Newsflash, Nathan Hartono is a Singaporean.
A controversy arose recently when netizens questioned why Hartono was picked as the performer for this year’s National Day Parade (NDP) song, Everything I Am. Accusations online ranged from “Disgrace...ask PR sing NDP song (sic)” to “Why is a (sic) Indonesian singing the NDP song”, prompting the singer to clarify in a Facebook post that he is, in fact, a citizen.
“I’m proud to be a first-generation Singaporean,” Hartono said in his post.
Hartono’s parents are Chinese Indonesians who had migrated to Singapore, and the singer “was born as a Permanent Resident”. Hartono let on that he is now a Singaporean citizen after having served Singapore’s conscription military service.
“After serving two years of National Service, I was finally able to get a Singaporean citizenship. I’ve never known any other place as home.”
Hartono rose to prominence after he was placed first runner-up in Sing! China 2016, a Chinese reality singing competition. He had been active in the entertainment scene even before his stint on the show. Releasing singles under Warner Music Singapore and China, the 28-year-old also starred in theatre shows and a 2019 film.
Despite the online noise about his nationality, Hartono took it all in his stride. “I am thankful for everything this land has given me,” he said.
The 2020 NDP song Everything I Am was composed by Joshua Wan and the music video was directed by local film-maker He Shuming.
Released on 14 July, the music video features locals who had made a difference in their communities, including hip-hop group Redeafination, made up of individuals from the deaf community, and the husband and wife team from OK Chicken Run who had delivered free chicken rice to healthcare workers during the pandemic.