SAFRA The Ultimate Voice: Where Are They Now?

SAFRA The Ultimate Voice: Where Are They Now?

SAFRA The Ultimate Voice 2016 Where Are They Now 

If you’re passionate about singing, make your dreams come true at SAFRA The Ultimate Voice 2016!

Previously known as the SAFRA PK Challenge, SAFRA The Ultimate Voice is an annual singing competition organised by SAFRA Youth Network, Hark Music, Jia 88.3FM and SAF Music and Drama Company. There are two competitive categories, Solo and Group (2-5 people), where participants can opt to sing with or without acoustic instruments.





Jeremy Teng - 别再躲了 (No More Hiding) music video

The prizes for the champion for each category include a 1-year contract with the SAF Music and Drama Company and an original song composed for the winner that will be aired on radio. You also get to star in your very own music video!

We recently caught up with some of the past winners to find out how they overcame challenges throughout the competition and what they’ve been up to since!

Fairus Adam at KWC World Finals 2015 in Singapore.



Fairus Adam at KWC World Finals 2015 in Singapore.



Photo courtesy of Alluring Memoirs Photography

Name: Fairus Adam

Age: 32

Occupation: Allied Educator (Teaching & Learning) for Primary School

Social Media:



Facebook: Fairus Adam



YouTube: Fairus Adam



Instagram: @fairusadam24



Twitter: @FairusAdam

Music influences:

I love power ballads. My favourite all-time singer is the late Whitney Houston. I love how she tell the audience a story through her songs. I am obsessed with her vocal ability.

Most memorable moment during SAFRA The Ultimate Voice:

When I managed to get into the semi-finals, I was given a task to duet with another contestant and sing a 'Mandarin' song. I was shocked to learn that I have to sing in Mandarin as I’ve never sung a Mandarin song before and it is not my mother tongue either. I was stressed at first but then I took it as a challenge. I still remember when the other contestant chose the song, I was asking help from my colleagues to translate as well as teach me the correct pronunciation to each word. I felt a sense of satisfaction when I managed to learn and sing the song. I felt proud of myself when I won that PK Challenge round over my duet partner and advanced to the finals and the grand finals before winning the competition.

Fairus Adam and Canadian champion Elsaida Alerta at KWC World Champions 2015.



Fairus Adam and Canadian champion Elsaida Alerta at KWC World Champions 2015.



Photo courtesy of KWC Asia Pacific

What you’ve done since winning SAFRA The Ultimate Voice:

Since winning the competition, I was given the opportunity to work with Hark Music. I was also invited to sing in various public performances. Joining SAFRA The Ultimate Voice gave me confidence to try out and showcase my talent in a larger scale.

And then I joined KWC (Karaoke World Championships) – an international brand from Finland and is the most prestigious Karaoke Singing event and largest amateur singing competition in the world. I represented Singapore in the Asian Finals held in Bali, Indonesia, where I won 1st runner up in the male category. After that, I went on to represent Singapore in KWC World Finals where I clinched the Male Champion title beating 59 country champions from 30+ countries.

Current music project:

I have been regularly uploading music covers on my FB Page as well as on YouTube.

Upcoming music project:

I'm planning to record a new single in 2016 produced by KWC Asia and released across the region. I hope to gain more support for my upcoming single from friends and KWC country partners.

I am also scheduled to tour key cities including KL, Jakarta, Manila, Hong Kong, Macau, Yangon and Shanghai to promote the single and the KWC trials in the respective countries.

Then in November, I will be off to Vancouver, Canada for the 2016 KWC World Championship, which is a part of my prize as current Karaoke World Champion.

What every SAFRA The Ultimate Voice participant should know:

Song choice is very important. Choose a song that showcases your vocal tone as well as your vocal range. Creativity and originality play an important role. Make sure that you put your own spin to the song without changing it too much. Be yourself.

Make use of the stage and connect with the audience as well as the judges. Make eye contact and show facial expressions.

