Nabilah Musa, also known as Bil Musa, is a 25-year-old local artist who describes her musical style as "chilled" and "dreamy"
Signed to Malaysia's breakthrough star Yuna's recording company, Yuna Room Records, this singer-songwriter is one to watch.
In an interview with SAYS, Bil Musa discusses her Gen Y inspired album, Malaysia's indie music scene and her upcoming performance at Good Vibes Festival:
SAYS: Hey Bil! You've been in the music industry for a few years now. Do you have a cool story about how you were first 'discovered'?
Bil Musa: I performed at my friend's brother's wedding, and Yuna's manager was there. She asked my friend if I was signed to anyone and if I wrote my own music, which was really important to her and to their label. She listened to my songs and then asked me to consider a singing career and signing with them!
SAYS: Your second album is called 'Young Adults.' What's the story behind that?
Bil Musa: I named it that because it's by young adults, for young adults.
The inspirations behind the songs aren't just from me, but also from what my friends and people around me from my generation are going through. A 40-year-old or 50-year-old probably wouldn't listen to my songs and say, "Oh wow, so relatable!"
SAYS: What's your favourite song from your album and why does it stand out from the rest?
Bil Musa: I would say '4 am.' The process in which I wrote the song was very different from the way I wrote my other songs. It was based on a phone conversation! While this person was talking to me on the phone, I was writing down what he said. It was out of habit, I tend to doodle when I'm on the phone.
Bil Musa: This was also the first time I wrote a song where I set out to imitate another song. I wrote the lyrics and wanted to come up with a tune with similar vibes to 'Lost In The Light' by Bahamas.
SAYS: Out of all the songs you've written, what is the one lyric that's your absolute favourite?
Bil Musa: That's easy! From '4 am', the lyrics are "What a beautiful morning, what a beautiful view, to look in the mirror and only see half of what's left of you."
SAYS: Malaysia has a ton of talented artists of various genres. What are your thoughts on the local music scene as an indie artist?
Bil Musa: There are two different worlds in the local music scene. There's the mainstream world with the big artists who everybody knows, and then there's the indie scene with the underground artists.
The good thing about being an indie artist in Malaysia is that you have the freedom to experiment instead of being a slave to the audience. Indie artists get to make the music they want, solely for their love of music.
The con with being an indie artist is that local radio stations mostly only support the mainstream artists. Which is fair, because their audience is the mass market. It just means that the indie artists don't really stand a chance. What we need is exposure, but no one is going to give you exposure unless their audience asks for it.
SAYS: You're going to be performing at the Good Vibes Festival later this month! What are you most looking forward to?
Bil Musa: I'm so excited about performing with a full band, which I don't usually get to do. This is the first time I'm performing on a festival stage that is my own set, and the first time it's with international artists!
It's also going to feel surreal because I'm just a big fan of Good Vibes Festival. This is going to sound so cliché but the festival really is just full of good vibes! Last year's was an unforgettable experience for me. My friends and I got lost, it was muddy and raining, but it was so enjoyable because everyone there just wanted to have fun.
Watch Bil's newly released lyric video for 'Sejarah' here:
Bil Musa will be taking the stage on the second day of Good Vibes Festival 2018, happening on 21 and 22 July
She will be performing alongside Lorde, The Neighbourhood, Majid Jordan and more at The Ranch @ Gohtong Jaya, Genting Highlands.
This feature is part of the #saysplaylist series, providing your playlist with a breath of fresh Malaysian air.
If you have any Malaysian bands, singers or songs that you think we should feature, let us know in the comments below!