Sarah Cheng-De Winne
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Sarah Cheng-De Winne

Singapore, South West, Singapore

Singapore, South West, Singapore
Band Pop R&B




"Sarah Cheng-De Winne on music, art and making a living doing what you love"

Sarah was one of those people you couldn't not notice in school. Even as a kid (a year below me in MGS), she had one of those voices that could raise the rafters off the school hall.?

I still remember that day in the quadrangle in MGS, I must have been 12 or something insanely young like that, and it was some sort of special occasion. Up onto the podium where the principal normally stands walks eleven-year-old Sarah, all long limbs and lanky arms. The kids are fidgeting, talking among themselves, a quiet murmur as we waited for her to start.

And then she does. And there is complete silence. And all I can think is WHOA. Where in the world does she keep that voice of hers when she isn't up on stage? Her voice was so big, so generous, so rich and full - it was hard to wrap my head around the fact that it came from someone so young.

It didn't come as that big of a surprise (to me anyway) that she decided to pursue her passion and ditch the conventional route for the road less traveled, and honestly, we're all better off for it because talent like that should not be kept to a group of select few friends and family.

All these years later, I got a chance to chat with Sarah Cheng and talk music, art and making a living doing what she loves. ?I'm actually going to catch her performance this Friday, Sept 28, at the Esplanade, and I thought I'd share her musical journey with all of you, as part 2 of the series of Q&As I'm doing with young women who have decided to do what they love.

I understand that you have been in the music industry for a long time (and I know for a fact that you’ve been singing since you were in Primary school) – what made you decide to pursue your passion full time?

The definitive moment was winning the solo and group categories of a school talentime competition when I was 14 years old. (Ashley, you might have remembered that since we were in the same school) Since then it's a been a progressive journey, rather than a decision that happened overnight. But leaving a high-profile career in the media (I was a Radio DJ on 938LIVE) earlier this year was something I had to do in order to really focus on completing the songwriting and production for my debut full-length album, Brand New. It was not an easy decision to make. Thankfully, I've since received the support of Warner Music Singapore, who's distributing the album. I've also been very blessed and grateful to have the support of my family, friends and industry mentors, who have encouraged me, helped me, and continue to do so.

You have a new album out – Brand New. Could you tell us more about that?

Brand New reflects my new perspectives on life, love and music that I've come to realise in the last two years... I used to believe that music was like art. But I now believe that music is a gift that should be used to reach out to move as many people as possible. That's why musically, Brand New crosses the genres of Pop, Soul and R&B in a very contemporary and accessible way. Thematically, Brand New explores forgiveness, redemption, self-empowerment and love, inspired by the relationships with and of my friends and loved ones, and the realisation that with God's love, He gives us the chance to be brand new. Three of the songs were written after a traumatic car accident that left me miraculously unscathed. Such a near-death experience really forced me to look at life differently... and I hope that others will be inspired to treasure the gifts they bring to this world, and use them wisely.

What is the music landscape like in Singapore, how has it changed in the years that you have been involved in it?

It's definitely become more complex to be an artist in this day and age. Just five years ago, people still bought CDs. But these days. record companies and labels have stopped investing in creating albums for artists, because there's very little return in CD sales. With technology, it's much easier for everyone to create music, but not everyone has the expertise to create music that's of a high creative and production value, so there's a lot of clutter. On the other hand, technology has also created platforms for us to reach out to new fans and connect with potentially more markets.... It's clear that the music industry is changing towards another business model - but exactly what this is and how it will be sustainable in the long term is still very uncertain.

