Gentle Bones on his international collabs: 'Southeast Asian music is still defining itself'

·Editor-in-Chief, Lifestyle
·2-min read
Gentle Bones. (PHOTO: Cross Ratio Entertainment)
Gentle Bones. (PHOTO: Cross Ratio Entertainment)

Marking his signature sound with numerous hit singles across the globe, Singapore’s Gentle Bones has grown into a well-known artist affirmed by his accomplishments.

Born and raised in sunny Singapore, Joel Tan, who goes by his stage name Gentle Bones, is one of the city-state’s top English artists who has made waves across Asia. Since his number one self-titled debut EP Gentle Bones in 2014, the 27-year-old now has three albums under his belt and has taken his music to fans across Asia with live performances, selling out solo concerts and playing festivals across South Korea, London, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Today, with the pandemic dragging on, Joel has been embarking on a virtual regional ‘tour’ of Asia, by releasing collaboration tracks with regional artists Clara Benin from the Philippines, Karencici from Taiwan, Gamaliél from Indonesia, as well as Tay Kewei and Benjamin Kheng from Singapore. Crowned as a new ‘Collab King’, the tracks have amassed more than 15.5 million streams to date. 

Joel just released his first album last month – it's titled Gentle Bones, the same title as that of his first EP. Accompanied by the voices of fellow Asian collaborators, Joel showcases a different side of himself with a new brand of positivity. The self-titled bilingual album features five new tracks, with the first two songs entitled "Help!" and "What Are We Doing (feat. lewloh)."

Elaborating on the decision to work together with artists from so many different countries, Joel explained, "I think Southeast Asian music is still defining itself. We’re very separated, and naturally so because of all the different languages that we have. Still, it’s about time that everyone comes together and sings in a common language. When we do this, we’re defining the pop music sound of Southeast Asia; I’m just glad to be part of that history and to be able to work with people who I feel have made a huge impact in this Eastern side of the world."

Gentle Bones. (PHOTO: Cross Ratio Entertainment)
Gentle Bones. (PHOTO: Cross Ratio Entertainment)

Co-written with Singaporean artist Jasmine Sokko, the lead track "Help!" describes the vulnerability in admitting when we can’t help ourselves and following our emotions to fall in love. The song is an uptempo dance track and is slightly different stylistically compared to his previously released music. On this change, Joel explained, "I’ve always wanted to create my own version of dance music. It’s not the easiest thing to do because my sound has always had a more gentle approach. I think with “Help!”, we managed to blend these elements together well."

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