Amanda Keisha Ang On Getting Her Start And How ’90s Music Influenced Her Sound Today

The Singaporean DJ also waxes lyrical about her favourite international and local acts.
Published: June 20, 2024
Rhythm of a Nation: Top Local Music Acts To Know

There’s no denying the amount of musical talent we have on our shores. But for a truly Singapore-centric playlist, these names—spanning Malay-English rap and chugging guitar riffs, to dulcet, undulating Tamil R&B and Jungle beats—are who you should be bobbing your head to.

Related article: Suthasini Rajenderan on Infusing Indian Music With R&B and Hip Hop Elements

Tell us how you got your start as a DJ.

I grew up with a large appetite for music, thanks to my father who had an amazing record collection. He gave me my first guitar at 13 and I was in a couple of bands. Eventually, I got really into dance music—before I could even get into a club! I first learned to DJ at a studio called Frontallabs when I was about 19 but didn't really DJ properly until I got into the FFF Girl DJ Bootcamp that was hosted at Zouk in 2012. I met a few other attendees there and we formed the ATTAGIRL! Collective. We went on to do a bunch of parties, DJ workshops, and the rest was history.

Related article: Clarence Liew and Marc Lian of BRB on What Inspires Them

What makes up your music foundation?

The Beatles were a huge part of my life when I was growing up due to my father's influence. When I started collecting music at 11, I listened to everything from Spice Girls to Garbage. I got into hip-hop legends such as J Dilla, The Notorious B.I.G., Beastie Boys, and A Tribe Called Quest, and strong female rap personalities like Missy Elliot, Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu. I loved ’90s alternative rock such as Blur and Smashing Pumpkins, and I was obsessed with trip-hop bands such as Massive Attack and Portishead. I had No Doubt playing all the time. Other female-fronted bands that inspired me included Veruca Salt, L7, and Bikini Kill. When I got into dance music, Underworld, and labels such as Defected Records and Strictly Rhythm were constantly on loop. I think all these artistes really developed my music taste and my style as a DJ.

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What inspires you?

When people respond to my music positively and tell me they had a good time. It feels good to know I gave them that bit of happiness and made them move.

Describe your music.

Upbeat, bright, and always good for a dance! 

What local music acts would you recommend?

I recently discovered Taledrops; it's so great to see an all-female band in a landscape that is 90 per cent male. So, it was a really happy coincidence to meet them on the ELLE set.

Photographed by JAYA KHIDIR
Hairstylist GREGO
Make-up Artist RINA SIM using Lancôme

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