Specific to Singapore, there's definitely more original singer-songwriters and bands who are writing their own music, and it's great to be part of this movement. But audiences here are still very conservative towards local music - there needs to be greater interest and support for local, original music or else our talents will continue to move elsewhere for greener pastures. So it's great that bloggers like you are taking a fresh interest in profiling artists like myself :)

What are some of the biggest challenges/misconceptions when it comes to being an artiste in -

"Brand New Me"

Singer Sarah Cheng-De Winne's close brush with death inspired songs in her latest album

Just two months after a lorry ran straight into her car and totalled it, local singer-songwriter
Sarah Cheng-De Winne is performing a solo show on Friday at the Esplanade.
Most remarkable of all is the fact that Cheng-De Winne, 24, emerged from her wrecked vehicle with only minor injuries such as gum swelling, abrasions and a superficial cut on her thigh.
And it all happened on July 3, just a week after she performed as a back·up vocalist for singer
Corrinne May as part of Gardens by the Bay's opening celebrations on June 30.
The married singer tells Life! that she recollects only three things of her escape from what could
have been a fatal accident: "One, I lost control of the steering wheel. Two, a white lorry was heading for me. Three, I woke up face down on the ground.'"
After spending three days in hospital and taking a few more days of hospitalisation leave, she returned
to work and completed her debut full-length album, Brand New.
The 13-track album contains 12 English songs and one in Mandarin about love, redemption and
self-empowerment, delivered in the genres of pop, soul and R&B. It will be officially launched on Friday
with her concert at the Esplanade Recital Studio.
Three new songs from the album - Just Me, Even In The Small Things and Love Shape Void - were
inspired by her frightening experience. Just Me is about "self-empowerment, and how
you mean more to others than you think". Cheng-De Winne adds: "I was just thinking about
what if I'd really died. I was flung from the car and could have been seriously injured. The doctors were
really amazed. If I really died, people around me would be quite upset, and life is precious."
Even In The Small Things was written "in reference to my mum, realising how when you're in
need, your family just show their love and support in small ways", and Love Shape Void looks at what is really missing in one's life.
She appears calm when talking about the car accident. "I think my subconscious is detaching
itself from the accident. But I get quite scared when I really think about it. It's definitely something that
reminds me of what I need to be doing, which is music."
What scares her now is not driving but sitting in the front passe,nger's seat, because that was the side
which the lorry struck.
"I probably feel that way because as a passenger, there's a sense of not being in control," adds
Cheng-De Winne.
In March this year. she left her job as a radio deejay at 938Live to concentrate on her music, after
1.5 years of juggling her passion for singing with a full-time job.
Since her undergraduate days, she has had regular singing gigs at Night & Day and later at Orgo,
from last January till June this year.
In 2010, she released her debut recording, the jazz-pop EP Let's Pretend, which has sold more
than 600 copies.
Brand New has much more of a pop style and "my influences such as top 40 hits". "I made the
major shift because I wanted to package my music as something more accessible, so it reaches as many people as possible."
However, she says that her rare Mandarin track, Yan Xu Dao Yong Yuan (Make Me Love You Less) is
not an attempt to break into the Chinese music market. "1 learnt to sing in a different way and it's
just to see the response it gets."
Although Jim Lim, her producer-composer on that track, explained to her "the strategies of
breaking into the Taiwan market starting with small shows", she is not ready to make a move in that
"It's something to think about in future, not now. I have to brush up on my Mandarin."

Brand New is out in stores. - The Straits Times, 26 September 2012

"Rising Star: 60 seconds with 6 Music Artistes (Part 1)"

Hot on the heels of Corrinne May and Tanya Chua comes local singer-songwriter Sarah Cheng-De Winne and her latest musical project – “Brand New”, a debut full-length album that features anthemic melodies delivered in her distinctively soulful voice. Drawing from diverse influences including The Carpenters, Stevie Wonder, Bread, John Legend, Sade, Corrine Bailey Rae, Anita Baker and Simply Red, Sarah joins the new wave of female singer-songwriters like Adele, Leona Lewis and P!nk in creating a distinctive sound that crosses the genres of Pop, Soul and R&B.
Launched on 28 September 2012 a ticketed live show at the Esplanade, “Brand New” showcases her rich, powerful and expressive vocals. The album delves into the lyrical themes of love, redemption and self-empowerment. Especially influenced by life events that occurred over the last two years, her powerful anthem, “Just Me”, was written in response to her miraculous escape from a horrific car accident with only minor injuries. “The accident prompted me to reflect on my purpose in life. It made me realize just how fragile we are, but also how strong we can be.” Her EPK, which will feature a live video performance from her ‘Late Nite’ concert at the Esplanade Recital Studio, is due to be completed by the end of 2012. Also, through Warner Music Singapore's distribution channels, her album is now available at all good music stores and will be available on the iTunes Store later this month.
Check out Sarah Cheng De-Winne’s first radio single “Parallel Lives” here and pick up a copy of her album Brand New from all good music stores. - Media Exchange (Issue 14, October 2012)