Mentoring sessions by judges is IMPORTANT & BENEFICIAL. This is where you get feedback on how to improve your performance and presentation.

Lastly, DRESS TO IMPRESS!!

Rachel Mak modelling in a photoshoot for Singapore-based shoe shop, Buckle Up.



Rachel Mak modelling in a photoshoot for Singapore-based shoe shop, Buckle Up.



Photo courtesy of Buckle Up

Name: Rachel Mak

Age: 25

Occupation: Model/Host/Actress

Social Media:

Instagram: @rachhmak

Music influences:

Adele, Ed Sheeran, Jessie J, John Mayer, Alex & Sierra, Us The Duo, Saosin etc.

Most memorable moment during SAFRA The Ultimate Voice:

When our names were called out & we actually won the acoustic group category. It was a great sense of accomplishment.

How has SAFRA The Ultimate Voice prepared you to chase your dreams:

I joined the ultimate voice as singing has always been my passion since I was a kid. I used to sing and dance around the room as seen from videotapes that my parents took of me. It was also great to finally step out of my comfort zone & perform.

It has definitely made me more confident as a whole and determined to fight for what I really love. And that no matter what hardships come your way, never let anything or anyone steal that dream away from you.

Behind the scenes of Eric Khoo’s “In The Room” movie with Rachel Mak and cast members.



Behind the scenes of Eric Khoo’s “In The Room” movie with Rachel Mak and cast members.



Photo courtesy of Rachel Mak

What you’ve done since winning SAFRA The Ultimate Voice:

I've hosted various gigs for companies, such as Hashida Garo & DMG Mori. I have also acted in one of Eric Khoo's latest movie called "In The Room" as a band member. And I've done many commercials and print ads as I model, host and act full-time.

What every SAFRA The Ultimate Voice participant should know:

The first thing is to always be yourself especially when you’re up on stage. You have that one shot to prove to the judges that you deserve that spot, so take a deep breath & tell yourself that you can do it.

James Rainier performing at Recruit's Night in June 2015 for the graduating recruits.



James Rainier performing at Recruit's Night in June 2015 for the graduating recruits.



Photo courtesy of SAF Music and Drama Company

Name: James Rainier

Age: 24

Occupation: Student

Social Media:

Facebook: mrjamesrainier



Instagram: @mrjamesrainier



YouTube: mrjamesrainier

Music influences:

John Legend, Michael Jackson, Bruno Mars, Sam Smith

Most memorable moment during SAFRA The Ultimate Voice:

I think the most memorable moment for me was when they announced that I was the winner. I honestly couldn't believe it as there were so many other good singers and I actually just joined to gain some experience and increase my confidence.

Describe your experience when recording your debut single:

I wrote the backstory, which was used as a skeleton of the song. I also did my part in writing the lyrics, making my story heard and making it suit my style. Honestly, I really enjoyed the song writing process. This is my first time having a chance to collaborate to write a song so I thought that it was such a great experience working with Amos Teo. What I took away from this experience is to never stop believing in yourself. There are many naysayers that will put you down but with burning passion and dedication, dreams can turn into reality.

In terms of the whole process, I do amateur recordings for my YouTube channel, so I was familiar with the equipment but I didn't know it was that stressful. Normally it would just be me and my friends jamming but in this case, there were really professionals helping me which was intense because I didn't want to let them down.

When I heard the song playing on radio, I couldn't even react at first because it took a while to register that the voice was actually mine. It was really exciting though after I realised, despite it being a little weird hearing yourself, but I'm so proud of the song. The song written was intended to be a shoutout to my mom. It's a "Mom, thank you for all you have done for me" kind of song, so I ask her to listen to it. At first she said that it was very nice, not knowing it was for her and about her. When I finally told her, she was taken aback for a moment and when she replayed it, she started tearing up. It was so cute.

James Rainier at Impresario 2015.



James Rainier at Impresario 2015.



