'Count On Me, Singapore' saga: Joey Mendoza recants claims, apologises for 'confusion caused'

Staff Writer, Singapore
·Editorial Team
·2-min read

SINGAPORE — The Indian composer embroiled in a controversy surrounding an iconic Singapore National Day song has admitted that he has no evidence to back up his claims and apologised for the "confusion caused".

Joey Mendoza has been unable to provide any evidence that he had written "We Can Achieve" in 1983 and "does not lay claim to the lyrics and tune" for "Count On Me, Singapore", said the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) in a Facebook post on Sunday (21 March).

The 58-year-old has also accepted that the Singapore government holds the copyright to the music and lyrics of "Count On Me, Singapore", MCCY added.

The controversy arose after a video of "We Can Achieve" began causing a stir among local audiences, who pointed out its striking similarity to "Count On Me, Singapore". Described as "practically identical" by MCCY, the main difference between the songs was the use of "India" instead of "Singapore" in the lyrics to "We Can Achieve".

Mendoza later claimed that he had written "We Can Achieve" in 1983, a claim MCCY said is "untenable" as "Count On Me, Singapore" was written by Hugh Harrison in 1986.

"There is not only contemporaneous evidence to support this, but also first-hand accounts such as those of Mr Jeremy Monteiro, a well-respected Singaporean musician who has himself been involved in the making of several national songs. Mr Monteiro has confirmed that he was together with Mr Harrison when the Song was developed, and saw its evolution," said MCCY.

"Furthermore, our checks conducted in India turned up no evidence or records whatsoever of Mr Mendoza having any rights to 'We Can Achieve' from 1983 or anytime thereafter," the ministry added.

MCCY said it later pressed Mendoza to back up his claims as they were a "direct affront to our ownership and interest" in "Count On Me, Singapore". 

The ministry added that Mendoza has also agreed to inform all his associates and networks of his claims status and to instruct all social media platforms to remove "We Can Achieve".

MCCY noted the importance that the rights to "Count On Me, Singapore" are protected and that there remain no doubts as to the ownership of the song. The ministry added that it has accepted Mendoza's apology and will "treat the matter as closed".

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