We spend a lot of time talking about the pros and cons of technological disruption in the creative industries. And each of us has our theories and predictions as to what the future might look like for a market like the United States. And to be honest, the discussions often revolve around how we should or should not be responding to the fact that technological forces have been shrinking the industries we built through the 20th century. In this context, I think it’s very interesting to watch what emerging artists are doing in countries where there has been no creative industry to date.
My guest in this podcast is Singapore musician Kevin Lester, an award-winning hip hop artist, writer, and producer. Personally, I think Singapore is a fascinating market to watch because artists like Kevin are really the first generation to want to build a homegrown creative industry from the ground up. This tiny city-state only gained full independence from British colonial rule in 1965, and its robust economy has largely been built on shipping, financial services, and exports of electronics and pharmaceuticals. Now, it is the children and grandchildren of that first generation of independent Singaporeans who want to make music and filmed entertainment and other artistic works. And artists like Kevin are determined to see Singapore develop a sustainable industry out of what can presently be called a local scene.
Kevin has played multiple festivals around the world, and he has received numerous honors as an emerging artist. Just last month, he released his latest EP, Put Your City On, which contains the hit song “Forever,” a piece all about Kevin’s determination as an artist and as an activist for promotion of the arts in Singapore. After signing with the new Asian-focused label BMBX, founded by Apl.de.ap of the Black Eyed Peas, Kevin Lester rebranded himself as The Lion City Boy in honor of Singapore’s nickname The Lion City.
I spoke to Kevin at his home studio via Skype.
Learn more about The Lion City Boy at his website.