Busking - A New Culture?

By Nur Amirah Bte Azman,Year 3, School of Management and Communication

With the rise in the number of Buskers and the quality of performances they put up, it’s no wonder the new saying that the Singapore music scene is incomplete without our buskers. They are the ones who add a special touch of life to our regular boring streets with their amazing vocals and amazing skills. To celebrate IGNITE!’s Fringe Week, we showcase some of our favourite Buskers that the team hunted down from the streets of Singapore in our 3-day Busker Fiesta. We spoke to them for some insights on the hurdles they faced, advice they have for young buskers and where you could catch them too.

When did you start busking?

Nuur Afiqah (NA): 2017. However, before this, I have performed at a few places with other members and attended auditions where it required me to perform in public.

Ralph (R): I started busking February 2016

Jonquil & Zul (J & Z): We started busking a year ago.

Why busking?

NA: I love performing! I like to sing in an acoustic setup. I don’t remember being happier doing something else other than performing.

R: I busk to help myself be self-sufficient as well as save money for my future music studies overseas.

J & Z: To gain exposure, confidence and to practice. Ultimately, we want to share our music with the passer-by and make them smile with our music.

Where do you usually busk?

NA: In my school and Jurong West open mic. They give me a platform and opportunity to perform.

R: I usually busk outside H&M at 313 Somerset as I like it there.

J & Z: We usually busk at Tampines. We love the heartlands atmosphere.

When can we catch you busking?

NA: Every 3rd week of the month at Jurong West open mic session! But I’ll be performing live with my full band on October! Be sure to look out for more details soon.

R: You can catch me busking every Tuesday at Wisma Atria or every Sunday at 313 Somerset

J & Z: Usually on weekends, but we'll be there (Tampines) as and when.

What is your go-to song to sing live?

NA: I’m not really sure. Maybe Britney Spears’ songs? I’ve performed Toxic before and most people love it!

R: My go to song to sing live is How Deep is Your Love by the Bee Gees. Its a really great and amazing song and I'm sure most people know it. The vibes it gives and the feeling of love it brings has so far been unmatched by other songs I sing.

J & Z: Hotel California, Sunday Morning, Pillowtalk, Give Me Love, For the First Time. We sing Chinese and Malay songs as well. We prefer to be versatile!

Were there any challenges you faced when you just started busking?

NA: Yes, I have a very bad stage fright and I always crack my voice. If I’m nervous, it can affect my performance.

R: Yeah there were loads. Not being confident enough, not sure of what I need to do, feeling nervous, messing up a lot. It was a total mess. But it's helped me improve so much in terms of performance, singing and just enjoying myself in general.

J & Z: A lot. We faced noise complains all the time. And there are more buskers nowadays as compared to last year. But all that it is still worth it if we could make at least one person smile on that day.

What is some advice would you give to someone who just started/want to start busking?

NA: Learn and practice what songs you want to busk (which is the basics), not only to yourself, but practice playing in front of the people who are close to you. If possible, keep looking for a platform to busk in public to kill your stage fright!

R: My advice to starting buskers would be to just enjoy what you're playing. How much you make or how much people notice you doesn't matter. Focus on improving and finding your sound.

J & Z: Don’t let warning money be the main reason you busk. Always be sincere when delivering your music cause if you believe in your music, only then people will believe in you.

If you missed Nuur Afiqah’s performance on 19th July, don’t worry. We still have Ralph busking on the 24th and Jonquil & Zul on the 26th. So, do come down to our Stage space outside South Agora at 12:30pm if you want to see them perform!

There are a lot more buskers in Singapore. If you are new to the busking scene and would like to catch more buskers in action, here are some places you can go to!

Kenny Lim