The Sam Willows

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The Sam Willows
GenresIndie pop, Jazz Fusion
Years active2012 - 2019
LabelsSony Music Singapore, Warner Bros. Records

The Sam Willows is a four-member Singaporean pop band formed in May 2012.[1] The group consists of siblings Narelle and Benjamin Kheng, together with their friends Sandra Riley Tang and Jonathan Chua. The quartet’s self-titled freshman EP was released in October 2012, followed by their debut full-length album Take Heart that was released in October 2015.

In July 2018, the band released 'I Know, But Where', their second full-length studio album.

As of May 2019, the band has gone on hiatus. [2] It was also confirmed that they have no plans to disband and will focus on personal projects for the time being. [3]


2011 – 2013: Formation, The Sam Willows[edit]

The Sam Willows were formed in December 2011 by founding members: Benjamin Kheng, Jonathan Chua, Narelle Kheng, and Sandra Riley Tang.

Barely a year after they formed, the quartet launched their debut EP The Sam Willows under a distribution deal with Warner Music Singapore, and made their international debut in 2013 at the annual South by Southwest music festival in Texas.[4] The band continued on a North American Tour, Korean Tour, and represented Singapore for the Western Australian Music Festival (WAM) in Perth.[5]

In April 2013, the Singaporean quartet entered the studio with Steve Lillywhite for a week-long production session, organized by Singapore Music Society (SG MUSO). The result was a reworking of their track "Glasshouse" (Lillywhite edition); released as the band’s latest single at the time. In August 2013, the band released their "Glasshouse" music video.

2015 – 2016: Take Heart[edit]

The band signed to Sony Music Singapore on a 360 deal in January 2015 and embarked on their journey to Stockholm, Sweden to record their debut album, Take Heart, with producer Harry Sommerdahl the following month.

Take Heart was released later in the year in October 2015, with "Take Heart" as their first official single from the album released in May 2015. The music video for the song was later released in July 2015 and amassed over 1.6 million views on YouTube.

In the same year, the band opened for Irish pop-rock band, The Script, at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in April 2015.[6] The Sam Willows also recorded three songs - "Flags Up", "Ordinary" and "Champion", for the compilation album, Songs of the Games for the 2015 Southeast Asian Games.[7] To celebrate Singapore's independence, The Sam Willows performed at the National Day Parade 2015 in August 2015.[8] They played one of Singapore's National Day celebration songs, "Home", during the celebration.

In May 2016, the quartet supported Little Mix on their The Get Weird Tour in Manila and Singapore.[9] Following that, the band sold out their first headlining concert in Singapore at The Coliseum.[10]

2017: Making of sophomore album[edit]

The Sam Willows released an exclusive compilation album (consisting of 16 songs from their first EP, the ‘Take Heart’ album and lead single ‘Keep Me Jealous’ from their sophomore album) in Japan (marketed and distributed by Sony Music Japan), making them the first English performing band from Singapore in recent years to be released by a major international music label in Japan.

In May 2017, The Sam Willows released 'Keep Me Jealous', the first official single from their upcoming sophomore album, co-produced by the band themselves and producers Fredrik Häggstam and Litens Anton Nilsson.[11]

On 13 July 2017, the band released their next single, 'Save Myself', co-produced with Harry Sommerdahl. “The song talks about how we’re usually the worst lovers to ourselves – we don’t know how to love or save ourselves till it’s too late,” member Benjamin Kheng said of the song.[12] The track clinched the 'Best Song' award.[13]

2018: I Know, But Where[edit]

On 9 February 2018, the band released two of their singles 'Robot' and 'Papa Money' simultaneously. Both tracks took over local airwaves and charted across territories such as Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Philippines.[citation needed]

The initial release of four lead singles (‘Keep Me Jealous’, ‘Save Myself’, ‘Papa Money’ and ‘Robot’) collectively garnered more than 10 million streams and have each been certified GOLD.[citation needed]

The Sam Willow's 11-track sophomore album I Know, But Where was released on 6 July 2018, making it their second studio album. The album debuted at number 1 on the Singapore iTunes chart on the day of its release and has since found its way into charts around the region like Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Taiwan.[citation needed]

With this album, the band hopes to "present a feel-good and happy version of the things (they) struggle with".[14]

Featured in the line up of We The Fest 2018, The Sam Willows will perform on day 2 of the festival. Headliners of the festival include Lorde, Sza, James Bay and more.[15] The band will also perform at Southeast Asia's First Esports Music Festival.[16]

The Sam Willows released their Christmas special single, titled '(I'm Gonna Be Loved) This Christmas' on 11 November 2018.

2019: Hiatus[edit]

In May 2019, the band announced an indefinite hiatus. The members will be focusing on solo activities for the time being.


