Updated: 19 Jan 2017
destination : INK
What it is: An open mic that celebrates the power of words. It’s more a spoken-word (poetry, prose) open mic rather than music, but this event is nonetheless very supportive of musicians. You’ll find a family of fellow writers who will welcome you with open arms.
The Diarist Sessions
What it is: An open mic which “aims to give songwriters an honest place to perform original compositions in an environment suitable for musical appreciation”. It caters to a discerning crowd that listens to and appreciates original music.
When: Second Tuesday of the month
Where: Currently, it’s held at The Music Parlour, 3 Coleman Street, #04-20 Peninsula Shopping Centre
How to sign up: Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Follow The Diarists Sessions on Facebook.
Open Mic @ The Beast
What it is: It’s hard to miss The Beast, a Southern American restaurant and bar located prominently on the corner of Jalan Klapa and Victoria Street. It holds an open mic every Thursday, and performers get a 10-15 minute slot to play their originals (or covers).
When: Every Thursday, 7.30pm
Where: 17 Jalan Klapa, Singapore 199329
How to sign up: Register on the spot for a slot.
Follow The Beast on Facebook.
Overheard Sessions (Acoustic Open Mic)
What it is: The OverHeard Sessions is an artist showcase and open mic series held at The Barber Shop by Timbre. The Thursday sessions are open to all acoustic acts.
When: Every Thursday, 8pm onwards
Where: The Barber Shop by Timbre
How to sign up: Just show up!
Saturday Original Sessions @ Hood Bar & Cafe
What it is: Hood Bar & Cafe is a live music joint located at the Bugis+ mall (formerly known as Iluma). Every night, its stable of cover bands entertain patrons with crowd pleasers. However, Hood is a gem in the original music scene because it opens it stage on Saturdays (yes, Saturdays) to bands that play original music. It’s a rarity because you hardly get original music gigs during prime bar time.
I’d like to point out, though, that this is more a showcase rather than an “open mic” as bands will need to meet a certain standard to be featured. Also, the original act is an opener of sorts for the bar’s resident cover band, who will take over the stage after the gig. Still, with the venue saying its aim is to “raise awareness of local talents with original music and content, and also allow the world a chance to see, hear and experience the original works of Singapore’s bands”, I’d say this place is definitely worth a shout out.
When: Every Saturday, 8pm
Where: Hood Bar and Cafe, Bugis+, 201 Victoria Street #05-07, Singapore 188067
How to sign up: Email email@example.com for a slot. You get a 45 minute set.
Follow Hood Bar & Cafe on Facebook.
OverHeard Sessions (Saturday Showcase)
What it is: The OverHeard Sessions is an artist showcase and open mic series held at The Barber Shop by Timbre. The open mic is on Thursdays (see above), and you’ll need to register beforehand to perform in the Saturday Showcase.
OTHER NOTABLE OPEN-MIC EVENTS
What it is: The grand-daddy of open mics. It’s been around for ages, albeit in different formats and venues. Through the years, it has remained one of the most popular platforms for beginning songwriters. There are also ad-hoc events under the OOOM umbrella, such as festivals and themed-events, which are larger in scale, but still retain some of the open mic flavour.
If you’re a songwriter in Singapore, I hope this list will come in handy. Open mics are one of the best platforms for songwriters to get their music heard. They were where I cut my teeth as a songwriter (and still do) and I am grateful for the many selfless individuals who actively organise original music gigs here. I’ll try my best to keep it current, but do tell me if I’ve missed out anything, a new one has started, or an existing one has changed. (Update: I’ve arranged the sessions according to the day of the week for easier reference. Do pay attention to the details, as most of the events happen only on a particular week every month).
I’ve only included events which focus on original music. Generally, most bars here have an “open mic” night – typically a low-traffic weeknight or Sunday – which gives alcohol-fuelled patrons a chance to sing with the house band. So, I’ve left them out of this list. But again, if you feel that a particular bar/venue takes kindly to originals, let me know.