It had been a very long day of press rounds for our dear indie princess, Zee Avi. With two cups of tea in her hand, she still put on a smile and cheery demeanour for us interviewers, greeting us like we had been friends for such a long time, despite the dim lighting of the interview venue and the gloomy weather.
Her sophomore record, ghostbird, had a lot of hype and anticipation, following the success of her debut album. It took 2 years for the record to be produced and when asked about the process of making it, Zee Avi (whose real name is Izyan Alirahman) said that it was very go-with-the-flow. Having had the experience of writing the songs in her kitchen in Brooklyn as well as on a boat sailing across Florida Everglades, she said that the fact that the instrumentalists in her record are actual musicians and not just a group of sessionists, did help to bring out the best in her songs.
The songstress had no idea that music would be her calling, until the email that she received from Brushfire Records about a deal with them. Hailing from Sarawak, Zee Avi believes that her cultural background influences her not only with regards to her music, but also, her mindset. When asked about what would be her proudest moment as a musician so far, she told us, "It will probably be looking at my parents' faces in the crowd while I am playing a show."
Since she was in town to play a sold-out show, we asked her how it felt like coming back to the island again, and she replied,"It’s great, you know, I’ve been waiting to play again in Singapore for a while now, because everytime the audience is just so, you know, the exchanges of energy that we have, whenever I’m on stage, there’s sort of projecting a mutual love, and that’s one thing that I love about performing in Singapore."
No stranger to playing shows in Singapore, Zee Avi expressed her excitement to be back here in this tiny little island for the third time. According to her, playing a show in Singapore is a must-do for musicians, likening our performance venues to those that are in Japan, saying, "Singapore is one of the places up there like Toyko, you know, where a lot of great artists come by, that don’t come by Malaysia. And being here - its always an honour to play here."
What is the Singapore experience without the food, right? Zee Avi, whose favourite dish is Mee Kolok (she even wrote a song about it, no joke!), said that she is really looking forward to trying nasi ayam penyet and chilli crab. Apparently, the ones back home do not taste the same.
And as the day (actually, it was more of 20 minutes of interview time) draws to end, Zee Avi began protesting, saying that it was too short and she still had a lot more to say. Next time, Zee Avi - I am pretty sure that there will be a next time!