Up close: Members of S’pore’s Sixx quit day jobs to face the music

Clarence Chen
Singapore Showbiz

The funky nine member band will be releasing their first studio album by the end of this year (Yahoo Photos/Jeanette Tan)

Not to be confused by their band name Sixx, seven out of the nine members of the band have made a collective decision to leave their day jobs to become full-time musicians.

Bassist Timothy De Cotta describes the sound of Sixx, recognised as one of the best hip hop bands in Singapore, as "a mix of everything from 90s, hip hop, R&B, electro, funk and soul".

Initially calling themselves "Six Degrees of Separation", the local band prides themselves as a mixture of The Roots meets The Black Keys meets Jamiroquai.

Speaking to Yahoo! Singapore before their TweetJams performance, held in conjunction with Social Media Week, the dynamic band showed their fun-loving side as they made constant interjections and poked fun at each other during the interview.

Sharing more about their decision to focus on their music career, De Cotta said, "It was a calculated decision. In fact, it was everyone's decision."

The remaining two members who are still holding on to their day jobs are teacher Daniel Chia (saxophonist) and lawyer Kelvin Kong (trumpet player). They have no immediate plans to quit as Kong feels he is still able to cope with the demands of the band and his job.

"But my heart is with the band if I have to choose between the two," he added with a smile.

As one of the largest bands ever formed in Singapore, this group of nine is known for their spontaneity in trying to promote local music here. From playing music on the MRT under the stares of many curious onlookers to playing music on the road on a Mini Cooper, the band members have harnessed various creative ways to reach out to music lovers here.

Check out some of their public jamming sessions in the videos below:

On an MRT train in Singapore

Mini traffic jamming

This up-and-coming band was among one of the six local groups shortlisted by the Media Development Authority to represent Singapore in Cannes for a prestigious music festival. The Marche International du Disque et de l'Edition Musicale (MIDEM) is the largest annual trade fair for the music industry, bringing together business opportunities and providing an international platform for showcasing new artists.

"We have to keep travelling, touring and to attend events such as MIDEM. It will not be possible to do so if we are holding on to full-time jobs," said guitarist Kelvin Ang, who left his job as a financial planner.

The trip to MIDEM proved to be a great learning experience for the homegrown band. They rubbed shoulders with English soul singer-songwriter Joss Stone and music producer Mark Ronson, best known for his collaboration with the late Amy Winehouse, "Valerie".

"It is quite inspiring to meet these people," said lead rapper Kevin Lester Sarjit, who is also one of the band's founding members.

En route to Cannes, the band engaged in casual discussions with indie music labels and producers in London. Sarjit revealed that they also discussed potential deals for online distribution, music placements in films and even cable channels during their trip.

Finally making some headway in the local airwaves, the band has launched their first radio single, "Supersonic" last month.

Explaining why they chose "Supersonic" in particular, even though the group has collectively written and performed more than 10 original songs already, lead singer Aarika Lee said, "Supersonic is the song that the crowd always enjoys. It's catchy and people like to sing along with the lyrics. We've been asked to play this song all the time."

Here's Sixx performing their single in an acoustic set at local radio station 987FM

"The music video is already in the post-production stage and should by the end of this month," added Lee.

Besides playing regular gigs at live music venues and performing at events, the band has released a range of band-themed merchandise, designed by artists Eric Foenander and Kristal Raelene Melson.

"This is the business aspect of music," said Lee, signalling affirmation that the band's expansion into merchandise sends a message of their further entrenchment in the local scene: Sixx is here to stay.

Putting their blood, sweat (and for seven of them, careers) into committing to help Singapore make its mark on the musical map of the world, the band unanimously agreed that "it's been good and well worth it" -- and in fact, they've already started.

Find out more about the band and what they offer here.