For the past three years, Vans Musicians Wanted has been helping undiscovered music acts reach larger live audiences. The competition challenges artists from around the Asia-Pacific region to compete, with this year's winner getting their music video produced by and aired on MTV Asia plus a livestream of their performance at the Boiler Room.
This year, more than 100 contestants have vied for your votes. The top vote-earners then competed in their respective homes, hitting stages in Singapore, Korea, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Malaysia, Australia, Japan, Taiwan and China. And now the competition is down to just nine finalists, one final fan-vote, and a November 22nd show at House of Vans Chicago in front of a panel of industry judges.
Who's going to come out of Vans Musicians Wanted 2019 on top? You're going to help decide – your vote will be part of each act's final score.
We spoke with three of the finalists ahead of their big gigs in Chicago.
Iron Punch (Pop/Rock, Taiwan) Facebook
Using catchy, energetic pop tunes to turn sadness into something fun sounds like the work of an extroverted band, but the members of Iron Punch are actually quite introverted individuals. It's being able to listen to their inner voices, they say, that helps them find the inspirations to their music.
"Most of the songs we wrote in the last few years express the true feelings of those who feel they are a cog in the machine," they write. "We believe that sombre moods should be transformed into more positive feelings. The style of our songs is also relatively brisk, and we added upbeat elements to make them more exciting."
The single they entered into the competition, however, was inspired by love. "Signs" is about that all-too-familiar feeling of having a secret love. If they win, they're hoping that the video MTV Asia produces for "Signs" captures that sense of pure joy.
"We hope the visualization [in the video] can present the element of 'happiness'. Having love is a happy thing already, so the result is not that important."
This three-brother act comes from a musical family: their late uncle, Megat Ismail, was the composer and lyricist behind some of Malaysia's most timeless modern songs, like Metropolitan's "Fikirkan Boleh" and "Kelmarin" by Zur Eda. With their single "Bila Kau Dengar" in the competition, the band hopes to kick-start their own journey into making a permanent impact on Malaysia's music scene.
Making music, they say, comes naturally because it's done within the family.
"It's definitely easier, as we live under one roof," the band shares in an email interview. "Sharing ideas is not an obstacle, and every 'piece' is based on the contribution of ideas from all of us. This strengthens our brotherhood to produce more great music together."
They've already got a vision for what kind of music video they'd like to make for "Bila Kau Dengar" if they end up winning Vans Musicians Wanted.
"The vibe should be inspiring and bring people together singing to the same tune. The visuals can include each band member playing a role for different walk of life. The storyline is about waking up in a realization that music is a universal language that everyone can relate to."
Secret Club (Pop/Rock, China) Weibo
The band's intense love of retro Brit punk rock can be heard in every note of "Teenage Dream", their entry for Vans Musicians Wanted 2019. They've always loved the free, easy-going culture that the music represented, and do their best to inject that sense of fun into every performance.
"We don't think that music must bring people life enlightenment by how deep it is," they say. "There's no need to explain why you like music; the only reason is because it brings you joy and resonance. We're glad that our works can bring you happiness."
In 2017, after their music video for "My Only Girl" hit over 100,000 views, Secret Club went on a 10-city tour of China, a highlight experience in their music career.
"Every city is a fresh start for us," they shared. "In an unfamiliar city, young people who like music gather together to enjoy fun brought by music."
They're hoping to hit even greater success with the music video they'll make for "Teenage Dream".
Six more bands are also in the running for Vans Musicians Wanted:
Cadejo (Jazz-Hip Hop, Korea) Instagram
Your vote will help to send one of these nine acts to the next big stage of their careers. Visit https://hovasia.com/musicianswanted/ to check out their music and cast your votes.
Just make sure you do it now. The polls close at 23:59pm SGT on Thursday, November 14, 2019, ahead of the final showdown on the evening of November 22 (US time) in Chicago – that's Saturday morning, November 23 here in Southeast Asia. Check out MTV Asia's Instagram and Twitter for our live coverage of the event to see which band comes out on top!