Amanda Ong, born and brought up in Singapore, is on a mission to be a household name to all Singaporeans. Her self-titled debut EP, Amanda that was released on 25 September has proven Ong to truly be one of Singapore’s hidden gems.
At 17, Ong had seen enough of the world to inspire her original songs, brought about by her experiences, hoping they speak to her listeners’ own troubles with mental health. Her works play with many genres, mainly Indie-pop, with a little bit of Dodie and Zee Avi.
Her euphonious voice and the heavenly instrumentals in this EP create a magical potion that either gives off ‘Disney princess’ kind of vibes or campfire night sort of feels, while still delivering an impactful message.
So if you love slow and gentle music to close your eyes and listen to as the evening breeze caresses your face, you’re in for a treat.
Ong’s debut EP consists of 6 tracks, documenting her transition from adolescence to early adulthood, that she wanted to share with her listeners as they too battle the harsh obstacles life throws at them in their youth.
So what makes each track special? What should you expect? Don’t fret; I got your back.
Every listen to Zero To Me unearths a new sensation. The instruments steal your attention at first, with the harmonious combination of violin and cello. The lyrics creep up on you too, revealing a heartbreaking conclusion that is sure to give you chills.
Ong then comes in with her adlibs and honey-like harmonies along with the piano and light percussion to hypnotise you in ‘The Man I Knew Better’. The highlight of this track will be the lyrics. They’re so heartbreakingly beautiful. They tell you the pain and disbelief, realising that the man she loved had changed into someone she could barely recognise. It might even trigger some tears of your own, so keep some tissues ready.
Then comes ‘You Don’t Exist’. The soft and gentle backdrop in the form of the acoustic guitar, bass guitar and drums and Ong’s divine vocals bewitch you into smiling along with her and agreeing with her as she describes her perfect man. Then at the end of the chorus, your smile disappears as you hear the line “but you don’t exist”. Heart-wrenching.
Do you know the saying “people come and go”? That’s kind of what ‘Nice to Meet You’ is about. It’s about losing friends but still recognising their significance in your life. In this five-and-a-half-minute song, you feel pain, hope and heartbreak with Ong’s voice and the accompaniment of the guitar and drums in the background.
Next up is ‘Eye to Eye’, where you see a juxtaposition of frustration in the lyrics against the cheerful instrumental. It’s as if the melancholic lyrics show her despair while the upbeat background shows her hope and her desire to fix things again, by seeing “Eye to Eye”. Poetic.
Finally, the masterpiece of this EP, the one that takes home the crown: ‘Living on My Own’. It is an acapella, which means it uses NO instruments. Instead, Raimi Rusydi and Amit Kashyap lent their voices for the bass vocal and vocal percussion respectively. Their vocals effortlessly replaced any need for an actual band.
The lyrics are no less than a work of art either. This track is about the adventures, yet the struggles that come with living on your own. It explains the perks first, and then there’s the gradual build-up to the bridge. The bridge stole the show. It just left me… speechless. Her vocals were perfect. Everything was perfect.
All the songs have a powerful storyline. She builds up the story, and then she hits you with a line that just takes your breath away. Literally. All the songs also have instrumentals that are to die for. A very talented team of musicians were involved in the creation of this EP as well.
Definitely an up-and-coming artist in Singapore and the music world, Amanda Ong deserves loads of love and support. She’s so talented and so passionate about music, and it’s so exciting to see where she goes from here. Her voice is so lovely and versatile, and I wish we could hear it in other genres like Pop and R&B.
Nonetheless, Amanda, her debut EP, is out and up for listens! So listen to it right here on Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube! You won’t regret it.
Visuals courtesy of Amanda Ong