What's in... Charlie Lim's Incase Backpack

Home-grown musician Charlie Lim has played alongside international acts such as Sigur Ros, De La Soul and John Scofield, and his music has been featured on radio in Australia, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore. The 26-year-old's speciality is a blend of neo-soul, R&B and jazz.

The early bloomer was already making music at the age of four. "I just enjoyed mucking around on the piano at home. My mum was a piano teacher, so that really helped," he said.

He refined his skills at school and church gatherings.

At 14, he went to Melbourne to further his studies and grew even more passionate about music. "Melbourne was a great place for me, because it has such a concentrated community of musicians," he said.

When he returned for national service (NS), he joined the Singapore Armed Forces music and drama company, where he continued to play the guitar and sing.

He said: "We would hold makeshift rock concerts for recruits one day and play for school kids the next. We even played for ministers and generals at parties in fancy hotels."

Going for experimental sounds

After NS, he studied music at Melbourne's Monash University for four years. Listening to neo-soul musicians such as D'Angelo, Maxwell and the Soulquarians deeply influenced his musical vocabulary.

"My degree was in jazz, but I would never dare call myself a jazz musician. Despite that, I still gained a lot of knowledge, like learning to improvise and the spirit of jazz."

Since then, he has formed a band, released his debut EP (extended play) in 2011 and toured Asia with the band, The Mothership. The band has played in Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

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