Benjamin Kheng

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Benjamin Kheng
Ben Kheng Spotify.png
Born15 August 1990
EducationDiploma in Arts and Theatre Management
Alma materRepublic Polytechnic

Benjamin Kheng (born 15 August 1990) is a Singaporean musician and actor. Popularly known as the vocalist of The Sam Willows, he has been producing solo music and creating comedy sketches with Hirzi Zulkiflie on The Benzi Project as of 2019. He was also a former youth national swimmer and a radio DJ for Lush 99.5FM.[1] As of 11 May 2020, Ben has 205,000 followers on Instagram.

Background

Early life & family

Benjamin Kheng was born on 15 August 1990 to Kheng Meng Siong and Regina.[2] He is the older brother of Narelle Kheng.[3] As children, their mother had exposed them to classical composers like Tchaikovsky and Bach.[4] In 2002, they lost their mother to Stage 2 breast cancer after her four-year-long battle.[5][6] Ben began swimming competitively at six years old. He had been a part of the Swimfast Aquatic Club, managed by a former national swimmer, David Lim.[7]

Education

Ben attended Anglo-Chinese School (Primary) before enrolling into Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) through the Direct School Admissions (DSA) programme.[8] He had then transferred to the Singapore Sports School to pursue competitive swimming.[9] During his time there, Ben was a part of the national youth team, specialising in long-distance events and the individual medley. In 2005, he won the Queensland State Championships for the boys' 200 m individual medley at a timing of 2:16.92.[10][11] In 2006, Benjamin Kheng was presented with the National Schools Colours Award in recognition of his sporting achievements.[12] Ben furthered his studies in Republic Polytechnic, graduating with a diploma in Arts and Theatre Management.[13]

Relationships

Engagement to Naomi Yeo (2020)

Photo credit to Phoenix Casuarina. Retrieved from 8 Days.

Ben and Naomi made their relationship public in September 2019.[14] Before that, they had worked on projects together as colleagues - having been cast members in shows like The Intruder (2019). In March 2020, Ben and Naomi posted photos of their engagement onto their respective Instagram accounts.[15][16] The proposal had been captured by New Zealand-based photographer, Phoenix Casuarina. Ben had proposed to Naomi at Lindis Pass in Southern New Zealand.[17][18] The couple had been on holiday at the time. It was also revealed that Ben had asked Naomi's parents for their blessings four months prior to his proposal.[19]

The Sam Willows (2012 - 2019)

The Sam Willows. Photo from Hear65 Bandwagon Asia.

The Sam Willows is comprised of Narelle Kheng, Jonathan Chua, Benjamin Kheng, Sandra Riley Tang. In late 2011, the quartet had first grouped to perform at their school’s alumni concert.[20] In May 2012, The Sam Willows uploaded their first mashup and cover of hit songs Hey Soul Sister by Train and We Are Young by Fun.[21] The video went viral and marked their rise to fame as a household name. On 27 May 2019, The Sam Willows announced that they were going on a hiatus.[22]

Discography

As of April 2020, Ben is managed by Sony Music Entertainment Singapore.[23] He has an estimated 139,500 monthly listeners on Spotify as of 17 April 2020.

2020

The cover art for Lovers Forever (2020). Photo from Hear65 Bandwagon Asia.
Date Released Song Duration Record Label(s)
10 April 2020 Lovers Forever 3:27 Sony Music Entertainment Singapore
27 February 2020 Find Me 3:20
29 November 2019 Wicked 3:09

2019

Date Released Song Duration Record Label(s)
29 November 2019 Wicked 3:09 Sony Music Entertainment Singapore

Music collaborations

Andrew Marko (left) and Ben wrote the music and lyrics for The Benzi Project's Unmanly Men (2019).
Year Project Artiste(s) Refs.
2019 Unmanly Men Andrew Marko Video
2017 2017 BILLBOARD HITS MASHUP Vidi Aldiano Video
Sober Evan Low, JX, Nathan Hartono Video
2016 YAYA THELIONCITYBOY Video
Comfortable & Blank Bittymacbeth Video
I Got All I Need (This Christmas) The Apex Project Video
2015 Fight Song Kurt Hugo Schneider Video
Bad Blood Kurt Hugo Schneider, Macy Kate Video
Strangers Debra Khng Video

