How This Singaporean DJ-Producer Became Recognised By Hublot
Hublot is perhaps the biggest enfant terrible of the watchmaking world, renowned for both its bold, visually arresting watches as well as its slew of famous ambassadors, particularly in the sporting arena. Both of these are guided by the brand’s Art of Fusion philosophy, which dictates a union between tradition and cutting-edge developments. In the words of CEO Ricardo Guadalupe, “we are not breaking with the past. On the contrary, we are paying homage to it by connecting it to the future”.
Hublot’s latest move certainly cleaves to its art of fusion. The Swiss watchmaker has named homegrown DJ and producer Myrne, whose real name is Manfred Lim, as its first‑ever Singaporean friend of the brand. He has been making waves in the local electronic dance music (EDM) scene since his debut in 2015.
That same year, his work garnered international interest, and he became the first Asian artist to be signed to record label Mad Decent, which was founded by Grammy award-wining American DJ Diplo. Myrne went on to become the first Singaporean to ever perform at renowned music festivals Tomorrowland in Belgium and Ultra Miami, and has worked with EDM heavyweights such as Martin Garrix and What So Not.
This year, Myrne announced his multi-record deal with Ultra Records, again the first Singaporean to do so. His partnership with Hublot is the latest “first-in-Singapore” feather in his cap. Did we mention that he is only 23 years old?
Myrne’s musical style is an energetic blend of future pop and R&B, and while he is a classically-trained pianist, he is largely self-taught as a DJ and producer, with educational material courtesy of YouTube and SoundCloud. He first started tinkering around with EDM as a 17-year-old student at St Andrew’s Junior College, armed with basic audio software and keyboards plugged into a regular Windows laptop. Even then, his penchant for mixing styles and sounds was evident—he reportedly mixed up a cheeky song using a chemistry teacher’s voice culled from a lecture recording.
Today, the Singapore Management University political science undergraduate still serves up tunes incorporating different musical genres. His latest single, Call, Call Me, released in March, was a collaboration with R&B singer Sam Rui and singer-songwriter Gentle Bones, both young and upcoming Singaporean musicians. He also has an 11-track solo‑produced album due out in August, which will include several vocal features, representing a shift in style from his previous works.
We speak to Myrne about his music, balancing stardom with student life, and his relationship with Hublot.
Having experimented with different sounds and genres, why did you choose to focus on EDM?
Myrne (M) It was the first obscure music genre I fell in love with when I was introduced to it in 2010. Music on the radio in Singapore at the time was full of ballads and four-piece bands, but it was electronic music that appealed to me because of its energy. But within electronic music alone, there are so many different genres and I find myself experimenting in and across them.
What do you want people to feel when they hear your music?
M Everyone’s experience and emotions are subjective when it comes to appreciating music, so I’m not going to go and tell people what they should feel or think. Having people relate to any one of my songs in their own unique way is more than enough for me.
How do you balance your music career with your university studies?
M I really don’t. My philosophy towards higher education is that meaningful learning can only take place at the student’s volition, and not “forced” by key performance structures such as examinations. Doing the latter just gets you a cohort of young people who are really good at taking tests. I enjoy reading in my spare time, and I appreciate lectures that let me learn about all sorts of things. But I’m not really bothered with keeping up with tests and grades.
What has been your most memorable show experience?
M It has to be my first-ever stint at Tomorrowland. It was my first time in Europe, and I had a super early set time at 3pm. I thought it was going to be one of those festivals with over 300 artists, where lesser‑known artists get zero attention. I was hanging around the stage at least two hours prior to my performance slot, and it looked pretty quiet. Regardless, I did my set, and by the end of it, the entire dancefloor had at least a thousand people under the afternoon sun. That was surreal.
What can fans expect from your new Ultra Records deal?
M It really just means I’m afforded the resources and peace of mind to make the music I want. Unlike huge, corporate labels, Ultra gives me full creative control over my output and style, and that’s something I appreciate. The deal also means that I’ll be more focused on longer bodies of work such as LPs or EPs, instead of singles.
What advice do you have for other young Singaporeans, who are trying to carve out a career in music?
M It’s really a matter of traffic, both virtual and physical. Despite Singapore’s passionate community and its unique musical style, I’d caution anyone trying to make a career wholly based off the listening base we have in Singapore—it’s just too small. Get online, find a community, and develop a style you’re passionate about that’s free from emulation. Four years ago, I “lived” entirely on SoundCloud, solely because I couldn’t find a lot of people around me with similar tastes, and I couldn’t afford to pack up and go elsewhere to find my music community.
What does it mean to you to be named the first friend of Hublot in Singapore? And how did the relationship come about?
M To me, it’s an affirmation that what I’m doing is unique, and I think it marks a shift in the world of watches, both in terms of the industry’s consumer demographics and what Hublot looks for in a partner. The relationship came about through a casual conversation a year ago [over e-mail]. After meeting the team in person, I could feel their passion for music and their enthusiasm towards the partnership, so I agreed.
Why did you choose the Big Bang Unico Titanium, and how does that watch represent you?
M It’s a subtle watch with intricate details only visible under scrutiny. The construction of the piece also combines unexpected materials: rubber and titanium, which embodies my music philosophy perfectly. My music is not fully electronic, and has always had elements from different genres and places that I’ve been to, so it also represents an art of fusion in a way.
How does your music and career align with Hublot’s vision?
M Its 'Art of Fusion' philosophy relates to me on a professional and personal level. Hublot timepieces combine unexpected elements, and my artistic growth has always been about bringing different styles—both classic and modern—into my music.
Hublot x Music
Scroll through the gallery below to find out who Hublot’s other musical ambassadors are:
Lang Lang, the Chinese pianist is one of the few in his genre to become a household name, and is a sort of classical music rock star. He is most famous for his flamboyant style both on and offstage, and always seeks to innovate the way classical music is played and enjoyed. Hublot has created several watches in collaboration with him, including—of course—a minute repeater.
An American Latino singer-songwriter famous for his reggaeton hits, Nicky Jam was a long-time friend of the house before he became an official Hublot ambassador last year. His 2015 song El Perdón garnered him a Latin Grammy award, and he also wrote Live it Up, the official song of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, for which Hublot is a key sponsor.
Best known for his hit song Turn Down for What, this French DJ and producer, DJ Snake, has been nominated for several awards, and regularly performs at international music festivals including Ultra Singapore.