Master of melancholy; soulful crooner; the man with velvet vocals; much has been said to describe Charlie Lim. But strip away all those titles, and what you get is arguably one of Singapore’s most talented musicians with an uncanny ability to make fans – and we don’t just mean of the female variety – swoon at his feet.
Ahead of his much-anticipated return to Singapore International Jazz Festival 2016 (third time’s a charm!), we chat with the multi-talented singer-songwriter about carrying the torch for other local music acts and his reluctance on being dubbed a sex symbol.
On his first gig at Sing Jazz 2014
I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. The crowd was especially encouraging – many actually bought tickets and turned up just to watch us without knowing the rest of the festival line-up. But that’s the beauty of Sing Jazz: it’s a perfect opportunity to discover some of the best artists in the world.
On who he’s most excited to see perform at Sing Jazz
Hiatus Kaiyote, for sure. There’s a one-degree of separation between us: I’ve worked with their producer, one of their backup singers, and even rehearsed in their home studio in Melbourne. It’s kind of surreal having a lot in common with Hiatus Kaiyote but never having the chance to meet them in person – so I’m definitely looking forward to that next year at Sing Jazz.
On being in the company of musical greats at Sing Jazz
I can’t speak on behalf of the audience, but for me, just to be in the presence and on the same stage as great artistes like Buena Vista Social Club, Joss Stone, and Taylor McFerrin means a lot. It’s not just for myself – I’m carrying the torch for other Singaporean artists and showing the world that we are on the same benchmark as international musicians.
On moving away from jazz for his new EP, Time/Space
That’s just me growing and experimenting as an artist. Time/Space is still heavily influenced by jazz but I tried to blend it with pop, electronic, and other sounds to create a very organic record.
On his massive appeal with the ladies
Call me idealistic, but I like to think that my fans are really in it for my music and not because I’ve sold myself as a celebrity or, God forbid, a sex symbol. So I rather focus on my music and let it speak for itself.
Describe yourself in three words
Meticulous, a perfectionist, and a procrastinator
Your favourite song from Time/Space?
I Only Tell The Truth
Which artist (dead or alive) would you love to collaborate with?
D’Angelo. No, scratch that – James Blake.
Your greatest accomplishment so far?
The relationship I have with my family and my parents.