More than a song
Article from the Sun daily by Joyce Ang (posted on 11 Feb 2016)
BELIEVE it or not, there was a time when Razlan Shah was ridiculed for his horrendous singing , or so he claimed.
"I used to busk at Telawi Street in Bangsar because I was so bad that I wasn't allowed to sing in the house, and oh my goodness, the amount of heckling and trash thrown into my guitar case was unbelievable," he laughed.
However, that experience spurred him on to pursue what he loves – regardless of the rejections and obstacles that came his way – at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.
Now, not only is the 25-year-old an artiste in his own right, he also manages Najwa Mahiaddin, Bassment Syndicate, and Kyoto Protocol.
Would you ever only sing or manage?
As an artiste, I love singing as a mode of expression, but I like to look at different avenues or different mediums to find expression. With management, it's not so much about expressing, but letting artistes express what they really want, as opposed to making them create content that is geared towards generic interest.
The artistes I work with have completely different dreams and creative methods, so it's always fun to explore those with them, and work with their craft. It's a very rewarding process because instead of just working on me, I get to work on other people! It is one thing to make your dreams come true, but a completely different feeling to make another person's dream come true.
What's your take on the Malaysian music industry?
Like any arts industry in Malaysia, it has great potential. We have so much to share! However, I think the biggest obstacle to its growth is the lack of gumption in artistes. A lot of Malaysian artistes are big fishes in small ponds, but many stop when they've attained some sort of achievement, then move on to something else. I want more people to be hungry to do something bigger. The world is so connected and globalised now; it is disappointing to see only a handful of Malaysian artistes that have crossed borders. We have numerous artistes with great original sound – I want more of that – and I'm proud to say that the artistes that I work with are keen to do more.
As an artiste, what do you want to achieve through your art?
You know how sometimes when you watch a film, something they do or say just strikes you and you go, 'Wow, I've never thought of it that way before!'? I want to do that with my art. I want to bring people fresh perspective and different angles to a thought.
What would you like to do before you reach 30?
I want to see my artistes grow and achieve their dreams. For myself, I will release my art just for that sake and not so much to gain awards or airtime.
If anybody wants to listen to my music, by all means they shall. In fact, I will be releasing my next EP, Hounds, for free for the first few months. I also want to hopefully start creating films.
Tell us more about Hounds.
Hounds refer to the hunting dog, which is a metaphor for searching. It is for the twenty-somethings, and is essentially about the pursuit of purpose, and that includes self-doubt, finding inner confidence and the sense of self. It has about five songs; and I have released, with Darren Ashley, a music video for Jungle, one of the singles from the EP.
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