CHARLIE Lim is having a moment. And it’s a richly-deserved one. The man with that creamy, silky-smooth voice first captured widespread national attention with his re-interpretation of the 1987 National Day song ‘We Are Singapore’.

To say his version was well-loved by the people would be an understatement. Many were ardently enamoured as soon as they heard it.

Lim explained that, contrary to popular belief, his work didn’t have to undergo some lengthy government approval process.

“Many people assume that it’s just draft after draft to perfect some propaganda, but it was really just my demo that I gave to them. The vocals were in fact recorded in my bedroom,” said Charlie. “The musical director fought for me and said to the committee that this was my vision and that they could take it or leave it.”

“They took it.”

“The musical director fought for me and said to the committee that this was my vision and that they could take it or leave it… They took it.”

– Charlie Lim


It’s been an arduous journey for the musician who first started playing gigs at the age of 16. Today, the 29-year-old regularly tours the world and is wrapping his Asia-Pacific 2018 tour, which started in Tokyo and made stops in Penang, Brisbane, Fukuoka and Adelaide and Manila. The final stop is a homecoming performance in Singapore next week (details below).

This success is a far cry from his earlier days when he almost put down his pen and guitar. Believe it or not, there was a period when he struggled with self-worth. These times are, thankfully, long past.

Charlie Lim for AUGUSTMAN
Charlie Lim for AUGUSTMAN

“I have momentum now but I wasn’t in a good space before writing Time/Space (his double EP that was released in 2015). I kept asking myself, ‘Crap, am I cut out for this?’ And when I looked around and realised how well everyone else was doing, I started doubting if I was meant to be doing this.”

At this point, Lim became introspective.

“Even now, with my success, I always wonder if everything that I did was a fluke.”

“Even now, with my success, I always wonder if everything that I did was a fluke.”

Perhaps it’s the curse of the creative, to be doomed to constantly suffer from imposter syndrome, which comes packaged with his visionary ability. But Lim revealed that with age comes the wisdom of knowing how to manage one’s own misgivings.

“I’ve learnt to manage stress better. I will tell myself, ‘OK, things are not working out today. I’ll take my mind off this for now.’”


It helps that the singer-songwriter has fallen in love with the sweet science, and regularly hits up the Spartans Boxing Club, if only to let his stress out on the punching bags. It’s one of the reasons why we decided to film an interview with him while sparring at the same time.

He loves boxing so much that he’s even named his album Check-Hook, after his favourite move in the ring.

“It’s my method of dealing with existential issues too,” he said, laughing knowingly to himself. The album was released in October 2018.

Charlie Lim for AUGUSTMAN

And what’s next after Check-Hook?

Lim laughed again before revealing that he plans to get married in 2019. “We’ll have to see if we can afford a honeymoon. We’re are just very busy right now, which is a good problem to have because conventional wisdom tells me to prepare for the crash that usually comes right after the high.”

Right now though, Lim is enjoying his day in the sun – and everyone knows he deserves every bit of it.

Catch Charlie Lim live in concert on 7 December, 8pm at the Star Theatre. Get your tickets here.

written by.

Farhan Shah

Farhan believes that every man needs a good tailor and a better barber. You can usually find him at the gym, the bar or the poker table, usually all three in one night.
Charlie Lim looks back on 2018, the most exciting year of his life
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