1. What made you want to explore music as a singer songwriter at your age, do you feel a disconnect with the wants and trends of the younger generation at the same time?
I had always been in love with music, music is the place I go to when I’m sad. I sing to myself to calm my thoughts. Its just that only at this age I was given the opportunity and means to birth the music into reality. It’s something personal, and I don’t feel the need to compare it with whats trendy. I don’t know if the young generations or the digital citizen at large will accept my music but I had found that mothers could be very forthright in commenting about it. For instance, a mother of a Pandu Puteri dancer, involved in the Memori : The Story of Andhika Pramuthya performed at DPAC awhile back said that the song memory is very nice, and made the hair at the back of her neck stood up. On another ocassion, the mother of a reporter asked her to tell me that my voice is at par with Josh Groban and I should go international. One of the mom was a chinese and the other, Indian.
2. What is the reality of indie music, breaking into mainstream and age bias in today’s digital and age of highly connected but at the same time, super disconnected?
It’s alive, well and thriving because nobody is stopping you. As long as you have the gumption, sky is the limit. Breaking into mainstream maybe an aphorism because, social media has enabled a sort of a level playing field but we all know the bleak statistics. At the end of the day, big agencies have more chance at playing the odds. Everything has to be super polished because audience expects that. There is no age bias if the artist can be confident enough. Good music is good music. The world is filled with artists making it in not such a young thing anymore.
3. In terms of direction, do we mimic 100% what hails from the USA? What are the challenges of being seen as hip and forward thinking if you like, classical pop for instance?
Even I don’t hold the Top 40s or the eponymous Billboard charts as the holy grails anymore. I feel disconnected to it but as tend to fravitate towards classical pops, it is a matter of addressing which charts. So, diversity counts. Locally, I welcome more innovations and categories. Why not be THE chart that the people world over look up to. The question then is where is the music?
4. What is the truth in social media platform followers and influence vs traditional media, where does an indie singer fits in?
Somebody in the media circle told me that yes, people buy followers to show strength and it counts. Influence is great but for people like me, who is quite reserve and shy, I just have to learn to do what I want irrespective of best practices and the selfies. I truly believe that books like The Happiness Effects does help in making us understand what is going on and how to best deal with the psychological challenges behind it. Its all not happy …and its alright, but rather than feel pressured to post selfies, maybe do art, snap books and etc. Not everybody is a narcisstic so we have to be willing to find our own solutions to unearth how best to show a piece of us online.
5. Is there a language bias in the music industry, as a nation of diverse citizens, isn’t it prime time for every other category, language, genre and sub genres to be introduced and celebrated?
I believe its about time, more languages should be included in big named programes as well as categories. If it is good music, it is good and we are malaysians. We like a lot. Be it korean, Hindi, Italian ..so why not at least more Indian and chinese songs along side malay songs. I think I have been denied this chance, of cherishing evrything that is great. Just because it is not included, left out. What a shame.
6. If a person does not listens to radio or watch television at all, not surprising in this period of time, how does a marketeer or indie music reach out to them, to be noticed and brand themselves?
Its bad to admit this bad I don’t watch tv or listen to radio for quite some time now. In my teen years yes, I remembered trying to make the old radio at my grandma work, not usually but thankfully enough it can play cassetes. Ah, cassetes, that almost makes me an ancient already. Now, I find new music mostly through youtube walking, but mostly I am fixed with what I like, but it never meant I never find somebody new to listen to. I don’t listen to locals much, except from Kamar Seni artists, is because I don’t want to be too influenced or least plagiarised the works. I catch tunes rather quickly. Listening to classical pops or foreign artists gives me freedom and never failed to surprise me. Listen to Giacomo Caccomo or Lorenzo Fragola, geniuses!
7. What’s your take on underground music, and since it is most often associated with heavy metal, rock-ish, do you think it is, very narrowly defined?
The fact that it is underground, the permeating consensus is it is dominated by rock-ish music but it is not entirely so. Online, underground is all about what is still not main stream, it is more myriad, experimental and where all the creatives are. Who can tell us what is good music to us anymore? To me, anything that is not gushed or viral-ed is underground and it is the joy of discovery that makes it beautiful.
8. What’s your wish for the future of our music industry and your take on main stram artists’ fixation on generating sensationalised publicity rather than better quality music and performances?
I think the art of performing is the ultimate goal for any musicians. It is the goal to be amongst the greats and most memorable. To give that impactful live performance that will be talked about for years even after the curtain falls. No matter what, whether it is online or live, musicians need to transfer the right doses of enchantments so that the audiences and listeners can be surprised, transformed and spiritually moved. All else is fleeting. I had the chance to watch Datuk Seri Siti rehearsing and doing sound checks and at another time Hujan, doing the prep works before a show, they both show great level of commitment and skills in wanting the best bar none and the resukts shows. Flawlessness and music that reverbrates with the soul.
9. Do you think it is fair that producers of talent programs are only fixated on promoting their products endlessly, thus capping others’ entry into their networks and suchs?
It is only right that they do it that way because only artist they groomed will benefit them, carry their agendas and sway the public into tuning to their networke. But the truth is, what is mainstream anymore? I don’t follow much, who can keep up, there are soo many. At the end of the day, it does not guarantee quality nor longevity. For indie artist or others, who have to hustle without such supports, I think that’s a true cause and freedom in itself. You are not going to sound the same with the others under the same brand and you can spend more time in exploring what really makes you, music and direction.
10. Before Datuk Sheila, Datuk Seri Siti Nurhaliza and now Yuna, maybe Malaysians almost always feels that our music scene is far inferior than the outside, is that so always or just an ill informed perception?
There are others and there are Malaysian artists. No matter what, there will always that battle rally of wanting anyone from our beloved country to make it big-ger. its in our daily prayer, without fail. Anyone please, make it! So, it’s not really about comparing but about missing the what’s suppossed to happen anyways. I mean, why is the rest of the world soo late in realising that we have great talents too, to like our local music, we have good ones by the truck, train, ship loads. I may be speaking of the talents that I grew up with but its all the same, I know they are good, nobody can take their place in our hearts. All artist maybe at some point have to make sacrifices in terms of what songs to be put forward, think of all the songs that had to be rejected …I wish perhaps with the advent of new technology, our talents can be even more prodigious in producing each and everything they like and with this, we can really show our flair, depth and prowess to the outside world. Yeah, we need more chances too. Chances to we as citizens can may well help, to keep shouting till it hurts, when all hooes dried up and then some, to give the extra push for our talents. They face their down days, dilly daily doubting days too. We can not but do this together. United , for music, we stand, sit ..whatever 🙌🙌😭😂
pic credit to Hong Chun Zhang, ThisisColassal.com