Singer-Producer Sun Cell On Baybeats, His Struggles, & More
Singapore/ Vibe/ Artists

The Beat Singapore's Up-and-Coming Artist: Singer & Music Producer Sun Cell

The Beat Singapores Up and Coming Artist Singer Music Producer Sun Cel

The Beat Singapore’s Up and Coming is a series where we feature rising talented artists from Singapore, giving them a platform to share what they’re passionate about and promote the music they (and us too!) would love for the world to hear. Do you want or know someone who wants to be featured? Email us at [email protected] or slide through our DMs on Facebook or Instagram!

Some music careers begin in the most eccentric ways. For this Up-and-Coming Artist from Singapore, it’s his childhood fascination with the rhythm game “Guitar Hero” that sparked his interest in playing the guitar. This later on translated into a passion for music — one that truly resonates with people.

A few months after his breakthrough show at Baybeats 2023, The Beat Asia got the chance to speak to singer-songwriter and music producer Daryl Hor, also known as Sun Cell. In an exclusive interview, the skilled crooner bares the secret behind his stage name, his ups and downs since he began his music career, “Coastlines,” and many more.

Read on to know why Sun Cell is an artist you should watch out for!

Who is Sun Cell and what's the story behind your stage name?

I used to give many nonsense answers for this! The true answer, though, stems from the fact that I made all this music during the height of the global pandemic in 2020. The word “sun” is derived from the name of my neighbourhood, and the word “cell” is what it felt like to me — a jail cell.

What ignited your passion for music? Any story you'd like to share with us about your beginnings in the field?

I picked up music through Guitar Hero! Specifically, Guitar Hero 3! I loved that game, and once I hit expert [level], I thought playing an actual guitar would be cool, and I kind of just went from there. My parents are huge fans of music too! My love for 80s music actually stems from my mom being a fan, and it kind of ended up bleeding into my musical influences and songwriting.

Where do you get inspiration for your music?

I like to draw from non-specific life experiences — things that everyone experiences.

Friendship, love, loss, and death — the cyclical nature of life is something I always tend to draw inspiration from and write about! In terms of musical influences, I draw a lot from new wave and post-punk music bands like New Order, Depache Mode, and Joy Division. More recent influences would be acts like Day Wave, CASTLEBEAT, and The Drums!

Aside from being a singer, you're also a music producer and a sound engineer. Can you tell us how you make your music, and how do you incorporate these skills into your process?

I think these skills allow me to be in full control of my creative direction and what I sound like! From the recording and production processes all the way through the engineering, mixing, and mastering stages.

While this sounds like a good thing (which it mostly is), it tends to be very isolating in nature, and sometimes it does drive me a little bit crazy from time to time, but thankfully I’ve gotten better at just letting go and creating, as opposed to scrutinizing every small thing I do.

What a sick show at Baybeats 2023! How do you feel about performing at the festival along with other talented acts?

Thank you so much! It was definitely the most fun I’ve had on stage thus far! With Baybeats being such a high-profile event locally in Singapore, especially for the alternative music scene, it was a huge honor to be in the same lineup with everyone, ranging from veterans like The Great Spy Experiment and Wormrot to friends like Count Vernon and Krunkle! It was an honour and a privilege, and I hope to be able to play it again one day down the road!

Let's talk about your latest song, "Coastlines." What is it about?

“Coastlines” is a song about infatuation, specifically the kind of infatuation we feel in our youth, where you can’t seem to think or focus on anything other than the person you have feelings for.

It is going to be the first song on my debut album, and it is meant to be the first chapter of a story I am trying to tell through this long body of work.

So far, what do you think have been your biggest achievements since you started a career in music?

Outside of the obvious milestones like playing Baybeats or opening for Linying, I think one thing I cherish most in my career is being able to connect emotionally with strangers.

I’ve always had trouble expressing my emotions through words, and to receive some messages of how listeners cried to songs I’ve made and things like that really hit home for me! These are things that I don’t take for granted, and I definitely view them as achievements — to connect emotionally through [the] things I create.

If you could collaborate with someone, whether internationally or locally, who would it be and why?

Maybe Wave And So from Thailand? I’ve been listening to them a bunch, and I really enjoy the way they sound. I get the feeling we share a fair bit of the same inspiration, and I think it’d be cool to do something with them if given the chance.

What's next for Sun Cell? Any new music or new shows you'll be playing at very soon?

I have an album I’m planning to release this year! It is going to come in two halves, the first of which will be released in the first half of this year, and then in its entirety towards the end of the year. Along with that, I am planning an album launch, along with a few shows sprinkled in between leading up to that!

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. To know more about Sun Cell, follow him on Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook, and stream his music on YouTube and Spotify.

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