Asian Delights, Pt. 1 – In ‘The Spot’ light with Singapore’s Vivien Yap

We’re writing a small mini-series of interview features, ‘Asian Delights’, in which we highlight local acts throughout the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand we think are worth your attention.

We asked Vivien Yap – the wordsmith genius behind ‘The Spot’ and ‘Loved Again’ to tell us more about her latest songs as well as her upcoming EP release.

In September, the multi-talented Singaporean singer-songwriter dropped her latest single ‘Loved Again’ – a laid back follow-up to her previous love song ‘The Spot’, which was released in May.

Both songs are doing well in the Spotify charts, chalking up over 20k and 44k streams respectively. 

The dreamy love songs exude a sense of “butterflies in the stomach” and “floating on clouds” – a happy and iridescent soundscape that pulls you in – as you sip tea and watch the rain fall on window panes. It is after all, a glimpse into this erudite poet’s world of words and feelings.

Also read: Vivien Yap drops new single – ‘Loved Again’

AL365: Hi Vivien, Vanessa here from AsiaLive365. Thanks for taking the time to have this interview with us. Congrats on your latest single ‘Loved Again’! We love it! You’ve been writing a lot of love songs a lot. Your previous single ‘The Spot’ is also so lovely and very dreamy. It’s still one of our favourites! Tell us more about the inspiration behind these two new love songs.

Vivien: It’s LOVE baby! I’m not in love, but just in the mood of love, and the idea of fleshing what being in love feels like. Granted these songs were written back in a time when I was in love, or a little bit infatuated with someone, but it was so pleasant to just kind of revisit these songs now. I get to be in a creative space that isn’t emotionally heavy, and sort of colour in these love songs with different sounds & layers.

For the production and the sound of these songs, we (Daniel Wong, my producer, and I) wanted to reflect the sound that was reminiscent of early-2000s-female-singer-songwriter. So think like Feist, Norah Jones, Ingrid Michaelson. Along the way, we obviously added in a lot of modern touches during production; it’s my reflection of what this female singer songwriter prototype looks in 2020.

AL365: You mentioned that ‘Loved Again’ is a follow-up to ‘The Spot’. We’re curious (and a little bit excited actually) – will the next release be the following chapter to this beautiful love journey? We’re getting a very ‘Sixteen Going on Seventeen’ young love feel here. Or you know… that magical, iridescent “stars in the sky”, feeling of falling and being in love. 😉

Vivien: Haha, I love that you feel that way! It’s working! My diabolical plan to shake up everything you know :B The next release from me will be the full EP and I’m so excited to get this out of my system. It’s definitely an EP of love songs, but given my tendency to overthink and over analyse things, you can bet your butts that there’ll be a slight twist to the narrative!

AL365: Speaking of love songs, or love stories – what is your favourite love song (or love story (film maybe) of all time?

Vivien: I’m a BIG fan of dark and quirky things- so I love, love, love the Corpse Bride and Edward Scissorhands. Something about being different from the rest of society and finding love despite that really calls out to me, makes me cry. As for non-animated films, I also really love indie films about music, so ‘Begin Again’ and this really cute, poignant film called ‘Flipped’.

For music, one of my favourite love songs at the moment is by this band called Steam Powered Giraffe called ‘Honey Bee’. Or ‘Like Real People Do’ by Hozier. Both I would wish to be played during my wedding (if I ever get married that is!).

AL365: Oh! ‘Flipped’ is such a good film! We love Bryce!

If you could pick a favourite song or one to represent your music to someone who has never heard your music before, which song would you pick and why?

Vivien: Ooh, that’s a good question. It’s a bit hard because every song is based on a true story, and from the heart. Adding to that, I’ve also grown a lot as a musician since releasing my debut EP last year

But to give you an answer, probably by debut single ‘Part II’. I think it best represents me- not by my personality per say, but more of my journey into this entire music-making shebang. It was loud, boisterous and so-so fun. But with the lyrics, it was also quite sad and reflects a lot of my struggles both as a person as a musician.

AL365: You (along with Nigel Cheah) recently won an award for Best Original Song at the National Youth Film Awards for ‘Classmates’. What was it like when you found out you had won?

I think Nigel and I both laughed in disbelief because a few weeks ago when we found out we got nominated, I literally texted him, “Wouldn’t it be funny if we won? LOL” And we did! So we definitely had a good cackle.

AL365: First a film award. And wow – we love how you’re a poet too!! Tell us – what other hidden talents do you have?

Haha I wouldn’t call them talents, more like hobbies? I basically get addicted to things that I’m kind of good at. So right now, I’m super into crocheting, taking sneaky (artistic) photos of people and editing funny videos. You’ll probably know about this if you snoop around on my Instagram, haha.

AL365: We understand that you’re releasing your sophomore EP – when will it be out and are you allowed to tell us more about it?

Vivien: It’s about LOVE baby! And it’ll be out by the end of the year… That’s all I’ll say teehee.

But I can say that the music won’t end after the EP drops. Now that I’ve cleared my system of all my cheesy love songs, I’m ready to open up about the darker, lonelier music that I have written.

AL365: Besides your sophomore EP, are you working on any other projects at the moment? A new poetry book perhaps? 😉

Vivien: Oh my goodness. I don’t think I’ll ever write a book again, I think I’m bled dry of poetry. It’s kind of sad to think about it, but perhaps I’ll be writing again in the future!

As for projects… I don’t know, does crocheting a bag count? Haha, that was lame (because the crocheting and knitting community uses ‘projects’ to describe each item a person is currently crocheting. Okay that was way too much info, sorry, back to my answer).

As for now, I really want to write music with other people, maybe feature as a vocalist or a writer on someone else’s song! That would be cool.

AL365: COVID-19 has more or less “decimated” or nearly “decimated” some industries more than others. How are you coping with the sudden “shutdown” of the music/live performance industry and its very slow “resuscitation” in Singapore? For instance, even in the UK, there was this huge campaign called #letthemusicplay which was trending, and right now – there are live shows there – albeit the small number. It’s been a bit slow in Singapore. As a performing artist and someone who also works in the industry, what are your thoughts on this?

Vivien: I’m not a full time musician, so I’ve been very lucky not to be hit as hard as my other musician friends during this entire pandemic. Music to me remains as a (very intensive) passion project.

What I will say is that it’s been interesting to observe how music has adapted to digital platforms. So I’ve been observing the digitisation of traditionally physical things such as live shows, single-release campaigns, television and radio features, etc. It does have a very apocalyptic feel to it for sure, to watch some of the biggest pop stars and celebrities become faces behind the screen, just like all of us.

But I feel that Singapore is doing pretty well in bridging this distance. Like this year’s Baybeats 2020 was digital, and we had really good online live-shows. And I really loved the re-broadcast of old Baybeats live shows. Obviously in Singapore, we’re still trying to figure out how to best use the online space to really build on this musical experience but yeah. It’s been new, and interesting. With a slight impending sense of doom, but I’m still trying to stay optimistic! 👍 

AL365: Anything you like to say to your fans, family, friends and listeners out there?

Vivien: HI I’M VIVIEN. I LOVE YOU GUYS, PLEASE TAKE CARE AND DRINK MORE WATER!!!

AL365: Thanks again Vivien and we look forward to hearing more of your love songs and prose soon!

Vivien: Yay great!! I’ll let you know as soon as my EP drops, teehee.

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