Meet Lincoln Lim - at just 26 years old, this songster already boasts 12 years of experience under his belt. Influenced by a motley of genres - introduced to him by way of his siblings, school and church - his music draws a focus to lyricism and storytelling that has all but disappeared in the age of algorithm-backed streaming services and cookie-cutter hits. In this edition of Duxton Stories, Lincoln speaks candidly about his mental health journey, his granddad's impact on his teenage self, and the tunes that sit on the horizon, eager to be released.
How did you realise your passion for singing?
Lincoln: I think it was... I was 14, and at a certain point you realise that you can’t really stop yourself. I was just performing, from little bars, to bigger bars, to bigger stages and that just started becoming something that was indistinguishable from who I am. I think that was - at a certain point you just realise, yeah, even if I don’t want to do this, I kind of have to. And … here we are today, I guess. It’s been a crazy ride.
What inspired you to start singing when you were younger?
Lincoln: I think what inspired me a lot of the time, besides, you know, hearing cool stuff on the radio and just finding out cool new music that my brother and sister gave to me, was my granddad. He was my first fan, he was super cool. His encouragement and messing around on the guitar - you know, half the time I didn’t know whether he was listening to me. He probably wasn’t, thinking about it now. But yeah, it was just the first bit of encouragement I got. And I always found that I expressed myself better through singing and stuff like that. That’s what it was. That’s the addiction, man.
What did you first start listening to?
Lincoln: At the beginning I think it was a lot of, like, literally what my brother and my sister passed to me. I was big into - I remember at the beginning - weirdly enough, a lot of opera, a lot of Pavarotti and stuff. And then in my teen phase, it was, like, I miss Blink-182! I miss that whole sound, the pop-punk bits of me. So it kind of went from that to a lot of blues stuff, a lot of hard rock stuff. It was really just this crazy time to grow up, in the school that I was in, in the church that I was in at the time. It was just, like, a ton of great musicians in that place. I guess I listened to everything and anything that was great, that people kind of gave to me. So music was really a gift, it was this thing that people kept throwing in my way and it’s just like “Yes, yes, we’ll put this in this playlist.” Oh my god, it wasn’t even playlists back then, it wasn’t Spotify, it was just mixtapes. Mixtapes, you know mixtapes? Jesus. I guess that was the first few things I listened to, which is literally everything, isn’t it? That was a horrible answer.
How would you describe your style of music to folks who are listening to it for the first time?
Lincoln: Fun on the first listen, progressively more intense, the more you go for it. I think I try to write for someone who… for two groups of people, the people who listen to stuff as they flit through the playlist, and that’s cool if that’s you, but it’s also, because of the kind of listener I am, which is kind of like, listen to the whole thing, look at the lyrics and kind of read stories. I think it’s just stories at the end of the day, and that’s something I’ll never stop doing. It’ll always be stories for me, because that was what drew me in and that’s something I strive to do with every song. So how would I describe it… I guess it’s just stories, with a particularly rough voice telling them to you.
What are you most excited about right now?
Lincoln: I’m really excited to finally get all the songs I wrote out! Over this period, you know, it’s that whole ~brooding musician~ moment and everything and just sitting in my room and writing stuff. So it’s like yes! It’s finally coming out, everything is coming out. My song with MasiaOne is finally out, I’ve got a song coming out with this amazing young musician called Houg, and a couple more around the corner with collaborations from both Singapore and from overseas. So I’m really excited for that part of my life to kind of kick off. And - oh - that little thing of me getting engaged recently! So that’s freaking crazy. I’m excited to see all those things come together in a really messy, crazy and fun way.
Last question, what advice would you give to you younger self?
Lincoln: To believe in yourself a little bit more, to realise that all the stuff you’ve been going through and all the stuff that you had to go through now made you who you are today, made you someone who’s able to live up to the idea of daring greatly. Because now I’m vocal about mental health and things like that, back then I couldn’t even acknowledge that I was bipolar, I had all these issues and things bubbling under the surface. It came out in the worst ways. I told myself when I was 13 that I didn’t really see past the age of 25, and now I’m 26. I guess what I would tell myself is that you can make it, in your own way. To no one else’s standard. Just to yourself, you’re making it work.