Hailing from Singapore, Kevin Lester raps smoothly in English over soulful hip-hop tracks. He uses the alias “TheLionCityBoy,” repping the official moniker of his home city-state, a post-colonial island nation known internationally for its diversity, beauty and prosperity. After establishing himself as a powerhouse at home, Lester, whose music would not be out of place on a bill featuring the likes of Lupe Fiasco, Wale or Kid Cudi, is making an international push. He performed at CMJ 2012 in New York City and after his South By Southwest appearance he’s heading north to perform at Canadian Music Week, pushing his new album “Everything You Love, You Hate.” Following is an edited transcript from when we caught up with Lester via email from his home base in Singapore.
Austin360: How did you get started in music and who are some of your influences?
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Kevin Lester at SXSW
7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Meduse Lounge, and 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Hangar Lounge.
More from Asia
Carsick Cars (Beijing, China). A trio from China’s capital city that plays dense and driving, highly textural indie rock and counts members of Sonic Youth in their fan base. 1 a.m. Thursday at Soho Lounge.
Josy (Tokyo, Japan). They bill themselves as a “guitar-less-organ all girl band,“ and parlay an obsession with the Doors and MGMT into some truly interesting, highly danceable post-modern rock ’n’ roll.9 p.m. Friday at Elysium (Japan Nite).
Charan Po Rantan (Tokyo, Japan). A young sister duo with a unique sound that deftly straddles the line between adorable and irritating. One is an accordion aficionado, the other sings while toting a stuffed pig. Sometimes they play with a Balkan backing band. In lederhosen. Seriously. Noon Friday at Austin Convention Center, Midnight Friday at Elysium (Japan Nite), and 10 p.m. Saturday at Copa.
Hashback Hashish (New Dehli, India). A DJ/Producer with a minimalistic, hypnotic style that’s a credible update on Goa trance. 9 p.m. Thursday at Madison.
Baishui (Yibin, China). A multi-instrumentalist and composer who draws on everything from prog rock and Western folk to traditional Chinese sounds to create sprawling atmospheric pieces that are simultaneously hauntingly melancholy and oddly peaceful. 9 p.m. Thursday at the Hideout.
Galaxy Express (Seoul, South Korea). Grimy, thrashing guitar-driven garage rock from three-time SXSW vets who have been steadily trashing any notions about the homogeneous, formulaic nature of the Korean music scene long before America learned to get down “Gangnam Style.” 1 a.m. Wednesday at Easy Tiger.
Peggy Hsu (Taipei, Taiwan). A dulcet-toned, Berklee-college trained, platinum-selling jazzy pop songstress and multi-instrumentalist. She’s sweet, charming and insanely talented, with a bio that reads like a Taiwanese Esperanza Spalding. Midnight Thursday at Meduse Lounge.