Local singer-songwriter, Tay Kewei, is one of Singapore’s most gifted singer-songwriter. She made a name for herself in the mandopop industry when her debut album, Come Closer With… Kewei, topped the HMV Jazz Charts for several weeks in 2010. Since then, Tay collaborated with many renowned singers and released countless hit songs like 小幸运 (xiǎo xìng yùn) and 以为的以为 (yǐ wéi de yǐwéi).
This coming 5th March 2022, Tay Kewei will be holding a concert called RE:BIRTH together with her husband, Alfred Sim, while being six months pregnant. This is an extraordinary feat as she was not only entering her third trimester, but it is also Tay’s first-ever full-fledged concert with her husband.
We caught up with the award-winning singer-songwriter before the concert to talk about her motivation behind the concert, her take on Singapore’s mandopop industry and how she balances her time being a successful singer-songwriter and being a mother to 2 young children with another on the way.
1. What is the motivation and inspiration behind your concert, RE:BIRTH?
It’s been so long since musicians and singers can sing live to a physical audience – for the past 2 years our lives have taken a drastic turn. I am thankful that this opportunity came by and even though I’m pregnant, I’m still in my second trimester so it’s not so bad! At least it’s not 3rd trimester where I’d feel more tired, or even worse, postpartum where I’ll be with a newborn. It’s now or never, the perfect timing for a concert after so long!
2. How does it feel to be doing your first-ever concert together with your husband in Singapore?
I feel so reassured. He’s my teammate for life, so having this milestone concert together is just perfect. We are solo artistes, not a duo, and have had our own concerts on different occasions. We’ve also definitely performed together many times, but never a proper full length joint concert.
3. We understand that during the concert, you will be six months pregnant. Isn’t it very tiring for you to do a concert when you are going into your third trimester?
Yes, my 19-month old second born is still not sleeping through the night so I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in years. I’m practising my singing at home and definitely want to put up a good show!
4. What is the most challenging obstacle you have faced during the preparation phase of RE:BIRTH?
Getting physically ready. I haven’t sang for a while, so I’m worried about the stamina of my voice.
5. What was your inspiration behind your latest single, Not Alone?
I wrote it for my good friend EinEin a while back when she needed some encouragement, having had her heart broken. It’s such a happy uplifting song that ends with a full-on big band arrangement!
6. From your debut in 2010 up to now, how has your music evolved?
I used to sing more audiophile covers, but never stopped writing both Mandarin and English originals. There were more ballads in the beginning, but I love powerful pieces like Victorious and Nian Nian Bu Wang for live performances.
7. What do you think of the future of the Mandopop industry in Singapore?
Audiences are still fragmented, but the community is still thriving! I’m sure every platform will birth a new form of art – like how Tiktok brought many songs to fame!
8. You have released many songs over the years, which one is your favourite song?
Currently it’s Momo I Love You! My husband and I wrote this for our firstborn Momo when he was 2 years old. We really wanted to make it perfect because it was so important to us. The response was overwhelming, so many people messaged us to say they cried listening to the song, and how the lyrics really took the words out of their mouth. As a songwriter that is really what is most fulfilling, that the song reached out to people in the most heartfelt way.
9. You have been married to Alfred for over a decade, how do you keep that spark alive considering both of you work and live together?
We dated for ten years and are married for 7 years now! We are super chill and easy-going in our relationship, not very romantic, and are forgiving of each other.
10. It must be hard being a working mother juggling two kids with another on the way. Do you have any tips for working mothers out there?
Every working mum is always struggling to find balance in her life. Time is never enough, and having a supportive family network is so important. I’m always open and communicative about my struggles to my husband, instead of taking it out on him. I did that for a bit when I was a first-time mom and realised it was unhealthy and doing our relationship no good.
11. Momo seems to be taking after Alfred and your footsteps, singing and dancing heartily, will you agree if he finally decides to follow your footsteps and become a singer-musician?
I don’t think he’s particularly gifted in instruments haha. He’s now learning piano, ukulele and violin in school but he’s not too interested. He does love songs and singing for sure though! Kids have a whole world ahead of them, I’d definitely encourage him to follow his passions.
Catch RE:BIRTH featuring Alfred Sim and Tay Kewei ‘Live’ in Concert at Sands Theatre at Marina Bay Sands on 5th Mar 2022 at 8.00pm. You can purchase your tickets from sistic.com.sg.