If Snoop Dogg and Diddy (for now) are anything to go by, winning over fans with a new name and sound can be a tricky task, especially when said change is more tokenistic than artistic. However, in the case of local singer-songwriter Daphne Khoo, rebranding her persona under the mononym Haneri serves a clear purpose in redesigning her sound and aesthetic to mark a new chapter – at least, that’s the first impression from the recently released debut single “Burning Up”.
Shedding acoustic guitars and pianos, and replacing them with shimmering electronic production, Khoo’s new signature marks a decided shift in direction to a more confident, brooding brand of electropop. While the theme of toxic relationships is one that’s explored by established international artists and indie singer-songwriters on a local level time and again, “Burning Up” sees Khoo reinterpreting romantic addiction through a sensational electronic filter, finding solid ground somewhere between the ’80s throwback instrumentation of Sky Ferreira and the infectious hooks of Bebe Rexha.
Not dissimilar to the transition recently made by Singaporean pop machine The Sam Willows, Khoo joins a cohort of Singaporean musicians who have raised the stakes of songwriting and production, and are steadily climbing regional and international charts. In doing so, the 30-year-old artist takes on a fresher, more mature sound that’s separated from the solemn ballads and motivational numbers that defined her former output. Before, she sounded like a Singapore Idol contestant; now, she sounds like a winner.
Watch the music video for “Burning Up” below.