Shye pushes the boundaries of her “malleability” in ‘Corduroy’ music video
Written by ABR on 27/01/2022
Singaporean singer-songwriter Shye has taken things to another level in her new music video for ‘Corduroy’ – which you can now watch exclusively on NME.
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Shye – who was crowned Best New Act from Asia at the BandLab NME Awards 2022 earlier this month – plays with the “malleability” of her image in this video through the lens of a young girl who visits the optometrist for an eye exam.
‘Corduroy’ is from her 2021 mini-album ‘Hello Trinity’, which showcases her continued explorations into off-kilter, infectious pop music following her 2020 debut ‘Days To Morning Glory’, which was one of NME’s best Asian albums of 2020.
Watch the ‘Corduroy’ video, directed by Huang Junxiang, and read on for Shye’s conversation with NME about its themes, new music, her ambitions to write for a K-pop group and more.
Congrats on winning Best New Act from Asia – how does it feel? Where were you when you found out you won?
“Thank you! I had just woken up and I saw that NME tagged me in a post, but I had no idea what it was about. So I opened the notification and saw that I had won and I immediately got up and woke my mom up.
“I was still quite tired, I stayed up really late the night before because I was working on music but I couldn’t go back to sleep after that, obviously.”
How did you come up with the concept for the ‘Corduroy’ music video?
“Initially the plan was to do a video for ‘Welcome Back’ but I felt like I could do more visually with ‘Corduroy’. The first person I thought of – because I most recently worked with him – was Huang Junxiang, the director of the National Day 2021 music video.
“I gave him complete creative freedom because he’s more of a filmmaker, rather than a music video director. The storyline is about a girl who goes to see an optometrist and takes an eye exam. He suggested playing with the ‘malleability’ of my image in a wraparound concept of the eye exam.
“It was equally important to him that the song and the visuals synced so it captures the essence of the different tones and the shifts in the song itself. He paid attention to the smallest details in the music which is one of the reasons why I wanted a music video for ‘Corduroy’. I felt like there could be a lot of different elements to the video that could complement the song and vice versa.
“For me, the biggest takeaway is that we’re always searching for answers and sometimes we just need a new set of eyes so that we can see things clearly again.”
The track itself is very different from the other songs on ‘Hello Trinity’ – where’d you draw that inspiration from?
“‘Corduroy’ was the last song to get dumped into the EP. I wrote a song previously that was too different and it didn’t blend well with the rest of the EP so I threw it away.
“When I wrote ‘Corduroy’ – and it was very late into the process – the other songs had already been settled and all of a sudden, there was this new song that I wanted to add in as well.
“I knew I wanted something a bit more light-hearted because I felt like that was something that was missing from the EP but I didn’t want to stray too far from the electronic sound.”
Are you planning to repurpose the scrapped song at some point?
“I’m not sure. I already have a few songs that I’m planning to release this year. I’m being a bit more happy, less dark and I’m returning to my bedroom pop roots. Electronic was something that I had always wanted to try and now I’ve finally done that.
“Not to say that I’ll never do it again, but I miss my bedroom pop sound. So I thought it’d be a good idea to do that again and see how I can make a different style of bedroom pop from what I did before.”
You post TikToks of yourself doing K-pop dance choreography. Some of your fans have asked you to audition for big K-pop labels – is that something you’ve ever considered?
“I tried out for a survival show. I sent in a minute of myself dancing and singing. They called me back and asked when I could fly out to Korea but the timeline was not suitable because it was around the NDP period, and that was my main priority.
“It’s a shame that the timing didn’t line up and I couldn’t speak fluent Korean. It’s quite funny, though, they included my audition tape in the show so a lot of people were really surprised.”
Is that something you’d try again when the timeline works for you?
“If I spoke fluent Korean, yes. But I’m happy with where I am right now, being able to produce and sing and dance on the side. Those are things that I really enjoy, and I’m thankful for what I have.
“Something I would be more interested in is writing for a K-pop group or producing for them. That’s something on my bucket list, even if it’s just one or two lines.”
For your next releases, are you envisioning another project or multiple singles?
“Maybe not an album this year, but I will definitely be putting out singles. I’m not sure if I want to put out an EP, maybe early next year.
“I have a new single planned for February 11. It was supposed to be on ‘Days To Morning Glory’, then ‘Hello Trinity’ and now it’s a single.
“I feel like it’s more meaningful as a single because it’s my most personal song. It’s dedicated to the people who are listening to me and the people who have stopped as a thank you to them for allowing my music to take up space and time in their lives.”
You’ve got two projects under your belt now. What are some of the biggest things you’ve learnt about yourself as a musician so far?
“As a musician, I’ve learnt that I love to experiment with different styles. I always get so excited when I can try more than one genre. I’m more confident in myself now and I know what I want now. Last time, it was a bit more trial and error.
“I really enjoy a lot of different kinds of music and hopefully it kind of shows through my own music. Otherwise, I feel like I’m still the same little girl that I was when I started. Obviously now maybe she knows a bit more, but I still feel like the same in a lot of ways.”
Shye’s mini-album ‘Hello Trinity’ is out now.
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