YouTube Star William Singe Is Better Than Advertised
Photos by Francisco Montes
House of Blues
February 24, 2016 It may have been right around the time he added some massive trap drums to TLC’s 1999 hit “No Scrubs” that I fully understood William Singe’s power. The Aussie who managed to translate his YouTube covers into moderate stardom and an insane Facebook following sold out his first Houston show, much like every other show on his The Introduction tour. It's not in his look, boyish with a few tribal tattoos for heritage's sake. It's all in the falsetto.
His falsetto, that thin, almost heavenly scat that holds firm for a long period of time? It’s absolutely ridiculous. One would believe that someone's singing voice would slip when transitioning from YouTube to actual concert. Not with William Singe. Even if he used Wednesday night to play his entire YouTube playlist of cover songs, each one had the type of urgency and loose fun you want from singers these days.
Which makes William Singe the perfect kind of middle-ground artist that R&B currently covets. He can flip certain records — say, Fetty Wap’s “Trap Queen" — and turn the entire thing into a slow-burning sex romp. Plus, he also used some of Wednesday's hour-long set list to pull off some of his own records, a mix of yearning for love and fighting when he’s disrespected. The whole package, though — a wry-looking twentysomething from Australia who can figure his way around melody and crowd control — is interesting to a degree. He’s most certainly charming, someone I’d try to be friends with, but under no circumstance would I bring a female acquaintance around him. Why? He’s just too damn charming. Drake charming, if you will.
“I lost my glasses the other day,” he told the crowd packed into House of Blues' Bronze Peacock Room. The women audibly felt sad for him. “Feel a little lost without them.” He said this right before gyrating with a microphone stand to Ginuwine’s “Pony," minutes after he added trap drums to a song I didn’t even know would sound better with them in “No Scrubs.” That all came about 15 minutes after he gave us a story about how one year ago he was in his bedroom in Australia, a former X-Factor contestant still figuring music out. A year later, he’s performing in Houston with a double cup of whatever for the sake of aesthetics and laughing it up. See? Too damn charming.
His genetic makeup involves traces of Asian, which ultimately made the House of Blues crowd as large an Asian contingent of music fans as I’ve ever witnessed. “Yeah, there are a lot of Asians here,” one girl remarked to me as she watched with her boyfriend. He wasn’t here against his will; he was here just like I was — out of curiosity and to see whether or not Singe was the real deal live as opposed to cranking out seductive covers in his bedroom studio.
For an hour, Singe performed all of his fan favorites, like the ridiculous rhythm of Justin Bieber’s “Sorry" and the self-congratulatory “Flex” by Rich Homie Quan. Even Nick Jonas’s “Jealous” got thrown into the fray, while Singe’s version of “Don’t” by Bryson Tiller easily apes the original in every way. When I first wrote about him in January, I said he made the best cover songs of your life based on how he transitioned to hip-hop blogs with his cover of Drake’s “Hotline Bling." Girls ate it up; guys begrudgingly began singing along and smiling with him. He was having fun with as skimpy a performance outfit as possible. His DJ/manager was positioned behind him, a keyboardist to his left.
Girls ate it up; guys begrudgingly began singing along and smiling with him. He was having fun with as skimpy a performance outfit as possible. His DJ/manager was positioned behind him, a keyboardist to his left.
All Will Singe had to do was sing.
Then he rendered every woman in the building to mush when he asked the crowd to take a “family photo” concert selfie.
How Deep Is Your Love (Calvin Harris)
Earned It (The Weeknd)
Jealous (Nick Jonas)
Talking Body (Tove Lo)
Don’t (Bryson Tiller)
Swimming Pools (Kendrick Lamar)
Trap Queen (Fetty Wap)
Flex (Rich Homie Quan)
Where Are U Now? (Skrillex & Diplo feat. Justin Bieber)
No Scrubs (TLC)
Sorry” (Justin Bieber)
Right Hand (Drake)
Can’t Feel My Face (The Weeknd)
“679 (Fetty Wap)
“Love Yourself” (Justin Bieber)
Stitches (Shawn Mendez)
Hotline Bling (Drake)