Soul Agent

Published on 26 May 2017

Credit: Darren Soh

Nick Zavior goes from classroom crooner to one of Singapore’s most promising soul singers.


When 23-year-old singer-songwriter Nick Zavior first discovered his love for music in primary school, his classmates found him irritating because he was always singing in class. Who would have thought that more than a decade later, this classroom crooner would end up performing with Canadian music legend David Foster at this year’s Singapore International Jazz Festival?

Zavior, who graduated from LASALLE College of the Arts last year with a Diploma in Jazz Performance and a Degree in Popular Music, attributes this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to those who believe in his work. “I’ve been going around the club circuit performing for six years,” he says. “A few of my supporters were in the Sing Jazz committee and told me to submit a demo to David Foster, who was looking to perform with a local singer. I didn’t hear anything for two months, but then I was suddenly told, ‘Hey, it’s 90 per cent confirmed!’ — I was over the moon.”

Through this experience, Zavior got to share the stage with some of the world’s top musicians. “It was an eye-opener… being surrounded by their energy was a very good push for me,” he recalls. Zavior is now working with Foundation Music (an organisation that helps local musicians reach an international audience) to record singles and eventually, an album.

All this focused musical ambition began when Zavior’s parents sent their then 15-year-old son for vocal lessons with veteran singer Sheila De Niro. “When I heard her sing, I was like, ‘Wah, Singaporeans can actually sound so good!’ I felt I could take this seriously and try it out,” he says.

His four years at LASALLE College of the Arts also helped him shape his musical direction. “There were a few lecturers who really guided me on my approach. For example, since I want to perform soul/R&B, I was always reminded to look at successful musicians in this area, who they work with, and consider how I can align myself in this field,” he explains.

Zavior’s vision is to revive the old-school sounds of soul from the 1950s and ’60s with a modern touch. This soul influence even extends to his worldview that music can bring about much positivity. “Sam Cooke, whom I used to listen to everyday as a teen, sang ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’ in 1964, which uplifted so many people during the American Civil Rights Movement. I too hope to have a few defining songs that people can turn to when times are bad.”

Listen to Nick Zavior’s music at

Credit: Stephen Laurence Harvey
Scroll Up