Welcome to Spinnup Introducing, our new monthly interview series with up-and-coming artists from Southeast Asia. Spinnup is dedicated to discovering new talents, and we’d love to introduce some amazing artists who caught our attention and tell the world their story.
This month, we proudly present Singaporean singer-songwriter Airii, who just released “What Is Love” with Spinnup. Get to know Airii as he takes us through what he’s been up to and dives deep into his music, influences, aesthetics and more.
How did you get started in music?
I started in primary school but I never knew I would want to take it seriously in the future. I took choir simply to fill up my time, but gradually it became my hobby. Truth be told, High School Musical influenced my choice in pursuing music, and joining competitions helped me realise my potential as well. In secondary school, I decided I wanted to continue music but instead of choir, I joined the symphonic band to learn more about the theory aspect of music and took up flute. I have to admit, it was really difficult, I almost wanted to quit but pursued on. ITE on the other hand had a huge impact on my life when it came to music. I joined the ITE show choir as I wanted to sing and dance, and actually perform. It gave me a lot of different opportunities, from performing for school concerts, to Esplanade and even NDP. All these performances made me more diverse and versatile in my craft. In Poly, I wanted to try something different. I joined Replug and it gave me an opportunity to perform with a band instead of larger groups like choir or even symphonic band. ITE helped me explore the different genres of songs and music, but poly helped me find my own sound and this was where I started learning how to write my own songs and make my own music.
Who are your music influences?
Yuna is my main influence. My best friend introduced her songs to me and it opened up my perception of music completely. In comparison to other music, I find hers to be very experimental and has taught me a lot about how to move away from simpler song arrangements. This has influenced me a lot when it comes to writing my own music and coming up with arrangements – just from my own songs, they sound quite different from each other as I experiment and find my own sound. UMI and NIKI had a lot to do with the influence of my song writing. I admire them so much as their lyrics really stand out from their songs to me.
Tell us a little bit about your latest singles, “What Is Love” and “Do I Really”.
“What Is Love” is a song that relates to anyone who has ever been betrayed by what they think is love. It’s for anyone who goes the extra mile only to not have it given back to them. More often than not, love is more predictable than what you think it is, but you always find yourself not wanting to believe it. It hopes to remind you that it is okay to put yourself first and go the extra mile for you instead. As for “Do I Really” it’s a learning experience to take things slow in all aspects – whether in a relationship or life plans in general.
We absolutely love your style and aesthetic and how it feeds into your music. Tell us a little bit about that.
Visuals are really important to me in showing people how my music feels. I love playing around with colours and make up. For example for “Do I Really”, the colour palette is very soft, very pastel because the song is like that. For “What Is Love”, it’s definitely darker.
You released three songs with Spinnup, what was that process like for you and how did you feel when putting out your solo music for the first time?
I actually thought putting up my own music would be difficult, especially my first song. I thought it was more of a complicated process but Spinnup definitely guides artists really well through out the process. It was nerve wrecking to put up my song for the first time – from the aspect of the song not being uploaded on time or any other hiccups along the way, but thankfully I didn’t experience any of that because of the Spinnup team.
What are some challenges that you faced with your music and how did you overcome them?
Definitely writer’s block. I’m relatively new to writing so I definitely ask for advice from other songwriters around me and do my own online research. I try to clear out my mind and understand the purpose of the song, and from there I usually can proceed to write. Other than that, it’s also understanding my own sound. It’s ok to try different styles because it’s from there that I’m slowly finding my own sound, so I’d say don’t be afraid to.
As an artist, what is one piece advice you live by?
Slowly but surely. I believe that everyone has their own processes and achievements at their own time.
What can we expect from you next?
Hopefully moving from singles to an EP soon.
What are your hopes for your music career ahead?
I want to hopefully be known as an artist that is truly themself, even if it’s different from the norm.
Catch Airii on the cover of our Spinnup For You Playlist, where you can also hear his new single “What Is Love”.