18-year-old Jarrell Ng was still reeling in disbelief at his first ever meet-the-media session, moments after he was crowned the inaugural winner of SPOP SING!, a talent search programme which aims to discover and groom new talents in Singapore.
The four-month-long competition culminated with a star-studded music festival and grand finale at the Padang yesterday, and saw a strong turnout of more than 8,000 despite wet weather conditions. The final four contestants battled it out in song and dance, and Marcus Tay and Jarrell eventually edged out their female competitors Daryl-Ann Jansen and Karena Yeo to emerge as the final two in the race.
After a round of public voting on Toggle, the Singapore Polytechnic student was crowned winner and walked away with S$30,000 cash prize, a debut song written by famed local composer Lee Wei Song, as well as an artiste contract which will see him jointly managed by Wise Music and Mediacorp.
In his first post-show interview, Jarrell looked back on the competition and said with a grin, “I think I’m quite satisfied with my performance… I’ve always said that Marcus is my biggest competition but he’s also a really good friend of mine. He’s my best friend but also my strongest competitor (laughs). It’s a complicated relationship.”
The music enthusiast had little words to say about his win but expressed optimism about what the future holds for him. “I’ve been so busy preparing for the finals [and] I'm very excited about the plans lined up for me.”
Press conference with the SPOP SING! winner
So what exciting opportunities do they have in store for him?
In the words of judge Lee Shih Song, Jarrell’s music journey has just begun and there are grand plans to groom him to become an all-rounder and the next-big-thing, added Mediacorp Chief Content Officer Doreen Neo.
“Mediacorp and Wise Music will be spending the next three to five years developing Jarrell’s music career. We’ll co-manage his career with Wise Music… and spend efforts to groom him for our multimedia platforms in Singapore, be it drama, variety or special shows…. Music wise, we’d work with Wise Music to develop and grow Jarrell for the greater China market,” she said.
Similarly, the Lee brothers expressed confidence in Jarrell’s potential on the global stage and are eager to start him on training sessions as they see “plenty of room for growth and improvement” in the winner, who displayed a flair for music composition, having rearranged his final song ‘Ting Shuo Ai Qing Wei Li Kai Guo’ (‘Ting Shuo Ai Qing Hui Lai Guo’ was originally sung by Sandy Lam).
“You’ve seen Jarrell’s stage presence, plus his dancing and singing abilities as well his knack for composition [and] we intend to work on his strengths and push him in that direction with more training.”
In an interview with reporters, Lee Shih Song added that they intend to bring Jarrell out of Singapore and expose him to the Chinese market. “I’ll bring him to Beijing for training too [because] I want him to feel what other singers go through outside of Singapore. I want him to know how tough the competition is outside, unlike in Singapore where they are well-protected.
“Then they’ll know where they stand and recognise the journey ahead of them – if they are a step away from it or if it is a longer journey than they expected. Then they’ll know how much they need to improve and what they need to improve on.”