Photo sourced from Impresario Facebook Page

What you’ve done since winning SAFRA The Ultimate Voice:

I was a finalist for Impresario 2015, runner-up for my own GRC's Talent Competition, Top 30 for Nebo's Encore as well as Final 24 for Channel 5's The Final 1 Season 2. Also, I still upload videos on my channel although not so often because of school. But even in school, I've been participating in a lot of music events; joining most if not all of the musical CCAs Singapore Institute of Technology has to offer. I'm just enjoying life and keeping my passion burning.

Upcoming music project:

I believe in finishing my education first, so for now I'm actually just concentrating on that but I do gigs, attend courses to improve myself in my free time. I always make time for my passion. In any case, I always sing in the shower. :P

What every SAFRA The Ultimate Voice participant should know:

I always get nervous on stage so my advice is to leave that at home and just believe in your abilities. Don't take criticism to heart but use it to better improve yourself for the next opportunity. Also, I think it's good to have your own style; it can be tone or vocal dynamics. Something that will make you, you! But at the same time, step out of your comfort zone and try new things. Be adventurous.

Jeremy Teng posing in a photoshoot with Purple Lambs.



Jeremy Teng posing in a photoshoot with Purple Lambs.



Photo courtesy of Purple Lambs

Name: Jeremy Teng

Age: 22

Occupation: Full-Time National Serviceman

Social Media:

Facebook: jeremyteng



YouTube: jeremytengbs

Music influences:

JJ Lin, Sodagreen, Mariah Carey

Most memorable moment during SAFRA The Ultimate Voice:

Honestly, the most memorable moment would definitely be when I was crowned the champion. I had no expectation whatsoever that I would win at all. Being awarded my debut single made it especially memorable, as it meant my first step in becoming a professional singer.

Describe your experience when recording your debut single:

I’ve always wanted to explore writing songs. This debut single gave me a chance to dabble in what was once an unchartered territory to me. Besides recording, I was involved in co-writing the lyrics with Amos and Silverstone. Given the beautiful melody co-written by Amos and Alvin, I went through a full-day brainstorming session with Amos and Silverstone where we worked together to come up with the best lyrics we could think of.

This triggered distant memories I had of writing Chinese essays in secondary school, and thankfully, with an A1 in ‘O’ Level Higher Chinese, I was able to get some vocabulary going through in my brain to kick-start the creative process. The experience rekindled my love for writing and helped me have a better outlook of what I want to do as a singer.

Recording the song on the other hand was an experience I would never forget. Being accustomed to singing live, I took some time getting used to recording within the confines of a studio. There were various stumbling blocks between production and release, but I have to come to appreciate that such is part and parcel of any budding singer’s journey. After all, having someone text me “Hey, just heard your great voice on radio!” was all that made the hard work worthwhile.

Jeremy Teng took part in Nodojiman The World, a popular Japanese TV singing talent show.



Jeremy Teng took part in Nodojiman The World, a popular Japanese TV singing talent show.



Photo courtesy of Nippon Television

What you’ve done since winning SAFRA The Ultimate Voice:

Honestly speaking, in hindsight, winning SAFRA TUV 2013 feels much like a lucky charm to me as it meant the start of a good year 2014 for me.

Locally, I managed to fight into the top five of NTU Impresario 2014’s vocal solo category and also emerge as champion for NTUC’s U Fame 2014. 

I was also invited to sing in a televised singing contest in Japan called Nodojiman The World, where I had the privilege of meeting and competing with many established singers from all around the world in the field of Japanese songs. I was honoured to become the first Asian ever awarded champion for that show during the show’s Spring 2014 edition.

I was back to the field of Mandopop in late 2014 when I was selected as the Singapore representative for Voice of China Season 3. 

It was really fulfilling to be able to have experienced so much in my journey in music right before getting enlisted in November 2014.

Upcoming music project:

I’m taking this time during my National Service (NS) to think about what I want to do in future. Singing is definitely one of my options. If you’re interested in my journey, check me out on Facebook. :)

What every SAFRA The Ultimate Voice participant should know:

Be confident, be yourself, and remember to take those few slow and deep breaths before your moment on stage.