Always maintained that we need a strong mainstream pop scene here before the so-called “alternative” can surface so am glad to report that pop songstress Sarah Cheng-De Winne‘s new single – “Parallel Lives” is one to listen to again and again, if nothing else for that rather hooky chorus, its easy R&B vibe and Sarah’s thick luscious vocals. Coming soon: new album, Brand New. Look out for it…
- Power of Pop

"A Brand New Start"

SINGAPORE - It could all have gone horribly wrong for Singapore singer Sarah Cheng-De Winne. Sometime in July, when she was in the middle of recording her album, she met with a car accident.

"A lorry hit the passenger side, the car was totalled, and I actually flew out of the car and landed on the side of the road with just minor scratches, abrasions and gum injuries," she said. "I was hospitalised but didn't have any internal injuries or broken bones. It was a miracle that I came out largely unscathed, thank God."

While the accident delayed production of her album, called Brand New, it did give her new inspiration for songs, thanks to her new perspective on life. When you get through an experience like that, you kind of look at life differently. One of the songs that I wrote, Just Me, talks about that, about how life is fragile …"

You can hear Sarah performing songs from Brand New on Sept 28 at the Esplanade Recital Studio, 9.30pm. Tickets are available from Sistic. - TODAY

"Sing-Out Sisters"

In an age of diminishing CD sales, who would have thought four little known, locally based singers would record and release their own albums. And these are not CDs that rely on pretty faces to sell
mainstream pop tunes, either. Sarah Cheng-De Winne, Bevlyn Khoo, Maggie Ko and Sachiyo Nakagaki are jazz-pop songbirds whose recent releases contain many original tunes among the usual covers of
Music industry players estimate that the number of Singaporean soft-jazz chanteuses in the local music scene has grown from fewer than 10 three years ago to more than 30 today.
Mr Dean Augustine is head of A&R/marketing for the local wing of Japanese record label S2S, which recently released albums by Khoo and Ko. He says: 'There is a lot of demand for jazz-pop singers to
sing live at corporate functions and weddings, thanks to the popularity of international jazz-pop artists like Michael Buble and Jamie Cullum.'
The 31-year-old Khoo, who performs regularly at weddings and runs her own wedding music company, has a following.
Civil servant Chan H.Y., 35, has bought all three of Khoo's albums. Although her most recent release, Bistro Affair, comprises only French-language classics, Mr Chan says that the pulling factor for him was her original tunes: 'She sings songs inspired by things that happen over here, so I feel that there is a connection for local listeners.'
Restaurants and nightspots such as Orgo, which is located on the Esplanade rooftop, are also more willing to take a chance on these relative newcomers.
It has signed on Cheng-De Winne, 23, to sing live there on Wednesday nights.
Orgo owner Nick Yen, 42, says that he was won over by her unique voice and jazz-soul music. 'We auditioned several singers and she stood out. Her style of music is also quite hip and contemporary, in
line with the concept that we wanted for Orgo.'
Among the four recent adult contemporary jazz releases by Khoo, Ko, Cheng-De Winne and Nakagaki, only Khoo's has nothing but covers.
S2S's Mr Augustine makes no apologies for it. He argues that covering the classics is essential if the singers want to make a bigger mark in the region. 'All known jazz artists do covers. Take, for example, Michael Buble. His first album was all covers and it was a successful breakthrough album for him. It was only later that he slowly introduced some originals.
'So I strongly believe jazz singers need to do covers first in order to stand out. Once they are more well known, people will find it easier to accept the originals.' - The Straits Times, 21 Jan 2011


Still working on that hot first release.



