Telekom Electronic Beats

E-MERGING: ‘A Song For You’ makes you feel a kaleidoscope of emotions

The vocal ensemble uses communal singing to tell stories of a collective experience.

Text: Juule Kay

The world is changing, and with it, a new generation of trailblazers is taking over. In our monthly series E-MERGING, we introduce the people adding to the cultural moment with their creative minds, new ideas and unique approaches. It’s a glimpse behind the scenes, a way to dig deeper and look beyond the picture-perfect outcome we’re swamped with every day.

A Song For You is more than just your typical choir. It’s pivoting somewhere between performance, theatre, vocal ensemble and their soon-to-be-released debut album. What started back in May 2022 by musician Noah Slee and creative producer Dhanesh Jayaselan evolved into a movement, which the local community embraced with open arms. “Whether it comes to verbal communication, creative vision or what we want to eat, there is just this spark of connection where we understand each other almost telepathically,” says Malaysian creative Jayaselan, who met Slee through one of his video projects and the fact that both have always been moving in similar circles, specifically Berlin’s Soul and Jazz scene. “The other person is like a pillar to maintain this idea of following dreams,” Slee adds, appreciating his optimism and desire to move forward.

With a shared mindset of knowing there is so much talent but not the stages, they took matters into their own hands and created space for collective singing, centering BIPOC voices. “The ability to sing together and create harmony is such a unique and powerful thing that people should be engaged with more,” says Slee, who comes from different communities back in New Zealand that celebrate communal creativity through dance, music and singing.

What does ASFY mean to you?


– Asmarina


– Saida Walz


– Charlotte Colace


– Monica Mussungo


– Sorvina Carr

Germany, however, is known for other things, such as Berlin’s techno scene, which was recently added to the UNESCO cultural heritage list, but that doesn’t mean other scenes can’t flourish, too. With a sold-out debut show at Berlin’s Volksbühne last year, both remember the reactions of the audience expressing their gratitude for this shared experience, which felt like therapy for many. “Everyone felt that collective joy, that collective pain, and was able to connect with any emotion that was being portrayed,” Jayaselan points out. “Some people might experience this in the club on the dance floor at 4 a.m., but that was another version of that.” For Slee, who was performing that night, it got all very emotional. “I saw people in front of me bawling their eyes out, and I was like, OK, I need to look away, or otherwise I’m gonna do the ugly-crying,” he mentions half-jokingly.

Managing a group of over 50 people, including band members and dancers, isn’t always the easiest of tasks. It starts with finding a rehearsal space and ends with the time, energy and effort it takes to work with such a large group to bring ideas into reality in a short amount of time. Despite all this, they always find a way to make it work. “We do a lot of the concepting before our rehearsal for the show even begins, so that we can try and be as streamlined as possible before going through a series of teaching, learning, rehearsing and performing,” says Jayaselan about the creative process, which includes a lot of talking. “These regular meetings we have, the values we stand by, and our ethos invites people to leave their egos at the door,” Slee continues, emphasising how individual voices come together to make one sound. “If one voice is too strong, trying to flex or show off, it’s gonna be heard, and that’s not the sound that we’re trying to create.”


– Ikuma Lumeya


– Aphrodite Kouantri


– Sera Kalo


– Angel




– Sangeeta Lerner


– Lucina Akintaya


– melli

A Song For You’s sound varies and is a result of endless experimentation and exploration. “It’s like a poetic sonic illustration of the celebration of many people’s stories and the merging of these sonic atmospheres as one,” Jayaselan tries to boil down, focusing on the energy of the sound. They both agree that it’s never about pleasing everyone, but creating something everyone can connect with. “People have found a sense of home in A Song For You,” Slee adds, manifesting a strong sense of hope and community.

It only felt right to call their newly released debut album “Home”. After recording at a music residency in Southern France back in 2022, they decided to go back to the drawing board in order to capture the story of A Song For You. As a result, they extended the album to 17 tracks, collaborating with various artists, local instrumentalists and producers with whom they all share a strong creative alignment. “The overall credit list for the album takes up a whole page,” they both reveal with a proud smile when talking about the album. “There’s this one lyric called ‘‘seems like I found my home in you’, and it’s just such a well-rounded sentence of what A Song For You stands for: We had found a home in each other; we had found a home with each other.”




– Layana Flacks


– Oihane Roach


– Bronwyn Reeler


– Marc A.Maurice


– Stephanie Ilova


– Mina Avebe Eyene


– Beri

What are you thankful for these days?
D: The little moments and the rest I get in between things.
N: The ocean.

How do you usually recharge your energy?
N: Cooking.
D: Being anonymous in a new city.

The most asked question in the group chat?
D: What time is rehearsal?
N: Did anyone see X missing piece? We have our own lost and found by now.

What’s the feeling you usually feel after stepping out of rehearsal?
N: Sometimes it’s euphoria, sometimes it’s a complete drain after eight hours.
D: Social exhaustion.

Any words of wisdom you heard recently and want to share with others?
N: “Without justice there can be no love” – Bell Hooks
D: I make my journey. It was some rock art in Egyptian hieroglyphics found in the pyramids.


– D.$ahin


– Allysa Grace


– Maëlle Fiand


– Nando The Native


– Formosah


– Isabelle Rivera


– Naomi Simmonds

Published July 01, 2024.