Interview: Natalie Hiong for Singapore HeritageFest 2012

Why did you choose folk music?
Every student here learns local folk in school and I was no different. We would perform them every year during National Day and Racial Harmony Day. I have fond memories of dressing up in ethnic costumes and singing along to these tunes.

Which HeritageFest events are you looking forward to?
I want to check out the exhibitions centred on the theme of “traditional toys” at Tiong Bahru Plaza. It’ll be nostalgic to see five stones and hopscotch, the games we used to play as children.

How would you describe your music?
I’ve been told my music has the ability to cheer people up so I guess anyone who likes “happy” music. I hope audiences will leave feeling sentimental and in high spirits.

Who are your biggest influences?
I would say singer-songwriters like Sara Bareilles, Sarah McLachlan, Corrinne May, Adele and Broadway musicals.

Has it been intimidating performing in front of a large audience?
No, I feel like it is a privilege. I still do get a bit nervous before each show but I usually get over it once I sing the opening lines. Taking deep breaths helps, as well as having a great band behind me.

Hiong performs at the HeritageFest 2012 on July 22 and 28, 1:50pm.