Living in one of the world’s most vibrant art and culture hubs could not keep local songbird Natalie Hiong away from home. Having been in London for the past five years, she left her investment banking job and returned home to pursue her passion in music.
Natalie Hiong (far right) with fellow Singaporeans at Singapore Day 2009, at Hampton Court Place, London.
“I loved living in London. I made lots of new friends and travelled around Europe, but a big part of me wanted to return home,” Natalie explained. The decision felt natural; since Singapore was home to everything she cared about – friends, family and treasured memories.
Since then, Natalie is proud to say that she has had the chance to represent Singapore in festivals and concerts all around the world. She relishes these opportunities, and is pleased to be sharing about Singapore with her enthusiastic fans. “They are always excited to learn more about Singapore, our culture and our music scene!” she said.
Natalie performing at her festival debut appearance at the Spring Scream Festival, Taiwan in April 2012.
The young singer-songwriter holds her Singaporean identity close to her heart and has featured many of her experiences in her pieces. Her song ‘Coming Home’, which she described as her ‘love song to Singapore’, won her the Homesongs contest in 2014.
“The concept of home to me is where my heart and my soul lie,” Natalie spoke of her musical inspiration. The accompanying video for her song featured this point prominently, interweaving different stories of what the concept of home means to different individuals.
Settling back home, Natalie is encouraged by the evolution and growth of the local music scene. She mentors young local budding songwriters regularly and shares her story with them. “Hopefully I have inspired some of them to pursue music and contribute to the local scene,” she said.
This National Day, Natalie had the honour of performing her songs and crowd favourite ‘Home’ at the Queenstown National Day Dinner. The evening culminated with Natalie leading 1,600 residents in singing the national anthem and drawing jubilee festivities to a patriotic close.
Natalie (far left) performing at the Queenstown National Day Celebration Dinner this year, leading the 1600 residents in singing the national anthem.
“Singapore has come so far in the past 50 years and she has given us so much. I think we like to complain a lot about many things here, but there is so much more to be grateful for,” Natalie said, reflecting on her decision to return home.
“There is something about Singapore that always leads me back home.”