Interview with Haneri (a.k.a Daphne’s Khoo) - Bridging cultural and musical gaps with optimism and (real) love
One of my best childhood memories while living in Singapore was watching the very first season of ‘Singapore Idol’, a spin-off of the then-wildly popular American reality singing series. Every episode, we would tune in and I would root for my favourite contestant Daphne Khoo. I was particularly enamoured with her rendition of Des’ree’s ‘You Gotta Be’, significantly marking my first forage into pop territory and the R&B genre.
I’m not sure if it was because of her sweet personality, or the fact that she was one of few female artists amidst a male-dominated batch, but I had all the faith that she would go somewhere with that voice. Although I’m sure Daphne wouldn’t like to be defined solely by her performance in a show that aired over a decade ago, it seems that I wasn’t too far off the mark about her career trajectory, which has consistently gone from strength to strength since her debut in 2008.
Khoo has gone on to become a critically acclaimed singer-songwriter in the Singaporean and the western music scene, dabbling in a wide range of genres while keeping things consistent with the addition of her sweet, soulful vocals and empowering lyrics. Re-debuting last year under the moniker of Haneri, the talented all-rounder is making her mark in a unique way, simultaneously paving the path for local creatives to take their collaborations to a more global level, while establishing her own unique, upbeat sound. While promoting her new single ‘Real Love’, we took the opportunity to speak with her about working through this shift, and her intriguing creative philosophy.