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I always put on M.A.C. Prep and Primer before anything.
I just realized the best way to live your life is to just be you, as cliche as it sounds. I grew up trying to please everyone.
A lot of the songs are based on my previous relationship. It didn’t work out. I lost him, and it ruined me. I had to learn to get back on my feet. I used that heartbreak to create something really beautiful.
Being a musician, it’s my job to be real and be true to whoever I am. Hopefully that will inspire other people. I hope it inspires people to be themselves and be comfortable in your own skin.
Whenever I write a new song, it always happens when I come back from Europe or Egypt or something like that. It’s always from travelling.
The best thing to do when you’re writing is to write about something you know instead of pretending. I mean, you can do that too, obviously, but when you write from your heart, it works so much better.
‘Places to Go’ is something that I would never normally write because I would usually be worried with what people would think about me.
I think I draw my inspiration from a lot of conversations that I had with people or my friends and combine them together with my own personal experience.
I grew up listening to a lot of Malaysian pop music, which is kind of like a mixture of traditional and pop… I was also listening to a lot of English music as well.
I think being bi-continental is something I want to continue. Kuala Lumpur is my home, but L.A. is where I’ve been able to make the music that I want.
I’ve always been singing all my life, but I started playing guitar when I was 19, and that was my final year in university, in law school. I think that happened when I started making a lot of friends who were in the independent music scene.
I love Feist. I love Francoise Hardy. She was a French singer-songwriter in the ’60s who was pretty huge. I think I’m drawn to her sincerity. I love Fiona Apple, too – she’s quirky and really honest in her lyrics.
I’m based here in L.A., but I think in the future I might consider settling down in Malaysia when I start a family.
Being a musician and artist can feel superficial at times – you talk about yourself every day and pose for photos for the magazines and newspapers, and it can be very tiring for your well-being.
I have people who say, ‘You should dress up like this, or you should dress more modest; you should cover up more.’ And then, at the other end of the spectrum, you have, like, ‘Why are you still wearing your scarf? You’re in America, you know.’
Being in the public eye, you can’t really avoid a lot of questions. A lot of questions are being thrown at you, whether it’s about your personal life or your personal beliefs, and I’m happy to answer them all.
In my final year of law school, everything became real. Malaysian TV shows wanted me to perform big concerts. So, after graduating, I decided to go for it. I didn’t think I’d be a good lawyer anyway.
I like that I don’t have to conform to the normal women-in-music-selling-sex-appeal thing.
I really believed that my songs were good enough for the whole world to listen to. I had fans from America or the U.K. who would be like, ‘Oh my God, I love your music’.
Embrace the color of your skin and your own beauty.
I didn’t take music seriously in the beginning. It just kind of a hobby to me. It was something that I love doing for fun.
I love my headscarf. I wear my head wrap every day with my hoop earrings.
I use the ‘Too Faced Chocolate Bar Eye Shadow’ Palette every day. I’ve tried a bunch of stuff, but this is my favorite. For eyebrows, I use the ‘Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow’ Pomade in Dark Brown, and for mascara, I don’t use anything else but ‘Urban Decay Perversion’ Mascara.
A lot of people tend to go into the music industry and be really – what do you call it? – oblivious to everything that comes with it.
My style is all I have. When I go on stage, that’s me in my comfort zone. It’s not a costume. It’s just me. And I want every woman to feel that way.
I have a lot of friends who do EDM music; they had to tell me what a ‘drop’ was.
Fame is definitely a monster: it can suck you in and spit you out and change you. The biggest challenge is to remain yourself regardless of what people say about you.
I come from a jazzy, acoustic, folky background. Everything has to work with melodies; the words have to have meaning.
To have a sense of style, it shows you know yourself. People like that.
The working environment in L.A. is really refreshing, really good. Because in Malaysia, it’s a small country – you end up working with the same people that you like and that you know.