Meet Alan Vellanprasad Durairaj, a 25-year-old artist who has suffered from stuttering since he was a kid
Alan was only seven years old when he started choking every time he felt pressured or stressed.
"I'd have the words on the tip of my tongue but I can't push them past my lips because my jaw starts locking," Alan said in an interview with SAYS.
The stuttering caused a downward spiral in his mental health, which saw him limiting his interaction with people, even with the ones he felt comfortable with.
As he grew up, Alan thought he was managing his anxiety and stuttering better by forcing himself into situations that allowed him to speak his mind. But he recalls a particularly dreadful presentation he did at 16 years old.
"I suddenly felt the familiar anxiety creep up within me," Alan recalled, before adding that he started struggling with his pronunciation during the presentation.
Although Alan got through his script eventually, the giggles from his classmates didn't help his self-consciousness and insecurities.
"I've been tortured internally by my inability to express myself when I knew I had so much to say," he said.
It took a long time of isolation, frustration, and self-deprecation before Alan decided to do something about it
"I remember reading online about how singing and rapping have tremendous therapeutic potential," Alan said, after recalling his determination to seek help online for his condition.
Being a drummer himself, Alan used this instrument as a means to push his self expression, then decided to use rhythm to improve his speech. One of his teachers also told Alan that whenever he spoke out loud, he'd do so in a rhythmic pattern!
Combining his love for rhythm and poetry to get better, Alan eventually found his voice through rap and hip-hop
Alan said that he focused on his pronunciation and vocal intonation to improve his speech.
"I forced myself to recite lyrics out loud for days on end," he said, after expressing his love for Jay-Z and Nas, two of his biggest hip-hop inspirations.
Alan went on to create MassMusic with his best friends in 2015, an independent label which allows him to truly express himself the way he wanted
On 21 and 22 July, MassMusic will be performing alongside Lorde, The Neighbourhood, Majid Jordan and more at The Ranch @ Gohtong Jaya, Genting Highlands.
Watch MassMusic's video for their latest single 'Yired' on YouTube, shot by Ambitious Tonez:
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!
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