Charlie Lim: “I’m quite a sentimental person”

Ahead of his act at Sing Jazz Festival 2016, local musician Charlie Lim shares with Weekender his story behind becoming one of Singapore’s rising stars

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Charlie Lim’s latest album, Time/Space, topped the Singapore iTunes album chart. (Photo: Aimee Han)

Wistful sighs and the occasional screams are common at Charlie Lim’s performances.

The 26-year-old singer, who graduated with a Bachelor of Music from Australia’s Monash University, has stolen the hearts of many a fan with his velvet-smooth vocals and soulful, yet often melancholic, lyrics.

Fresh after releasing his latest double EP (extended play), Time/Space – which hit the number one spot on the Singapore iTunes album chart – Charlie dove head-first into preparing for his Mar 4 performance at Sing Jazz 2016.

Weekender catches up with Charlie to uncover the man behind the melancholy.

What have you been busy with recently?

Preparing for Sing Jazz Festival in March and an upcoming tour for Time/Space. I also just released my second music video! You can check it out now on

What’s your favourite setting for composing songs?

At home, probably just past midnight into the early hours of the morning. I live alone in a high-rise [apartment] now, but I have a lot of neighbours so I can’t exactly blast the speakers too loud even though I’d love to.

Do you feel like you’re breaking any stereotypes in Singapore?

I suppose I’m going against the grain and doing something a little off centre. I think it’s possible to do music as a career in a place like Singapore – it’s not easy, but it’s definitely doable if you’re willing to take a few risks and put in a lot of work.

What are some of the toughest challenges that you faced to do this?

It was more of a mental thing, and still is. I’ve been doing my own music for quite some time now, and it does get quite taxing when you’re fully in charge of how you’d like to put your work out there, and yet you have to fully accept that there are so many things beyond your control.

Writer’s block is probably the worst thing for me. Inspiration comes and goes in seasons, and you have to ride waves of momentum in order to get over the next hurdle. The waiting game is probably the hardest part.

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While in control of his music, Charlie admits that he also has to fully accept that many things are beyond his control. (Photo: Aimee Han)

Have you gotten any offers to do commercial work?

Yeah, I do the odd jingle here and there to pay the bills and help a few friends out with productions. I don’t have a lot of time these days, but I’d love to do more film scoring and sound design eventually.

What musical genre are you hoping to explore next?

I’d like to get back more into groove-based, R&B music. And also delve a little more into electronic production.

How are you like in a relationship?

I think I’m a lot more practical than what people might assume, but at the end of the day I guess I’m quite a sentimental person.

What traits do you look for in a partner?

Good character and perceptiveness. Someone who can accept me for who I am, but at the same time make me constantly want to be a better version of myself.

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If he had a superpower, Charlie would like to be able to travel through time. (Photo: Aimee Han)

If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

Probably time travel. I’m quite a meticulous person so I’d probably try every permutation of different outcomes so that I could pick the most favourable one. I’d probably go crazy, though. [Laughs]

What upcoming projects can fans see you in?

I just finished writing and recording a song with [Singaporean musician] Intriguant for his new album, which we performed for Laneway Festival and will do again at the Sing Jazz Festival.

There’s a bunch of other collaborations that I’m working on but I won’t let the cat out of the bag yet!

By Pamela Chow

Charlie Lim will perform on the first day of the Sing Jazz Festival 2016 on Mar 4. His latest album, Time/Space, is now available on all digital music platforms.