We sat down with musician Jon Chua of Singapore pop wizards The Sam Willows to get the low-down on the new record label and what's on the horizon.
The label's launch party at Singapore's Kilo Lounge on December 1 was a hotbed of Singapore musical talent, including Estelle Fly, Tabitha Nauser, Nathan Hartono, Fariz Jabba, Evanturetime, Vandetta and The Sam Willows. Shout out to Colossal Photos for the pix!
Please introduce Zendyll Records and tell us how the idea of launching a record label came about.
Zendyll Records is a record label that is focused on 'artist & repertoire' (A&R) creation, as well as creative production. It consists of our roster, known as 'Zendyll Collective', where we have signed some of the top producers, songwriters and artist-songwriters in the country.
The idea came about from personal experience, where I found myself constantly writing and producing music with the intention of writing for my own band, The Sam Willows. Creatively it was suffocating after a while, and I felt like I wanted to start producing music in different genres such as hip-hop an R&B.
I found out that I wasn't the only artist who had this predicament. And the idea started, to create a roster of songwriters, to write for other artist, and create a stronger collaboration environment; similar to that of South Korea and the US.
What differentiates Zendyll Records from Sony, your current record label?
Sony Music focuses more on licensing, distribution, marketing etc. Whereas Zendyll Records focuses more on the creation of the music. We have our own recording studio space, and two writing rooms. Zendyll Records also focuses on artist branding, and also B2B collaborations with brands ranging from FMCG to High Fashion.
Is there a specific sound/genre that Zendyll leans towards?
Zendyll Records will be pop-music focused. But we look for artists with a nice edge and displaying professionalism as well.
Who will be your first signee as an artist and what's your rough plan in 2019 with them?
We're in the midst of signing an artist called Estelle Fly. We believe she has great talent and her music is both entertaining and sincere. We hope to expose her to Singapore and Malaysia music listeners, and get at least two singles out by the end of 2019! Stay tuned for that.
Which market is Zendyll's primary focus: local, regional or international?
The goal is international! But for now it'll be regional. Primarily we're looking at Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand!
In the line of record label executives and music entrepreneurs, who is your role model? Why?
My role model is Pharrell Williams. I like how he integrates his music with fashion, as well as helping to establish new artists and creating a culture of collaboration.
Can we expect any Sam Willows activities under Zendyll?
Yeah we can. Zendyll Records represents all the members as artist-songwriters, and The Sam Willows music has been published under Zendyll since 2015. We could see more features and collaborations for sure!
Now that you've achieved having your own production house and record label, what's your next business venture?
I hope to open an F&B outlet, because I feel like food and music go really well together. That being said, I hope to work with a fashion label and come up with a capsule collection. But that's just what's on my mind :)