2020 EmpowerMINT Creative Impact Award Recipient

Subhas Nair

Musician, Entrepreneur, Social Advocate

Who is

Subhas Nair

Subhas is a hip-hop artist from Singapore. He seeks to share perspectives of the world around him and engage with people from different walks of life through his music and lyricism. After releasing his debut album Not A Public Assembly (2018), he has brought his work to multiple venues, including the Singapore Writers’ Festival, PinkDot (Singapore’s annual Pride event), and minority voices festival Other Tongues. Subhas believes active allyship is crucial in dismantling systems of oppression on all fronts and uses his writing as a tool to provoke dialogue and social change. Most recently, two of his songs were censored by the state of Singapore after bringing light to migrant worker issues and the double standards in the media portrayal of ethnic minorities in Singapore.”

“My morals, my Brownness, my art is not for sale. It is not commodified in that way. Also, when I say brown I mean all brown people, but primarily the working-class Tamil community in Singapore. That said, ‘brown’ is really an entry point – an invitation to solidarity, between classes, between ethnic groups, between different experiences, and it’s always context-dependent. We must always remember that being ‘brown’ is never a barrier. Systemic racism and unfettered neoliberal capitalism — those are the barriers. My arrows are pointed towards dismantling that.”

“My creative process is not confined…

or limited to the physical space of the recording studio or a singular writing process. It actually happens between songs – in living life. You see, we as artists have our whole lives to write our first albums. But as soon as it is released, people expect music from you again very soon. Often times, this expectation is what pressures artists to put out content quickly after their first work, not because they have something interesting to say. We have to do some living in between projects. Because if we don’t challenge ourselves to pivot, grow, and evolve, how will our music ever say something unique or worth people taking their time to listen? For me, I see poetry all around me. In my writing process, I aim to translate what I see in everyday life to reflect an interpretation of my experiences and ultimately, offer it back to society as a different take: a new perspective on a shared reality. The more perspectives we have, the more diverse and resilient our society.”

Other Projects

What is Utopia?

Also a part of web-series team ‘UTOPIA’, Subhas is currently working with some friends to create a map of family-owned/minority-owned businesses in Singapore – to be launched at the end of the year!