The beating heart of Gentle Bones is a finicky bedroom punctuated with musical chattels - a bad-boy sound system, a fabulous acoustic guitar, and a skinny microphone. At just 21 years-old, Joel Tan AKA Gentle Bones has already accomplished more than many musicians can hope for in their careers; Winner of the Hong Kong ...
Joel’s earliest music memory is of watching compilation DVDs of pop music together with his siblings and cousins. He says, “From Michael Jackson, Backstreet Boys, 911 and the Spice Girls; that was the time I developed the love for music”. He was only 4 years old when he started understanding and appreciating the beauty of musical hooks in pop music. Little did he know of the joy and impact it would have in shaping his life. “It gave me direction and all I know is that I wanted to pursue It.” he said.
The Gentle Bones journey started in 2010, when he started to pick up the acoustic guitar at the tender age of 16. Subsequently, songwriting became second nature, as lyrics and melodies began forming themselves. “Ed Sheeran and Pete Doherty really inspired me to pick up the guitar and start writing tunes. As I started writing and releasing songs, I fell in love with the process of creation.” He said. Since then, Gentle Bones has seen success out of the gate. His debut self-titled EP drew positive reactions and won him more fans with industry leaders hailing the EP launch party as the biggest ever by any local artist, it is evident that he wears his heart on his sleeves and has a voice that is growing, fast.
On his new EP Geniuses & Thieves, Gentle Bones has made a sonic step forward from the acoustic, multi-layered pop vocals that made his name. The new sound is made up of sprawling electro-sonics and infectious hooks - an ambitious stride forward for one of Singapore’s most exciting young artists. He says, “It was a huge decision for me to make this switch but I knew I wanted to do it. I am extremely proud of my first record considering I was working with a lot of limitations. My songwriting has matured and I wanted to speak of topics outside of love.”
Geniuses and Thieves is an artfully constructed record that not only showcases Gentle Bones’ talents as a songwriter and vocalist but also his wide range of influences. He draws from R&B influences that have him reaching impressive vocal heights with bluesy baritones and glossy falsettos. He name-checks Majid Jordan, The Weeknd, DVSN and Chet Faker as his main influences. He’s also a big fan of '90s pop icons, The Backstreet Boys and Nsync whom he credits for being huge inspirations to the current EP.
One thing’s for certain, he was absolutely focused on the sound he wanted to achieve and the artist he wants to be. He says, "That was the only music that I wanted to do at that point in time. I came to terms with everything positive and negative from my first release and wanted a record that I could truly be comfortable with because I am more confident of my identity as an artist now. I hope to be able to influence as many people as possible with my music. Hopefully my songs find their way into as many personal playlists as possible and touch people’s lives one way or another. "
With a string of exciting showcases and plans lined up for 2016, Gentle Bones plans to practice perseverance and hard work. “I hope to continue to work on my music and release as many songs as I possibly can. Hopefully, my music can penetrate the surrounding regions and the rest of the world. I love my country and am passionate about having our local music reach new heights globally in the coming years.” Definitely no rest for the weary. Gentle Bones is equal parts fresh face, old soul, newcomer, and lifer. He’s going, quickly. Now it’s up to the rest of the world to catch up and catch on.