Arts & Culture

Michael Spinks on WHABBY! Musical Carnival 2019

Another music festival?

Words by

Singapore is gradually gaining a reputation as a festival city, with one big event happening almost every month throughout the year. Set to join the ever-growing list is WHABBY! Music Carnival, which will take place at *Scape Playspace this Saturday from noon. Featuring only local musicians and dance acts among other activities, it prides itself as a platform for local creatives to share what they have and prove that they are here to stay.

B-Side shares a couple of minutes with Michael Spinks, WHABBY!’s campaigner, to learn more about the carnival and its offerings.

Singapore has plenty of festivals all year round. In terms of music, we have Shine Festival and Baybeats beyond the year-long programming of The Esplanade. So why WHABBY! Music Carnival?

WHABBY! Music Carnival has grown organically from a community of musicians who just wanted to get together, have a party and play music. I never intended to start a music festival, and I certainly didn’t expect us to be organising our third one this year, but here we are. We are not in competition with any of the other music events. We just want to provide a fun and different atmosphere and an opportunity for not only the artists, but the general public as well to discover how great Singapore-created music is. We’re just going to keep doing our thing for as long as we can.

The core team comprises notable musicians. Why is this important and how does it influence the organisation of this carnival?

True, our core team are musicians, but that’s not as important as having a passion for Singapore-created music and an appreciation for the outstanding artists we have in Singapore and trying to help promote them. As musicians, we can spot talent, but it also helps knowing which artists are serious musicians who want to pursue music as a career, so we can help them on their path with another opportunity to perform.

WHABBY! Music not only supports talent but seeks it. Share with us how you do so.

I love live music, so I personally seek out and attend venues, events and open mics to look for talented musicians. If I like them, I make it a point to introduce myself and exchange contact information with the intention that I might be able to help them find gigs. It’s how this entire thing started, in fact. I just like helping the talented young musicians I meet. It’s fun and satisfying for me. So I continue to do it.

Do you think talent is the most important aspect in being a successful musician in Singapore?


Talent is a gift for sure, but it’s not the most important thing that makes a successful musician. That would be dedication, commitment and hustle to the art itself.

One of the most frustrating things I see with some musicians is how talented they are, yet they are either too lazy to help themselves or they expect someone else to do all the heavy lifting for them. I would rather help an average musician who hustles her ass off than an excellent one who is lazy. It’s a waste of time and talent. The ones who work hard are the ones who will succeed in the music business.

Why do you think the misconception that we don’t have a music scene is still so prevalent despite having a diverse scene?

Words. Words matter. The way we use words to describe the music industry here, it’s really more than just a scene. Even the word “local” seems to have a negative connotation here, as if “local” means the quality is inferior, which is obviously ridiculous. I know this is semantics, but how we describe things and use words is powerful. They make impressions and people make judgements based on those impressions. So we use words such as original music created in Singapore or Singaporean-created music instead of “local music”. It’s just music.

Our motto is Local is Dead go Global Instead.

That’s what WHABBY! Music has been doing with our social media platforms, redefining and clarifying those misconceptions and exposing Singaporean-created music to a global audience.

‍As a member of the general public, what more can I do and would I really make a difference just by attending one carnival?

Every little bit helps to push the music forward. One step at a time. As a member of the general public, you can support Singaporean artists by not only buying their music, but also tickets to events that showcase Singapore original music — WHABBY! Music Carnival is FREE by the way. You can follow their social media pages, call radio stations and request more Singaporean-created music to be played and join organisations that support the arts.

Failing all that, you can start your very own music festival, like we did.

Related Articles

[mc4wp_form id=”3383″]