After several people questioned why a “foreigner” was singing this year’s National Day Parade (NDP) song Everything I Am, the song’s performer Nathan Hartono has clarified that he is a Singaporean.
In a Facebook post last Saturday, singer-songwriter Hartono, 28, said he is proud to be a first-generation Singaporean who has done two years of national service.
In a series of accompanying pictures, including one with a lone tear rolling down his cheek, he shared a selection of Facebook comments on his NDP song, which had questioned his nationality.
One said: “Why is an Indonesian singing the NDP song… does Singapore not have any singing talent as well? Come on… seriously?”, while another said: “Disgrace… ask PR to sing NDP song.”
In his post, Hartono explained that he was born and raised here as a permanent resident to Indonesian parents who immigrated here. “After serving two years of national service, I was finally able to get a Singaporean citizenship,” he added.
His mother, Madam Jocelyn Tjioe, is a senior vice-president of restaurant chain TungLok Group, while his father, Mr Thomas Hartono, is a resort consultant. In an interview with The Straits Times in 2016, the singer mentioned that his siblings Norman and Nydia were also born in Singapore.
Hartono wrote in his Facebook post: “I’ve never known any other place as home. And I am thankful for everything this land has given me. Love to you all.”
The music video for this year’s NDP song Everything I Am, directed by local film-maker He Shuming, was released online last Tuesday. Composed by producer Joshua Wan, the song centres on the message of encouraging Singaporeans to express gratitude and appreciation for one another.
Hartono rose to prominence after he finished as first runner-up in the first season of the Chinese reality singing competition Sing! China in 2016. The following year, he was nominated for The Straits Times Singaporean of the Year award.
He has since signed with Warner Music China and Singapore and taken on acting gigs, starring in theatre shows, Web series and last year’s film, When Ghost Meets Zombie.
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