#Thisisinch

 

Fitting iNCH into a caricature of her namesake would be a misnomer. Always surprising people with her breadth of musicianship and depth of personality, iNCH is never afraid to venture into the discomforting umbra of artistry to push her own limits and challenge popular perceptions. One can imagine her as a musical nomad with the spirit animal of a mouse deer — endangered, private and mysterious, yet when revealed is honest and vulnerable — a contradiction of meekness and artfulness. Such unpredictability makes this pint-sized Singaporean singer-songwriter all the more an exciting paradox to embark on a musical adventure with.

  A performance veteran in her own right, she has a solid breadth of experience on the world’s stage — from major local events such as Baybeats, Singapore International Festival of the Arts, Singapore Arts Festival, Singapore Night Festival, F1 Grand Prix, Youth Olympic Games — to other lauded arts festivals in Asia and beyond, including Beijing MIDI Music Festival, South by Southwest Festival (SxSW) in Texas, CMJ Music Marathon in New York, TEDxWomen in Washington, and the Canadian Music Week in Toronto. As a further nod to her abilities, iNCH opened for international acts Katy Perry, Vampire Weekend, and The Like, and even appeared in theatre (icon Kuo Pao Kun’s Lao Jiu).

Photography by Utek Leong.

Photography by Utek Leong.

Vocals, Guitar, Omnichord // Inch Chua
Bass, Backing Vocals // Tim De Cotta
Guitars // James Lye
Keys, Sampling, Button Mashing // Evan Low
Drums // Teo Jia Rong


  One of iNCH’s most recent career highlights includes being the opening main act in her local record label House of Riot!’s landmark triple bill at The Esplanade, Singapore’s premier performing arts centre. iNCH, along with label mates veteran indie-rock band The Great Spy Experiment and the prodigious Charlie Lim, became the first indie collective to perform in The Esplanade’s grande dame – the 1,600 seater Concert Hall.

  iNCH’s restless artistic imagination also goes beyond the realms of melody and harmony. She published her first book, Between the Devil & the Deep Blue Sea, in 2014 — a book that opens up yet another facet of this multi-talented young lady, revealing to us that behind her already-accomplished musical capabilities lie equally-fascinating visual art sensibilities which are an inseparable part of her creative process.

  Even so, iNCH has never allowed these achievements and successes to define her as a musician. Through sheer hard work and a heart that stays grounded with her love for people, she carves every experience into her craft and relentlessly hones her innate musical gifts. Her debut EP, The Bedroom (2009), lured critics with the intimate, effervescent tunes that formally introduced iNCH’s signature range to the world. The EP was wildly circulated on music blogs and made it to the top five most mentioned music on HypeMachine. In that same year, she became the first Singaporean singer-songwriter to perform at SxSW, christening her as one of the city-state’s leading lights in the independent music scene. Her full-length, Wallflower (2010), closely followed, her artistic ambition expressed itself in folksy melodies set against lyrics that reveal the trepidation of coming of age. The Wallflower album was launched to a sold-out crowd and solid reception, but the indomitable iNCH did not allow the success to halt her thirst for a higher plane of musicianship — the following year in 2011, she packed her bags for Los Angeles on a quest for new inspiration. Her move indeed took her sonic palette on a steep departure from previous material, and arrived with her sophomore album, Bumfuzzle (2013), which received five star reviews for its homage to classic rock records, featuring the grandiosity of complex guitars and massive drums.

Photography by Crispian Chan

Photography by Crispian Chan

In her latest EP, Letters to Ubin (2015), the mouse deer canters back to find her roots in nature, as she draws ideas from the raw appeal of Pulau Ubin in a four-month stay as part of a joint project with The Artists Village & National Arts Council. This new EP finds iNCH once again as musical nomad, reflecting on city life and the countryside, deflecting back and forth between the mechanical and analog worlds, and so inflecting Letters to Ubin with the music concrete that showcases the sounds and sights of the rustic Pulau Ubin. iNCH retrofits into her musical journey a missing digital forest now rediscovered, beckoning listeners to join her on an aural trek across the Pulau and harkening them to consider this: Come, take a pause, and contemplate fruitful idleness — this concept that is a rare, almost paradoxical commodity in the Singaporean economy of life.