industry, and I feel lucky to have his friendship all these years,” said Chua, who is also co-founder of Invasion Singapore, a social enterprise that works to develop local music in Singapore.

Chua and Hartono are two in a line-up of 12 local music acts who will be performing from 2pm at The Ground Theatre at *Scape. Other performers include funk-pop singer Sezairi, indie pop quintet Take Two, collaborative acts bittymacbeth & Dru Chen and Joie Tan & Lew, indie pop outfit Disco Hue, as well as singer-songwriter Shak’Thiya, rock band Supersect and music collective The Neptune Waves.

“Simply put, if you enjoy music and you want to have a nice night of experiencing what the people around you have been making in the arts scene, there is no other place to be, because I have seen all these performers, I know these performers, and we have done shows together,” added Hartono. “They are just awe-inspiring as performers. It’s crazy to see how far the music scene has come, or how much it has risen to prominence because of these acts.”

The festival comes at the end of a busy year for the *Scape Invasion Tour team, which saw them bring Singaporean musicians such as Charlie Lim, Sezairi, the Grizzle Grind Crew and The Good Life Project to 32 different schools in a local music outreach programme.

“There can never be enough shows in Singapore with an all-local line-up,” said Daniel Lim, senior manager in marketing and communications at *Scape. “While last year’s show was spread throughout the *Scape grounds, we’re making it a bit more up-close and personal this year at The Ground Theatre. There’ll be beanbags, fairy lights and all.”

The organisers of the event have also added a new feature to the festival — a fireside pitch for budding musicians to connect with music industry leaders from the National Arts Council, radio station Lush 99.5, and music labels Warner Music and Ocean Butterflies. Budding photographers, dancers and designers can also sign up for activities such as a photography call-out, a dance competition, and an album artwork design contest to sharpen their skills.

About 1,000 people are expected to attend the festival this year, which will also be ticketed for the first time.

bittymacbeth, who was mentored by singer-songwriter Charlie Lim at this year’s Shine x *Scape talent development programme, will be debuting new songs from an upcoming release before she heads to the prestigious Berklee College of Music in January for her studies.

Speaking of how *Scape has seen her grow, bittymacbeth, whose real name is Beth Yap, said her education in music is never-ending, and that she hopes to give back to the music community, especially aspiring musicians.

“I feel very encouraged when younger musicians tell me they feel inspired by what I am doing, a lot of younger women especially tell me they feel they want to also, for lack of a better word, emulate what I am doing, to also create their own music and put it out there,” she said. “They feel what I have been doing gives them the inspiration to do it as well.”

 

*Scape The Invasion will take place on Saturday at The Ground Theatre from 2pm to 10pm. Tickets (S$5 per show) can be purchased at scapetheinvasion16.peatix.com.

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