This may be the first time you see the name “Edson Charntor”, but it will definitely not be your last! The Singaporean one-man-show is ready to show the nation what he has under his sleeves. With 2 EPs in his repertoire, the latest released on 31 July 2020, Charntor aims to break through the local music scene, one step at a time.
We recently caught up with the bubbly newcomer to discuss his newfound fame, albeit 2 years late, and his latest EP, Blue Blast!
Tell us a bit about yourself!
My name is Edson and I’m still studying right now in University. I’m a university student studying media, and luckily for me, I fell into music production during my army days two years ago. I literally Googled “How to Make a Hit Song”, and then I fell down into the rabbit hole and, yeah! This is where I am today. I’m doing everything myself including the artwork and music, the lyrics and everything, because I have this need to creatively express myself and I think music is one of the good ways to do that.
For those who have not heard your music, how would you describe your music to them?
I would say my music is bright, passionate and youthful – these three words would succinctly describe my music. And also, a lot of lyrics! Because I like to cramp a lot of meaningful lyrics; I have a lot of things to say!
Why the moniker ‘Charntor’?
It’s nothing really, because my real surname is Chong and it was really just one day where I was walking down the road and I decided, if I have an English name I would be called “Charntor”. It was just one of those days where creativity peaked and I went, “Oooh!” But yeah, it came from my surname.
Your second EP Blue Blast was released on 31 July 2020, what’s the direction and the meaning behind it?
So, my first EP is called Youth Function and basically, I just wanted to capture the first 20 years of my life – like my teenage years and you know, back in those days I was full of fire. I wanted to be the best! I don’t care about haters – you know, that phase. I guess when you grow older you start to see why people hate you for it, and you get that certain sense of maturity!
Coupled with the fact that when you grow older and have more responsibility, bills start to come in and relationship issues, they start to make sense to you. That’s when I fell into this spiral of sadness and depression. I’m better now, but those moments really defined my next EP, which is Blue Blast.
It’s basically a coming of age album – transitioning from a teenager to an adult. I wanted to capture all of those emotions into the aesthetic of “blue”. Because “blue” is normally associated with calmness. While blue can also mean sad and depressed, it can also mean clarity! If you take a look at the tracks, it goes from ‘Did I Go Wrong’ and then ‘Another High’ and all the way to ‘Water’. If you look at the lyrics, they have different themes that correspond to the colour blue, but they are different facets of blue. It comes from a place of tension to depression to calmness and then to clarity. That’s how I wanted the track list to go.
Among all of these songs, which one is your favourite?
I want to say everything, but ‘Water’ is the proudest song I’ve ever done because of how it was created. I wanted to have a song about clarity, but I didn’t know what audio elements [to include] to feel like you have a sense of clarity, until I took a sip of water and it just clicked!
I put a lot of work into it because it didn’t sound like that at first. It sounded like just another song, but I revamped it and now it sounds as it is – my proudest work ever! It’s also because it’s the last song and it talks about clarity which is what I’m feeling now. ‘Water’ made it all come a full circle.
How did the Circuit Breaker period challenge you creatively? Did it serve as a catalyst for your album?
Yeah, I think being in the Circuit Breaker did serve as a catalyst. People generally feel more lonely when they are cooped up at home and for me, the emotions really got to me again, which is a good thing because at the time when I came back from London – I was there as an exchange student and I had to come back during Circuit Breaker – I suddenly felt this loneliness creeping in again. I was out and about in London, and coming back to quarantine really helped with the album because all the emotions I felt came back again!
Ironically, it really positively helped me with the song writing and I managed to finish that album by this year. If not for the Circuit Breaker, I wouldn’t have finished it!
Is it challenging as a student to do music full time, since you’re doing it alone with all the processes of releasing the EP.
Oh my god, it really is challenging! [Laugh] I think that’s the reason why I got lazy because when you start doing everything yourself, there are a lot of things to consider; it’s not just the music and the production. You have to take into account how to reach people to listen to your songs, and the artwork and the videos. I think that was the reason why I became overwhelmed with the work. It was really bad at first but now I am getting used to it, because now my production skills are better and I know when I make songs, I make them best when I am inspired. So, to limit the rate of being overwhelmed, I just don’t make music until I feel like I’m ready. And that’s how I deal with it.
View this post on Instagram
I don't know…like I would have never thought I would have seen this day of getting my first million streams off my first ever album, and I just want to thank you guys for supporting me especially those who believed in my vision since day 1. I took a trip down memory lane since Instagram (thankfully) has the archive feature and a wave of achievement and nostalgia both hit me at the same time…comparing those days to where I am standing now is something I thought I would not have done, but I stood firmly and allowed myself to let my music spread as far and wide as possible. But I am not alone. Because I have you guys who have supported my work and I just really want to give each of you a hug right now. The good news is, this is definitely going to be the first milestone, and I wi make sure it will not be the last. Thank you for being part of the beginning to my path as an artist. I have updated my musician bio and also, uploaded the lyrics for "Did I Go Wrong" on spotify. Meanwhile, enjoy these moments, and I can't wait to share more moments with you.
How do you feel about the fact that most of your songs from your previous EP and latest singles have about 10k plays on Spotify?
When it hit 1 million streams [cumulatively] I was like… [Laugh] because I really didn’t expect it to grow just like that! I think the songs are relatable because they are accessible, but at the same time they are filled with emotions – they are not just party songs! – and I feel like [each song] speaks about their lives as well, and it’s not just a song about a song. I think that is crucial to its success.
For the readers who have not listened to your music yet, what song would you recommend that really embodies and captures what you want to put out?
Can I give two songs? Like one from each EP?
Yeah, of course! List it all down if you want to!
For Youth Function, I think you should listen to ‘Labels’ because the first 20 years of my life was plucked with a lot of “labels”. For example, I was really fat and people would call me “fatty”. A lot of it was just at the heat of the moment, but sometimes it really gets to you and with that angst, that set the tone for Youth Function.
As for Blue Blast, clearly, it’s ‘Water’! [Laugh]
Based on what I have read about you, you have not played a show! When will Singapore witness your songs come to life on stage?
Oh, man! I have no idea! Okay so, here’s the thing. When I started making music two years ago when I was in the army, I really did not expect this to happen. I wrote songs just so I could release all my experiences and everything. It just magically happened because my first single got picked up by Spotify algorithms, and the rest is history! I think I’ll still have some anxiety in performing live but right now, I think I’m ready! I feel like my body of work is enough, is there!
Back in the Youth Function era, it was literally the first 20 songs I have written, so there’s going to be some flaws in my singing and it’s very evident there. I think, that was the reason why I held back from performing, simply because my body of work wasn’t where I wanted it to be. I didn’t feel confident with it. But with Blue Blast, I think I’m ready to dip my toe into the water.
Do you have a preferred venue where you want to make your debut?
Honestly, I want to start small because it’s like my music – I started small and I think that’s when it grew into something bigger. So honestly, any venue is fine. I just want to sing and make sure my anxiety is shattered! You just can’t put me in a stadium because I will be overwhelmed!
My final question would be, for aspiring singer/songwriters out there in Singapore, or even the world, any advice from your experiences?
I’d say, if you really want to do it, you’ve got to be prepared to receive criticisms. It’s part and parcel of who you are, and just know that if you really put 100 hours into whatever you’re doing, you’re definitely going to get better! Honestly, start small and don’t expect success immediately. You have got to grind it out and let time pass by. Eventually, you will get what you want.
Give Blue Blast a listen here!