The Joy of Sixx
The nine members of Singaporean band, Sixx, are coming soon to an MRT station near you.
Don’t be too alarmed if some time in the near future, when you’re minding your own business on a crowded MRT, nine strangers pull out instruments and start belting out some funk, R&B and hip-hop tunes. It’s probably the band Sixx (which is a bit of a misnomer for a 9-member band).
Sixx was started three years ago by rapper, Kevin Lester (of Youtube ‘Rockstar’ fame) and bassist Tim De Cotta. The band has been making waves in the Singapore music scene with their unique brand of hip-hop; a distinct amalgamation of the various musical influences brought by each member of the band.
Naysayers who’ve cast doubts on what seems to be a strange musical mix (it includes the trumpet, saxophone and electronic effects) have been proven sorely wrong. The sound of Sixx is truly an audio fiesta; loud and lively. Yet, there’s no worry about getting lost in a hip-hop haze as the funk, soul, jazz and R&B melodies provide a pleasing contrast to the hard beats. To top it all off, the poignant poetry of their songs, dressed in quirky metaphors, provide food for thought; refreshing reprieve from the lovey-dovey clichés and ‘sweat-on-the-dance-floor’ rambles that ride the airwaves these days.
And it is the music that drives all nine members of the band. Four of them have given up lucrative corporate careers. The rest are full-time university students, a corporate lawyer and a civil servant, all of whom struggle to dedicate time to their passion for music.
As an individual who feels the weight of Singaporean pragmatism; someone who finds most conversations dominated by insecurities about career and finances, who feels a tinge of sadness when someone says ‘you cannot survive on love and passion’, I found myself captivated by the heart-felt enthusiasm and sense of excitement in their personal stories.
“There is a window of opportunity for you to create something that is truly yours and you need to make a choice to do it,” says lead guitarist Kelvin, who recently left his job as a financial advisor.
“There’s this stereotype of the glitz and glam of being a ‘bandboy’. People think we’re lazy just because we’re doing something we enjoy but it really boils down to a lot of hard work and dedication to achieve something in this industry. And we are striving to make our mark and to do something really special,” says drummer Joe, a veteran in the local music scene.
Although Sixx is well aware of the slippery commercial slope in the music business, their genuine love of music shines through in their work. They talk about a responsibility to bring their unique sound to the masses and not to be satisfied with just something that sells. Underlying many of their catchy tunes are lyrics about having the courage and to be your own person and doing something that makes a difference.
In the words of Kevin Lester, “Ten years down the road, I want my music to be something that continues to inspire and bring joy. It shouldn’t be just about me or the band; it should really be about the music.”
Kevin, the ‘Lion City Boy’, is proud of being a homegrown rapper, but the Singapore scene has not been entirely kind. Sixx has faced significant setbacks in their campaign to share their music. The most prominent of which was the Singfest debacle in 2010, where the band was denied an opportunity to perform due to the unnecessarily long sound checks for foreign superstars.
Performing at Singfest was to be a milestone event for the band. They were reasonably disappointed at being marginalized by the local organizers.
With enough drive and ingenuity, they hope to scale the brick wall in the local music scene; to spread their sound as far and wide as possible, for as long as possible.
Yet the band remains optimistic in spite of such difficulties. With enough drive and ingenuity, they hope to scale the brick wall in the local music scene; to spread their sound as far and wide as possible, for as long as possible. They are looking forward to upcoming gigs at the Mosaic Music Festival and the School Invasion Tour and are on the verge of launching their EP album of seven original songs.
“This is just the start,” says Kelvin. “We don’t want to think that we’ve already ‘arrived’ even though we’ve tasted some success. We know we’ve got something good and we can take it much further. With such a diverse range of influences in the band, our sound is constantly evolving.
And even when we’ve revised a certain song a million times, we’re always open to something new. So our audience can always be sure that we’ll bring something fresh to the stage. ”
Having heard Sixx’s music, and not being a hip-hop fan myself, I am thoroughly convinced of the band’s wide appeal. The band also stands out at live performances; seven fantastic musicians fronted by charismatic rapper Kevin Lester and vocalist Aarika Lee, who has a stunningly soothing voice and (if I may say) is easy on the eye as well. Above all, the quality of their lyrics and modern blend of melodies makes Sixx an endearing and entertaining act. Head down to one of their gigs and let the music speak for itself.
Band members: Kevin Lester (rapper), Aarika Lee (vocalist), Tim De Cotta (bass), Kelvin Ang (guitar), Joseph Saleem (Drums), Shaun Khiu (electronics & percussions), Daniel Chia (Saxophone), Kelvin Kong (Trumpet)
Band Website: www.wearesixx.com
Twitter – wearesixx
Bookings - [email protected]
‘Supersonic’ music video:
Other Sixx videos:
Kevin Lester’s website (album free online)
Performance at Mosaic: 19th March, 8pm, Esplanade Outdoor Theatre
Mon - Wala Wala - The Next Movement (Aarika Lee, Kelvin Ang and Joe Saleem)
Wed - TAB - The Next Movement
Fri - CMPB - The Next Movement feat. Shaun Khiu
Sat - TAB - The Next Movement feat. Tim De Cotta