For song selection, choose to bring out your best – it may not necessarily mean belting hits from powerhouse singers, but actually singing what suits your voice the most.

It’s always good to imagine and plan your way up from the preliminary auditions to the grand finals – that means choosing songs that impress from the start, getting attention quickly during the first stage to leave a lasting impression on the judges, and giving more and more of your X-factor as you move up to the finals. 

Jeff Ng posing with keyboard.



Jeff Ng posing with keyboard.



Photo courtesy of Waii Hoong

Name: Jeffrey Ng

Age: 25

Occupation: Singer/Music Instructor

Social Media:

Facebook: jeffng.hello 黄长俊 (official page) / jeff.hello (official account)



Youtube: jeffbyebye



Instagram Acc: @jeff_hello



Website: http://jeffhello.weebly.com

Music influences: 

Gary Chaw曹格 who inspires me to sing well like him.



Jay Chou 周杰伦 who inspires me to sing & play the piano and composing originals.



Crowd Lu卢广仲 who inspires me to learn & play guitar.

Most memorable moment during SAFRA The Ultimate Voice (and why):

The most memorable moment is during the finals, when they called my name out as the champion for the Mandarin Solo, with all my friends & fans cheering out my name. I'm glad that all my friends & fans came and support me on that day, which truly makes it the most memorable moment throughout this competition.

Describe your experience when recording your debut single:

The song 就足够 (It’s Enough for Me) is composed by Amos Teo, the director of HARK Music and the lyrics is by Relyne Ban & Justin Png, lastly music arrangement by Mandric. I was helping to rearrange some parts of the lyrics and also change some parts of the melody during the second part of the song, which added colours to my singing too.

I enjoyed most when we were rehearsing the whole song as I'm really bad at some diction in the lyrics when I'm singing it. So Amos used lots of examples to help in my diction and it's a good & fun experience while learning it.

I missed the 1st airing session of my single on SAFRA radio. It was my friend who told me he heard someone sang like me, and I was like, “No doubt, that's me!” The moment I got the news, I quickly tuned in and only heard the last sentence of my song. I was excited when I first heard my single on air and it also motivated me to compose more originals to play on air for people who love Mandarin pop music.

After telling my friends about my song, they were so excited and supportive to share around on the social media and most of them requested me to sing live during my regular performances.

Jeff Ng at one of his wedding gigs.



Jeff Ng at one of his wedding gigs.



Photo courtesy of Kenneth

What you’ve done since winning SAFRA The Ultimate Voice:

After the competition, I continue to teach more students, singing at weddings & corporate events and also performing at regular gigs like Shuffle, etc.

Upcoming music project:

In 2016, 30th Jan (Sat) 8pm, I will be holding a mini-concert called Singapore Originals (纯新制作音乐会) side by side with Boonie & Jin An at 10 Square Orchard Central to showcase some of the originals of our own and some of the great songs by local composer & singers.

What every SAFRA The Ultimate Voice participant should know:

I think when it comes to a singing competition, they should take every round like a chance of performing on stage and only prepare the songs that they know they are good at and practise it before every round. 

Try not to imitate the singer of the chosen song and choose your songs wisely by varying the levels of difficulties in each round. Eg. Quarter Finals (Amateur Song) -> Semi-Finals (Intermediate/Advance song) -> Finals (Professional/ Finale Song).

Know your lyrics and melody of the song well before you compete on stage to avoid the judges from picking on obvious mistakes. Singing a song is like running a marathon; save your energy during the 1st part and prepare your best for the last part of every song. I wish all the participants the very best and always believe in yourself when you are singing on stage.

So what are you waiting? Sign up for SAFRA The Ultimate Voice today!

Check out what you’ve missed at last year’s competition, with original songs by past winners!

Learn more great tips from professional a capella singer, Jason Ong of Key Elements!

Warm up those vocal chords with these 5 Ways to Achieve a Golden Voice!


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