The top music charts of Singapore are dominated by American and British artists and soundtracks from all the latest Hollywood blockbusters. At any given time a mere 5% of the top 40 slots in the charts go to Asian artists, and very occasionally to native Singaporeans.
One could question that this is due to the content available on digital purchasing means such as iTunes, but the charts factor in the purchase of CDs from stores as well as the digital music. It's not only a young audience purchasing music but the reflection of the Top 40 suggests youngsters who are heavily influenced by international releases.
Artists, such as Stephanie Sun and Tanya Chua, have become famous by heading out to international territory to claim their musical breaks and then returning to Singapore as household names to enjoy chart success. This sparks an important question, what can local talent do to recognise national success without having to leave Singapore?
With the age of technology it has never been easier to produce and sell a record. Record labels need not be at a disadvantage with this as strong collaboration could be induced. But the important thing is that people are being exposed to new talent and music without serious financial backing, as was required with previous generations.
The introduction of shows such as Singapore Idol, allows many artists the ability to showcase their skills to the entire nation, but it still doesn't guarantee a career at the end of it, or even the release of a record. People of all ages watch Singapore Idol and the record labels should be quick to jump onto talent that will appeal to an older demographic, because the young demographic is certainly covered, as reflected by music sales. This of course applies to mainstream, contemporary and pop music and doesn't factor in the very large alternative scene in Singapore.
Now, more than ever, is the opportune time to find an equal balance in the charts with national and international talent. There is a chance to put Singapore on the map as a strong contender in the Asian music market and the opportunity should be seized with two hands by record labels and independent artists together.