“Luscious vocals” is simply an introduction to singer-songwriter Sarah Cheng-De Winne. A multifaceted singer, songwriter, creative entrepreneur and ex-Radio DJ with more than a decade of vocal, musical and theatre training, Sarah’s debut album Brand New (2012) marks a distinctive progression from her debut EP, Let’s Pretend (2010), in establishing her unique brand of soul-pop.

International Recognition & Awards
Internationally, Sarah was recognized as Winner at the 12th Annual Independent Music Awards (US) for her song “Love-Shape Void” (Contemporary Christian/Gospel), with an additional nomination for “Diagonal Rain” (R&B/Soul). Sarah received further accolades in the UK Songwriting Contest 2012 by clinching multiple Finalist positions (nominated to win) in 4 different categories for her songs “Diagonal Rain”, “Parallel Lives”, “Love-Shape Void” & “Past Midnight (Remix)”. Sarah also performs the theme song of Starworld’s The Apartment Style Edition, where her voice has been heard in 18 countries worldwide. Her music has also entered international radio playlists such as Japan’s no. 1 station InterFM, Hong Kong’s RTHK Radio 3 and the Asia Hitlist on major airlines. In Singapore, Sarah’s songs “Happy Ever After” and “Love-Shape Void” were featured on the soundtrack of MediaCorp Toggle’s telemovie, Love…And Other Bad Habits (2013), the former being the telemovie’s theme promotional song.

Featured Performances & Representation
With a “delightfully soulful” voice, dynamic performances and signature blend of pop, R&B/soul and jazz, Sarah has featured on local and international platforms such as Music Matters 2013, Taiwan’s largest indie music festival Spring Scream 2013, Mosaic Music Festival 2011, LIVE! Singapore 2010, Singapore Wine & Jazz Festival 2010, Esplanade’s Celebrate December (2009 & 2010) and Timbre’s LIVE (2010). She has also opened for Hong Kong diva Frances Yip and performed backing vocals for singer-songwriter Corrinne May’s Singapore concerts – including a 7000-strong crowd at Corrinne’s Rhythm in Nature show at Gardens by the Bay. Having toured Hong Kong, Malaysia and Taiwan in 2013 to promote Brand New, Sarah’s unique vocal qualities, versatile personality and striking figure make her a sought-after performer for high-level corporate events. A bilingual performer, Sarah was selected as Singapore’s sole representative at The Voice China’s Season 2 (2013) regional auditions. She was also handpicked as one of four GC Smart Luxury personalities to front and represent Singapore in GC Watches’ 2012/13 global campaign.

Brand New (2012)
Sarah’s latest 13-track album, Brand New (2012), epitomizes her renewed perspectives on life, relationships and music-making during its 2-year incubation period. In July 2012, Sarah miraculously escaped a horrific lorry-car collision with only minor injuries. She found herself safe on the pavement with no logical explanation other than divine intervention. Her powerful anthem, “Just Me”, was written in response to the accident. “The accident prompted me to reflect on my purpose in life… It made me realize just how fragile we are, but also how strong we can be.”

Delving into lyrical themes of love, redemption and self-empowerment, Brand New features the rising songbird’s ear for anthemic melodies, foot-tapping grooves and her signature style of expressive vocal performance. Sarah has been lauded for her vocal and songwriting “versatility…as she tackles R&B, pop and urban rhythms” (TODAY, 12 Oct 2012) within her own “distinctive soulful pop brand” (, 21 Dec 2012). Sarah’s songwriting has also been noted to “show a maturity beyond her years” (TODAY, 9 Sept 2010), with “a good dollop of pop sensibility” (The Business Times, 3 Sept 2010).

Co-produced with Los Angeles-based music producer Kavin Hoo (Corrinne May, Tanya Chua) and mixed by Grammy award-winning engineer Bob Horn, Brand New has spawned the singles, ”Parallel Lives“, “Happy Ever After” and “Make Me Love You Less”, which are rotated heavily on Singapore’s no. 1 English radio station Class95FM, 98.7FM, Lush99.5, and Gold90.5FM. The 13-track album features 8 original songs, 2 covers and 3 bonus tracks including Chinese song«?????», which has been added to Singapore’s top Chinese radio stations 93.3FM and 100.3FM’s playlists.

Band Members