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It will soon be the day where we affirm that “this is country, this is our flag”. Where we stand and sing proudly that “this is home, truly”. A time where we come together as “one Singapore, a nation strong and free”.
If you haven’t yet put it together, it’ll soon be National Day!
Nothing like the classics from National Days past to inspire that warm feeling we call Patriotism! So, to help that feeling along, we compiled the full list of National Day hits! This list features the work of Singapore’s best artists. You’re sure to know a name or two.
But, before we dive in, how about a brief history lesson on NDP Songs?
A Brief History on National Day Songs
A lot of Singapore’s culture is rooted in the traditions of the generations prior. Thus, a lot of the traditional songs aren’t in English. They can be found in languages such as Mandarin, Bahasa Melayu and Tamil.
Comparatively, this list has the more modern songs that are directed at an English-speaking crowd.
Since 1985, an Executive Committee designates one song as the National Day Parade theme song. This song is usually blasted over the airwaves, broadcast on radio and television. For this song to gain traction, it is normal to hear this designated song a month before the 9th of August.
Many of Singapore’s acclaimed artists have been a part of this tradition. To name a few, we had Tanya Chua, Kit Chan and Taufik Batista! As of late, the Committees’ approach has been to gather an ensemble or to recruit Singapore’s fledgling musical talent.
The Definitive List of National Day Songs
Now, for the moment you’ve all been waiting for. We’ve compiled this list in chronological order; starting with the most recent. For the young amongst us, this might be a trip down memory lane. For the young-er amongst us, this is a chance to see how things have changed.
Now, without further ado, it’s time to celebrate!
Complete List of NDP Songs
1. The Road Ahead (2021) by Linying, Sezairi Sezali, Shye and Shabir
NDP 2021 Theme Song.
Kicking this list off is the most recent NDP Song to come out. In these strained times under lockdown and uncertainty of the future, we have this gem to lift out spirits. This song describes that the hope of a future starts with something small.
More than that, it encourages persistence in the face of adversity and strength in unity. It is important to remember that no man is an island and that we have each other. Home is not just about the place, it is also about the people!
2. “Everything I Am (2020)” by Nathan Hartono
NDP 2020 Theme Song.
This song features the new blood in Singapore’s growing arts and music scene. Nathan Hartono is an Indonesian-Singaporean singer-songwriter and actor. As for the theme song, it was composed by Joshua Wan and performed by Nathan Hartono.
Despite some mild controversy by a vocal minority, this song brings the “come together” vibes. A remarkable switch up from the ballads that were our National Day anthems, this has a more pop feel to it. Turn this on and raise a glass "to your home, to your homeland"! This certainly makes one of the great NDP Songs!
3. “Our Singapore (2019 Remake)” by Rahimah Rahim, Jacintha Abisheganaden, Stefanie Sun. JJ Lin, Dick Lee, Kit Chan
NDP 2019 Theme Song.
Call this a remake of the original ballad of yore or call it a version 2.0. Regardless of what you call it, we called it amazing. Instead of the artist of a single generation, this song features 3 generations of artistic talent.
A song that was truly Singaporean injected with a whole new energy and harmony. This is an unabashed power ballad featuring a plethora of Singapore’s top talents. If you want something in recent history that inspires nostalgia, this is it!
4. “We Are Singapore (2018 Remake)” by Charlie Lim, Vanessa Fernandez, Aisyah Aziz, Shak'thiya Subramaniamm, Joanna Dong and THELIONCITYBOY
NDP 2018 Theme Song.
We hope you aren’t tired of the remakes yet! You surely couldn’t be with this hit right here! This is a 2018 remake of the original with updated lyrics courtesy of Charlie Lim. The song was also arranged and produced by Sydney Tan and Evan Low.
What really brings the feels of this video is Charlie’s smooth pipes and artistic direction by Boo Jun Feng! The video really reminds us of Singapore through the annuls of time and the music is superb. Above all, the song reminds us that "we are Singapore, Singaporean."
5. "Because it's Singapore (2017)" by Jay Lim
NDP 2017 Theme Song.
Reminiscent of the older NDP theme songs, this song was a timely tribute to the Singaporean Dream. Composed by Lee Wei Song and written and performed by Jay Lim, the 2 work closely together to this day! Jay Lim is managing director at Lee Wei Song Music Pte Ltd.
The song talks about working on the collective identity of Singapore. This nation is characterised by hard work, determination and togetherness; this song reminds us of that. Lest we forget that we’ve come as far as we have because of this.
6. "Tomorrow's Here Today (2016)" by 53A
NDP 2016 Theme Song.
Completely unlike NDP theme songs of old, the song is almost nothing without the video! Performed and composed by 53A, they bring an energy that is both refreshing and lively. But this describes more than just the song, the video was uniquely executed.
Leveraging a one-take style, the video is one massive flash mob. As the band moves from sound stage to sound stage, whole sets are reimagined and shifted. Featuring dancers, other musicians and bright colours, one word comes to mind with this song; kinetic.
