Benjamin Kheng, Francis Karel, JMKO, Nurin Nadhira

A Collaboration Across Borders: Check Out This Cool TikTok Team Up Between Southeast Asian Artists

We'll be needing an official release.

Southeast Asian musicians from Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia came together for this impromptu collaboration.

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If there’s anything that this modern and connected world has taught us, is that music is universal. You don’t need to be fluent in a certain language in order for you to enjoy the music or culture of another country. Just look at K-pop and how millions of non-Korean speaking fans enjoy the music all over the world. While knowing the language certainly helps, that won’t stop you from liking other artists from other countries. As long as you vibe with the music, then it’s okay.

This mutual love and respect for music can be seen in the countries in Southeast Asia. From Singapore to Manila, we aren’t just connected to each other politically or geographically. There is also an overlap with the music and artists each country enjoys. Just as some local actors and musicians have fanbases in other Southeast Asian countries, so do Filipinos who enjoy content produced in other SEA countries. This shared love can also be seen in how Southeast Asian musicians have collaborated with one another over the years. And one just recently happened, and the best part was it was a spontaneous moment.



a SOUTHEAST ASIAN ##duet with @franciskarelofficial @jmko_music @ndyrsli. had to add some ✨CHOIR✨ vibes ##MTVEMAduet ##BestSEAact @mtvasia

♬ original sound – Benjamin Kheng

It all started when Indonesian-born, but US-based singer/songwriter, Francis Karel posted on his TikTok a video of him singing about the 2021 MTV EMAs Best Southeast Asian Act. At the time, voting was still ongoing and he made the video as a way to promote the fact that artists in SEA were nominated in the category. He then invited other SEA artists to duet him to spread the pride. Our very own JMKO (whose real name is Miko Manguba), joined in and laid down some vocals. 19-year-old Malaysian drummer Nurin Nadhira then came on board to back the track with her drumming skills. And finally, Singaporean solo artist Benjamin Kheng rounded out the trio with his verse.

The Philippines’ very own SB19 was nominated for the award and it ultimately went to JJ Lin from Singapore. But the song wasn’t meant to promote certain artists. It was a general call of celebrating the artistry of Southeast Asian countries and what they have to offer. Aside from the fact that it sounded so good, the coolest thing about this dope collab was that it was all a spur of the moment. None of them were specifically called to be on the song. Instead, they just came on it because they wanted to and it just built up over TikTok to this collab featuring four different artists.

When people think about music from Asia, countries like South Korea and Japan usually get the lion’s share of attention. But Southeast Asia is home to a treasure trove of talented artists, as can be seen in this special collab. We definitely need more collabs like this. Hopefully, these four artists can find the time to complete the song.

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