Girl from Sembawang inspires band's debut single
Boy meets girl. Boy likes girl. Boy releases song about her.
Not the usual route of a love story but a grand romantic gesture nonetheless by Norfadhil Omar Alkhatib, lead vocalist of local band Purely Pale.
Speaking to TNP, Norfadhil said of their first single: “I wrote this song about a girl I met online. She lives in Sembawang, so it's about her in Sembawang.
"I was infatuated but nothing more than that. We're still online friends as we've never met before.”
His band started working on the song last year with the rest of the members contributing to its composition and arrangement.
The bandmates, all 22 years old except for Mikhail Noraini who is 21, were already skilled in different musical instruments before forming the group.
Mohd Farhan Bin Mohammad is the bassist. Mohd Ameer Khan Bashir Ismail plays the drum. Mikail and Wong Jia Heng Muhammad Irfun are the band’s lead guitarist and rhythm guitarist, respectively.
Purely Pale, who delve into indie pop and alternative indie, released the single on May 25.
The members started the band as a hobby in 2019.
“I knew Farhan, Ameer and Mikail. Jia Heng joined the band through Ameer," said Norfadhil.
They became more serious about their music, and their name, as time went on.
“Our first band name was ‘Scratch’. It didn’t have ‘oomph’. I wanted it to be memorable, so I decided to do my research with ChatGPT," Farhan said.
"‘Purely Pale’ popped into my head afterwards. It sounded good and everyone agreed on it."
When probed about what makes them stand out from the crowd, Ameer said, "I don't think we are that much different from other bands in Singapore.
"But the way we play, connect and feel about our music make the difference.
"Playing is easy but including our feelings and connecting are what matter as we can produce a better sound once we are all in sync."
But being in sync is not always possible as Mikail, Norfadhil and Wong are doing their National Service.
Scheduling time for practice can be challenging.
“We try to meet at least three or four times a month on Friday or Saturday nights.
"We need to practise, especially with our single. We need to perfect our playing before we perform live,” Ameer said.
Time is not the only constraint. So is money.
“We’re planning to build a home studio in Mikail’s or my room. Hopefully, we don’t have to spend too much money,” Wong said.
"Renting a studio can range from $20 to $30 per hour. A home studio is technically cheaper because we don't have to think about money to book our sessions every month," Ameer added.
Purely Pale tunes into other local bands such as The Purnama’s, motifs, Shirly Temple, Sienna Swing and 8forty5.
“The Singapore music scene is underrated. There is a crazy amount of talent to be discovered,” Norfadhil said.
Mikail hoped Singapore could embrace this talent. He said, “Honestly, I would like to see the day when Singaporeans pay more attention to local artists who are tremendously talented.”
@tnpdigital Sembawang girls, it's a win for you! TNP sat down with local band Purely Pale to find out about their first single inspired by one of you. Check out a teaser of the song on our Instagram! 🎸 #fyp #sgnews #sglocalband #tiktoksg #singapore ♬ original sound - TNP
As active participants in the local music community, Purely Pale has fostered valuable connections with other bands who share information about event organisers and gig auditions.
Ameer is optimistic about the band's next phase. “I would say the next big step is to have our gig, be it at small or big events such as bazaars or carnivals.”
And what about the mysterious muse who inspired much of this?
Well, it turns out that Sembawang girl likes the song.
"She knew about the song as I told her about it. She was really happy that a song had been written about her," said Norfadhil.
Who knows? She could be in the crowd cheering Purely Pale on as they belt out Sembawang at a gig.