Benjamin Kheng[edit]

Benjamin Kheng was born on (1990-08-15) August 15, 1990 (age 28) in Singapore. He is the keyboardist, rhythm guitarist and vocalist. He was a former national youth swimmer, having trained since he was 6. He attended Anglo-Chinese School (Primary), Anglo-Chinese School (Independent), Singapore Sports School[17] and has a diploma in Arts and Theatre Management from Republic Polytechnic.

Jonathan Chua[edit]

Jonathan Chua was born on (1990-02-12) February 12, 1990 (age 29) in Singapore. He is the lead guitarist and vocalist. He took Sociology as a major in Nanyang Technological University. In 2015, Jon started Zendyll Productions, a recording studio and sound design company in Singapore.[18] Jon is known to be the big brother in the band who gets things done [19]

Narelle Kheng[edit]

Narelle Kheng was born on (1993-09-24) September 24, 1993 (age 25) in Singapore. She is the bass guitarist and vocalist. She was a former national youth swimmer, having trained since she was 6. She attended Methodist Girls' School, Singapore, Anglo-Chinese Junior College and Singapore Sports School, and took Communication Studies as her major in Nanyang Technological University's Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information.[20][21] She had cameo roles in drama serials Zero Calling and Against The Tide,[22] and starred in a Channel 5 show, Do It Yourself.

Sandra Riley Tang[edit]

Sandra Riley Tang was born on (1990-12-25) December 25, 1990 (age 28) in Singapore. She is the keyboardist, percussionist and vocalist. In 2012, she started RileyArt, which showcased and sold her handmade accessories, art and calligraphy.[23] In 2015, she co-founded her yoga studio, The Yoga Collective.[24] She made her solo debut as 'RRILEY' in 2019.



Extended Plays (EP)[edit]


  1. ^ "About The Band". Archived from the original on 2016-07-02. Retrieved 2016-06-22.
  2. ^ "Sam Willows band members bidding each other farewell on Instagram". Retrieved 2019-06-21.
  3. ^ "The Sam Willows Are Taking A Break: "I Wish I Had More Drama For You But We're All Still Good Friends"". 8 Days. Retrieved 2019-06-21.
  4. ^ Abdul Hadi, Eddino (22 November 2012). "Indie Band: The Sam Willows". Archived from the original on 2014-07-14. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
  5. ^ O'Gorman, Ros (15 November 2013). "The Sam Willows at 2013 WAM Music Conference". Archived from the original on 2014-03-08. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
  6. ^ "The Script Opening Act - The Sam Willows". Archived from the original on 2016-04-17.
  7. ^ Hon, Jing Yi (3 March 2015). "Official music album launched for 28th SEA Games". Today. Archived from the original on 2015-03-07. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  8. ^ "Singaporeans Celebrate 50th National Day With Nostalgic and Touch Parade At The Padang". Archived from the original on 2017-08-12.
  9. ^ Admin, Midas. "Midas Promotions - Little Mix - May 2016". Archived from the original on 2017-05-30. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  10. ^ "The Sam Willows To Stage Their Own Concert At The Coliseum". Archived from the original on 2016-05-18.
  11. ^ "The Sam Willows Tease New Single "Keep Me Jealous"". Archived from the original on 2017-05-01.
  12. ^ Osman, Sadat. "The Sam Willows release second single, "Save Myself"". JUICE. Archived from the original on 2018-07-18. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  13. ^ "Winners at inaugural NEXT Music Awards include The Sam Willows, Gentle Bones and Kenny Khoo". The Straits Times. 30 November 2017. Archived from the original on 2018-07-18. Retrieved 2018-07-18.
  14. ^ "The Sam Willows talk their new album I Know, But Where and its "world of openness and love"". Hear65. Archived from the original on 2018-07-18. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  15. ^ "We The Fest 2018". Archived from the original on 2018-08-13. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
  16. ^ "ASEAN ESPORTS & MUSIC FESTIVAL". Archived from the original on 2018-07-18. Retrieved 2018-07-18.
  17. ^ "Star turn". Archived from the original on 2016-09-13. Retrieved 2016-06-22.
  18. ^ "Kopi With Jon Chua". Archived from the original on 11 September 2016. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  19. ^ "3 things you should know about The Sam Willows' silent member, Jon Chua". Archived from the original on 2017-06-06. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  20. ^ "The ladies from The Sam Willows share the secret to their popularity". Archived from the original on 2016-08-13. Retrieved 2016-06-22.
  21. ^ "Swimmer-turned-singer-turned-actress Narelle Kheng is stretching her wings". Archived from the original on 2016-08-28. Retrieved 2016-06-22.
  22. ^ "7 things in her bag: Narelle Kheng". Archived from the original on 2016-09-10. Retrieved 2016-06-22.
  23. ^ "Why The Sam Willow's Sandra Riley Tang puts baby powder on her hair regularly". Archived from the original on 2017-03-24.
  24. ^ "The Yoga Collective – Singapore's First Home-Concept Yoga Studio – Yoga Classes, Yoga Courses". Archived from the original on 2017-07-10. Retrieved 23 May 2017.

External links[edit]