Other endeavours

The BenZi Project (2019 - present) - Content creator

Ben collaborated with Hirzi Zulkiflie to create The BenZi Project (YouTube channel), a comedy sketch channel on YouTube. The series feature relatable scenarios faced by most Singaporeans such as The Halal Gap and Code-Switching. In 2020, the BenZi project released a parody of Singapore Social where Ben played the character Peter Faul - a caraciture of Paul Foster. Hirzi and Ben produce, direct and act in every episode of The Benzi Project. In a 2019 interview with 8 Days, Ben shared that the duo hoped to monetise The BenZi Project in the future.[24]

[email protected] (2014) - Speaker

During his talk titled Walk With Your Mind; Run With Your Heart (YouTube video), Benjamin Kheng spoke about how he overcame his anxiety disorder during his youth. He shared a story about how he was bullied in high school for being short and talked about his late mother and other pivotal experiences he had growing up. He stressed that to reach greater heights, one needs to embrace personal demons. Ben also shared the fact that he is a synesthete, a person who associates each music note with a unique person and colour.[25]

Acting

As of April 2020, Benjamin Kheng is a Fly Entertainment artiste.[26]

Television & web series

Ben pictured as Adam in The Intruder (2019). Photo from source.

In 2019, Ben was a part of an international cast for No Sleep No FOMO. The eight-part reality travelogue show featured local and international personalities like Eric Nam, Nat Ho and Paul Foster. In each episode, members explore new cities and while completing missions.[27][28]

Year Title of Production Role Refs.
2019 No Sleep No FOMO Host [29][30]
The Intruder Adam [31]
2018 Dead Lucky Isaac [32]
Saying Goodbye [33]
FAM! Main character [34][35]
2017 Wonder Boy Richard Lee -
The Breakup List Luke Wong [36]
2016 Can You Not?! Jason [37]

Theatre

Year Title of Play Character Company Refs.
2014 Ah Boys To Men: The Musical Ken Chow Running Into The Sun [38]
2013 Edges The Musical Main character Sight Lines Productions [39]
Romeo & Juliet Romeo Toy Factory Singapore [40]
2012 National Broadway Company Dick Lee Theatreworks [41]
Boom Real estate agent Sight Lines Productions [42][43]
2009 The Little Prince Titular Character Act 3 International [44][45]

