Adventure Of A Lifetime: Singaporean pop singer Rriley thought offer of Coldplay opening act gig was a scam

Rriley, whose real name is Sandra Riley Tang, will perform on three nights of the concert – Jan 27, 30 and 31.

Eddino Abdul Hadi

Eddino Abdul Hadi

The Straits Times


Singapore singer Rriley has been invited to play an opening set for Coldplay's upcoming concerts at the National Stadium. PHOTO: THE STRAITS TIMES

January 18, 2024

SINGAPORE – When Singaporean pop singer Rriley received the invite to play an opening set for Coldplay’s upcoming concerts at the National Stadium, she thought it was a prank.

“I had to re-read it a few times and check who it was from to make sure it wasn’t a scam or a joke,” the 33-year-old tells The Straits Times about the Instagram direct message sent by concert promoter Live Nation in July 2023.

It was an offer that the Coldplay fan, who grew up with the British pop-rock band’s music, could not refuse.

“I had Adventure Of A Lifetime as my alarm clock ringtone for the longest time,” she says, referring to the 2015 Coldplay song.

Rriley, whose real name is Sandra Riley Tang, will perform on three nights of the concert – Jan 27, 30 and 31.

Fellow home-grown singer Jasmine Sokko will take the stage on Jan 23, 24 and 26. Indonesian artiste Jinan Laetitia will open for the band on all six nights.

Rriley congratulated Sokko in an Instagram post in December 2023, but added that she was sad they would not be sharing the stage.

She also raved that she “might as well retire after this because there’s nothing that’s ever gonna beat this”.

While the prospect of performing to a full stadium with a capacity of 55,000 is daunting, it will not be the first time that Rriley, who made her name as a member of home-grown pop band The Sam Willows, is performing at the stadium.

In 2015, The Sam Willows sang at the venue for the 28th South-east Asia Games.

It will not be the first time she is opening for an international act, either. The Sam Willows were the supporting act for Irish pop-rock band The Script at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in 2015, and British girl group Little Mix’s 2016 concerts at The Star Theatre in Singapore and Kia Theatre in the Philippines.

In 2017, Rriley worked with American singer Michael Bolton, co-hosting his reality television show Bolt Of Talent, and sang with him at his Singapore concert.

The upcoming Coldplay shows will be her biggest as a solo artiste, though.

“I’ll be doing lots of rehearsals and meditation so I don’t freak out,” she says. “It’ll be an experience of a lifetime, and I want to be able to live in the moment and remember as much as I can for years to come.”

Rriley will be backed by a live band and dancers during her 30-minute sets.

“I’ve got new and bigger arrangements of my current repertoire for a larger stadium feel, so it’s definitely going to be epic. I would have had more people on stage with me, but I had a limit to work with.”

She will be dressed in an outfit styled specially by Nike, as she is an ambassador for the sports giant.

The Sam Willows, which also comprise singer-musicians Jonathan Chua and siblings Benjamin and Narelle Kheng, were formed in 2011 and released their eponymous debut EP the following year.

They have released several hit songs, such as Take Heart (2015), All Time High (2015) and Save Myself (2018).

They have performed at major events such as the National Day Parade in 2015 and Singapore Grand Prix from 2013 to 2015, and headlined their own concerts in 2016 in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

They have also toured overseas and played at festivals such as Summer Sonic Festival in Japan in 2017 and South by SouthWest in the United States in 2013.

In 2019, soon after The Sam Willows were included in the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list, they went on hiatus as all the members focused on their solo careers.

Rriley released her debut solo single Burn in the same year, and an EP, Alpha, the following year. Her most recent single, Growing Pains, was released in 2022.

She has also been pursuing other passions, such as yoga, Brazilian jiujitsu and, most recently, wakesurfing.

Ever the restless artiste, Rriley is always looking for new ways to remain creative.

“I’ve been dabbling in practical art and the fine arts, so I’m hoping to perhaps pursue that this year,” she says, adding that she has been making her own jewellery too. “But nothing in my life is ever set in stone, so I’m just going to go where the currents take me.”

scroll to top