It was a drizzling Friday night when I met Lincoln Lim at a bar in a nondescript corner of Bugis. He greeted me as if I was an old friend, extending his hands out warmly with a wide smile and said: “Hi, you must be Stacey!” Surprised by his nice reception, I shook his hands and greeted him back. Although he was scheduled to perform at the Jalan Klapa bar at about 7.30pm and it was already a little over 7.15pm when I had arrived, he assured me that he would have enough time to have a quick chat with me on his latest music video for his single, Lift Your Eyes.
Lift Your Eyes is an autobiographical single that reflected an abusive relationship that Lincoln has experienced.
“It’s actually one of the more personal songs and rarer ones as I usually don’t write about myself. Lift Your Eyes is about living in an abusive relationship and it chronicles the cyclic kind of struggle of wanting to leave, at the same time, defending your abuser,” he tells us.
The 24-year-old divulged that he resorted to “locking himself” in a room to write Lift Your Eyes and Her as he was not satisfied with his existing works for his then-upcoming Esplanade performance for the venue’s Red Dot August Festival last year.
In fact, the homegrown singer-songwriter had to stop doing the very thing he loved the most – writing songs – as he felt conflicted about how songwriting made him feel worse, and yet, that was the very thing that he felt he must do.
From 2013 to 2015, Lincoln took the time off just to come to terms with himself. He shared, “I had bipolar disorder and manic depression. It (Songwriting) made all the things that I experienced extremely extreme and dark. When I wrote my music, I felt like I was writing a reflection of myself. I didn’t like what I see and that made my depression worse.”
“It took two years, but I told myself if it’s something if I’m good at and something I feel I must do; even if it’s hard, I’ve got to get used to it. That’s when I started writing again, I remembered it was one day after the Neon Lights Festival in 2015, because I watched Damien Rice,” he continued, later revealing that the “The Blower’s Daughter” hitmaker were one of the musicians that piqued his interest towards folk music.
For someone who is evidently a perfectionist with his craft, it was quite startling to find out that Lincoln took the backseat when it comes down to the production of Lift Your Eyes’ accompanying music video. Aside from being present on the filming days itself to provide assistance to the crew, Lincoln said that he only needed to understand his director’s (Clare Chong) vision and trusted them to do what they had to.
“I met up with her (the music video’s director) in October (last year), and for the four months I did not talk to them. I just saw the group chat going crazy with them talking and sending pictures of possible venues… I believe that even when it is your music video, you shouldn’t stand behind the director and tell them what to do – it’s a single direction that even I cannot see sometimes.”
Lincoln also explained that the team worked hard to strip away the typicality of music videos to make it more cinematic and to suture audiences more effectively in the storytelling process – one of them is his physical absence in the music video itself, and that there are also no lip syncs.
He said, “Clare managed to spontaneously weave together the cyclic nature of how often times we defend and depend on our abusers in bad relationships and dementia, which was a topic that was clearly very dear to her. I thought that what she did transcended the song and brought it to a deeper level of meaning, allowing it to reach out to a whole different demographic as well as making it vague enough for audiences to draw their own conclusions and decide what the video and the song means to them personally.”
When asked if he could share his own drawn conclusions, he refused with a grin. He said, “I’d rather people just listen to it and watch that music video. It’s one that’s very hard to look away and it’s a solid piece of work, so just let your imagination run wild.”
Lincoln has plans to launch another single sometime in July or August later this year, and an EP in the beginning of next year. “First and foremost, I must be able to afford it. Right now, I’m just taking it month by month, or week by week,” he said.
Check out the music video for Lift Your Eyes below!
Photos by Brandon Neo of the DANAMIC Team.