7. "Our Singapore (2015)" by Dick Lee and JJ Lin
NDP 2015 Theme Song.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know Dick Lee and JJ Lin! They are 2 of Singapores’ foremost vocal and compositional talents; with awards and accolades to boot. Both of them played a part in making this song what it is!
As the lyrics suggest, we shouldn’t take what we have for granted. Every brick laid and every road built brought Singapore closer to the metropolis it is today. More than that, every Singaporean should endure in that pioneering spirit!
8. "We Will Get There (2014)" by Farisha Ishak, Fauzi Laili, Tay Ke Wei, Rahimah Rahim and Tabitha Nauser
NDP 2014 Theme Song.
For the uninitiated, the songs in this medley aren’t new. Each song was showcased as an NDP theme song nearer the turn of the millennium. Even though this is a “newer” song, it packs a mean nostalgic punch.
The song reminisces the times when Singapore was talked about in terms of its potential. There was so much room to grow and so much doubt. This medley reaffirms that by sticking together, we will get there!
9. "One Singapore (2013)" by Elaine Chan
NDP 2013 Theme Song.
This particular song got mixed reviews. Actions to an NDP theme song was a concept that quickly gained steam and this tune latched to it. Whether you loved it or hated, it surely made you go “wooaahh-wooahhh”.
Students nationwide were encouraged to learn the choreography and perform it on the 9th. This was the cause of the mixed reception. Despite having 2 left feet, this was still a tune back in the day and it was fun to dance along to!
10. "Love At First Light (2012)" by Olivia Ong and Natanya Tan
NDP 2012 Theme Song.
Love at First Light is a clever reimagining of the saying “love at first sight”. Composed and written by Iskandar Ismail and Paul Tan, this tune reminds us of the Singapore we wake up to. One full of the things and people we love.
The tune is reminiscent of the NDP theme songs of old. It sways gently as the lyrics recount the many things we appreciate or perhaps take for granted. On the whole, Love at First Light is a gentle reminder to wake up grateful.
11. "In a Heartbeat (2011)" by Sylvia Ratonel
NDP 2011 Theme Song.
This is another NDP theme song that you cannot listen to without the video. With music by Goh Kheng Long and video directed by Brian Gothong Tan, this is a visual masterpiece. Not to mention it being performed by Sylvia Ratonel, a Singapore Idol Season 3 Runner up!
The video tells the story of risk. Moving to a different life, for better or worse, is never easy. There are odds that one will scrounge a living or that one may thrive. This music video tells the story of that risk every Singaporean takes. Of that, we should be very proud.
12. "Song for Singapore (2010)" by Corrine May
NDP 2010 Theme Song.
One thing that truly stands out about Song for Singapore is the voice of Corrinne May. A Singapore born talent, Corrine May is based in Los Angeles as a musician, singer, and songwriter. She graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston and proved her chops in this song.
Her voice carries the deep and meaningful message in this song; one of appreciation. With each passing day, Singapore forges ahead and gets better. Song for Singapore is a reminder of each step we took in that direction.
13. "What Do You See? (2009)" by Electrico
NDP 2009 Theme Song.
For the uninitiated in Singapore’s pop rock scene, Electrico was one of the first to reach mainstream success. They are a pop rock and indie band originally formed in 1996. Originally headlining as Electric Company, they changed it to Electrico in 1997.
They’ve come a long way since! They composed and performed 2009’s What Do You See NDP theme song. This poetic rock ballad encourages us to go from strength to strength and to keep a vision for the future.
14. "Shine for Singapore (2008)" by Hady Mirza
NDP 2008 Theme Song.
Hady Mirza is arguably Singapore’s foremost singing competition talent. Not only did he win the second season of Singapore Idol, but he also won Asian Idol in 2007. This was no mean feat and definitely got him the opportunity to perform Shine for Singapore.
The song delivers a message of hope and fortitude; that your dreams and desires are not just yours. They belong to the rich tapestry of the Singaporean identity. As such, when you believe and achieve your dreams, you shine for Singapore.
15. "There's No Place I'd Rather Be (2007)" by Kit Chan
NDP 2007 Theme Song.
Besides the fact that Kit Chan is very well-traveled, this song highlights that home is where the heart is. Many question what makes a house a home; this song has the answer. It’s friends, family and where your ties are.
The grandeur of the comparisons made serve to remind us about the value of home. If Singapore is where you grew up, you’ll find your past here. In your past, you’ll find a part of you that makes you Singaporean.
16. "My Island Home (2006)" by Kaira Gong
NDP 2006 Theme Song.
Mandopop fans need no introduction to Kaira Gong. Signed to a Taiwanese label, a protégé of David Tao and affiliated to S.H.E, her credentials are solid. More than that, her rendition of My Island Home only proves she has the chops to carry an NDP theme song.
As if you couldn’t endear yourselves more to her, she claimed to be homesick on a TV show called Love 9.30. Later that year, she would gift us My Island Home as an NDP theme song. This reminds us Singapore is as much a part of us as we are of it.