References / Citation

  1. "Benjamin Kheng | FLY Entertainment". FLY Entertainment. Accessed on 21 October 2019.
  2. "Benjamin Kheng | Wiki | Asian Music Amino". aminoapps.com. Accessed on 21 October 2019.
  3. Tan, Corrie. "THE LIFE! INTERVIEW WITH Benjamin Kheng; Star turn". The Straits Times. April 21, 2014. Accessed on 21 October 2019. Retrieved from Factiva.
  4. Yeo, Melissa. "10 Narelle Kheng Facts That’ll Make You Fall In Love With Her". Must Share News. December 3, 2015. Accessed on 21 October 2019.
  5. Noor, Ashikin Abdul Rahman. "For Love of Mum: The deeper meaning behind The Sam Willows' MV". The New Paper. October 23, 2015. Accessed on 21 October 2019.
  6. Tay, Winston. "A cause close to Benjamin Kheng's heart". Youth.sg. February 2, 2018. Accessed on 17 April 2020.
  7. Tan, Corrie. “Star turn”. The Straits Times. April 23, 2014. Accessed on 21 October 2019.
  8. Hannah. "Local musician Benjamin Kheng shares heartwarming PSLE story in viral post". Young Parents. November 29, 2016. Accessed on 17 April 2020.
  9. Ho, Ai Li. “They want the best of both worlds”. The Straits Times. November 8, 2004. Accessed on 21 October 2019. Retrieved from Factiva.
  10. “Home Sports”. The Straits Times. January 11, 2005. Accessed on 21 October 2019. Retrieved from Factiva
  11. “Sports School continue golden run”. Today. August 11, 2006. Accessed on 21 October 2019. Retrieved from Factiva.
  12. “2006 National Schools Colours Award winners”. The Straits Times. October 24, 2006. Accessed on 21 October 2019. Retrieved from Factiva.
  13. "'It' boy Benjamin Kheng on a roll in music and on stage". The Straits Times. April 21, 2014. Accessed on 17 April 2020.
  14. Fong, Victor. “BENJAMIN KHENG ‘MADE PUBLIC’ ABOUT HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH 987FM’S NAOMI YEO”. GoodyFeed. September 26, 2019. Accessed on 23 March 2020.
  15. naomiyhs. Instagram. March 16, 2020. Accessed on 23 March 2020. Retrieved from: https://www.instagram.com/p/B9wNnPUpFgP/
  16. benjaminkheng. Instagram. March 18, 2020. Accessed on 23 March 2020. Retrieved from: https://www.instagram.com/p/B91j14OFBXE/
  17. Sam Willows' Benjamin Kheng gets engaged to part-time 987 DJ Naomi Yeo”. CNA Lifestyle. March 14, 2020. Accessed on 23 March 2020.
  18. Lee, Wei Lin. “Benjamin Kheng Proposed To His Girlfriend Naomi Yeo And She Had Just The Cutest Response”. 8Days. March 14, 2020. Accessed on 23 March 2020.
  19. naomiyhs. Instagram. March 16, 2020. Accessed on 23 March 2020. Retrieved from: https://www.instagram.com/p/B9wXaLxJJQ9/
  20. Sumayao, Marco. “The Sam Willows learn to grow up without ditching fun”. MTV Asia. July 13, 2018. Accessed on 11 January 2019.
  21. The Sam Willows. "Hey Soul Sister/ We Are Young (Cover) - The Sam Willows". YouTube. May 3, 2012. Accessed on 17 April 2020.
  22. Tan, Kendra. "The Sam Willows Are Taking A Break: "I Wish I Had More Drama For You But We're All Still Good Friends"". 8 Days. May 28, 2019. Accessed on 20 November 2019.
  23. "Benjamin Kheng". Instagram. Accessed on 17 April 2020.
  24. Fam, Jonathan. "How Benjamin Kheng And Hirzi Made The Smartest & Funniest Show On The Internet". 8 Days. June 30, 2019. Accessed on 19 November 2019.
  25. TedxYouth. "Walk With Your Mind; Run With Your Heart: Benjamin Kheng at [email protected]". YouTube. February 4, 2014. Accessed on 21 October 2019.
  26. "Benjamin Kheng | FLY Entertainment". FLY Entertainment. Accessed on 21 October 2019.
  27. "Viu’s No Sleep No FOMO Cast Members Share Their Filming Experiences". HallyuSG. March 20, 2019. Accessed on 21 October 2019.
  28. Tetchie. "Viu Original “No Sleep No FOMO” Cast Members Showcase An Amazing Launch Party". hellokpop.com. March 22, 2019. Accessed on 21 October 2019.
  29. "Viu’s No Sleep No FOMO Cast Members Share Their Filming Experiences". HallyuSG. March 20, 2019. Accessed on 21 October 2019.
  30. Tetchie. "Viu Original “No Sleep No FOMO” Cast Members Showcase An Amazing Launch Party". hellokpop.com. March 22, 2019. Accessed on 21 October 2019.
  31. "The Intruder - EP 1". MeWatch. January 3, 2019. Accessed on 17 April 2020.
  32. "Dead Lucky". MeWatch. Accessed on 17 April 2020.
  33. Jaze Phua. "Saying Goodbye - (DEAD LUCKY Ext. Short) Ft. Benjamin Kheng and Naomi Yeo". YouTube. September 16, 2018. Accessed on 17 April 2020.
  34. "Singapore sitcom 'FAM!' nominated for International Emmy Award". Yahoo. September 21, 2019. Accessed on 15 October 2019.
  35. "Nominees - International Academy of Television Art & Sciences". International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Accessed on 15 October 2019.
  36. "The Breakup List". MeWatch. Accessed on 17 April 2020.
  37. "Can You Not?! - The Full Webseries". YouTube. September 1, 2016. Accessed on 17 April 2020.
  38. Ng, Gwendolyn. “Hit local military movie Ah Boys To Men to become musical”. The Straits Times. February 5, 2014. Accessed on 11 January 2019.
  39. Tan, Corrie. "Gen Y angst in song and dance". The Straits Times. April 1, 2013. Accessed on 21 October 2019. Retrieved from Factiva.
  40. Pham, Larry. “It Is My Lady - A Song From Romeo & Juliet by Toy Factory Productions”. YouTube. January 28, 2014. Accessed on 11 January 2019.
  41. "Singapore theatre's 1980s zeitgeist". The Business Times. August 17, 2012. Accessed on 21 October 2019. Retrieved from Factiva.
  42. "Inkpot Review: Boom by Sight Lines Productions". inkpotreviews.com. 2012. Accessed on 21 October 2019.
  43. Martin, Mayo. "Grave issues ; A trip to Bukit Brown Cemetery moves the folks behind Boom". Today. June 19, 2012. Accessed on 21 October 2019. Retrieved from Factiva.
  44. "Bless the children". The Straits Times. July 22, 2009. Accessed on 21 October 2019.
  45. Ng, Magdalen. "Singapore showcase in Shanghai". The Straits Times. July 9, 2009. Accessed on 21 October 2019. Retrieved from Factiva.