10 fascinating facts about Gentle Bones that all S’poreans should know


Last Updated on 2016-05-19 , 3:32 pm

If you’ve ever wondered if the recent focus on boosting local talent in Singapore is going to work out, just take a look at him and you’ll probably see that it’s not going to be an impossible task.

Joel Tan, 21, better known by his stage name ‘Gentle Bones’ is a Singaporean singer-songwriter. Chances are, you first knew of him from his debut single, ‘Until We Die’ back in December 2013. Dubbed as the “Ed Sheeran of Singapore”, here are 10 fascinating facts and achievements about this rising local star you probably didn’t know.

How he got started
Tan picked up the guitar and starting writing songs at the age of 16. He has a YouTube channel, onto where he uploads covers of others’ songs back then, before he started putting up some of his original music which he recorded by himself.

Why the name?
You have to admit, ‘Gentle Bones’ is a pretty strange name for a singer, right? Tan created the name ‘Gentle Bones’ when he was seventeen, back when it was in trend to name a one-man band. He wanted something different from just a common ‘Joel Tan’ and felt that by randomly putting together the words ‘Gentle Bones’, it would create a paradox which evokes a sense of mystery.

First Singaporean artist with Universal Music Singapore
Tan is the first home-grown artist to pen a deal with Universal Music Singapore. Now that’s a big deal. We’re talking about a label under American-French worldwide music corporation Universal Music Group, which has its global corporate headquarters located in California.

He used to be forced to perform
Once “forced” to perform for the class by his friends back in Hwa Chong, the singer-songwriter is now doing Singaporeans proud by growing from singing in class, to singing on the big stage.

His inspiration
Tan describes his style as being defined by Ed Sheeran, who was the reason why he picked up music and started writing songs. He tries to stick to the idea of “simplicity and complexity at the same time”, just like how Ed Sheeran can make great music by simply using simple, basic chords.

The song that pushed him into fame
Tan rose to fame when his debut single ‘Until We Die’ shot up to first place on the Singapore’s iTunes Charts one day after it was released.

Despite being cool-looking and hipster-like to some, Tan is as down-to-earth as a mature tree firmly rooted to the ground. He chooses to credit most of his success to ‘luck’, despite the fact that all these couldn’t be possible without hard work, talent, and genuine aptitude for music.

International stars
Tan has worked with a number of international stars which includes opening shows for American folk-pop duo Us The Duo at Kallang Theatre back in December 2014, and American singer-songwriter Christina Perri at The Coliseum back in February 2015.

His debut concert
Tan’s debut concert scheduled to take place on 10th June 2016 was sold out within 10 days. Tan and Universal Music Singapore then announced a second show to be held on 11th June. The debut concert was initially scheduled for December 10, 2015 at the Esplanade Concert Hall, but the show had to be cancelled “due to unfortunate circumstances beyond our control”, according to a statement released by Tan’s label Universal Music Singapore.

Tan apparently found himself stuck in Indonesia for nearly 100 days following a problem regarding performance permits.

Forbes magazine
Tan made it to Forbes magazine’s inaugural ‘30 Under 30 Asia’ list under the Entertainment & Sports category for the year of 2016, alongside Hong Kong singer-songwriter G.E.M., and K-pop stars – G-Dragon of boy band BIGBANG and Yoona Im of girl group Girls’ Generation.