Although born in England, singer/songwriter Hugo Chakrabongse spent most of his childhood and early adulthood in Thailand, where he acted in several Thai soap operas before forming his first band, Siplor. The band’s early performances -- a mix of original tunes, Jefferson Airplane covers, and the theme song to one of Hugo’s soaps -- were dodgy at best, but Siplor eventually rose to the top of Thailand’s rock scene, known equally for their psychedelic country-rock sound and outspoken, pro-democracy politics. After releasing four albums with the group, Hugo moved to London in search of a solo career.
Now operating under his forename, he co-wrote the song “Disappear” for Beyoncé’s best-selling 2008 album, I Am...Sasha Fierce, and earned a spot on her husband’s record label as a result. Hugo then paid tribute to Roc Nation founder Jay-Z by recording a thumping, folksy cover of “99 Problems,” which was featured in the 2010 film No Strings Attached. One year later, Old Tyme Religion officially introduced Hugo to the Western world with a mix of pop, rock, and soul. ~ Andrew Leahey