Singapore based alternative-folk singer KHAi recently released his conceptual 6-track EP titled “Strange[r]”. His new music reflects his own take on love – that it inevitably ends one
way or another.
“I stand by the belief that we all need to learn how to embrace the pain that comes with a failed romantic relationship. This EP serves as a personal memo of tunes embodying the anxieties and excitements of falling in and out of love,” KHAi was quoted as saying.
In speaking to the singer-songwriter, he talks about his music journey thus far, the kind of artists he listens to, and which Malaysian singers are on his radar. Check out the interview below:
1. Tell us more about yourself as a singer-songwriter.
Hello! My name is Khairul Ridzwan, and I perform under the moniker “KHAi”. I’ve been dabbling around in the English music scene in Singapore since 2014 playing my originals through busking in the streets of Singapore before I made the decision to release them as an EP.
2. What made you decide to become a musician?
I get asked this a lot but each time, I somehow learn a little more about myself when I think about it. I think making music to me is a necessity more than a means of showmanship or popularity. To put it simply, I can’t live without making music. It’s what I think about every second of the day. I’ve done non-music related jobs prior to being a musician and I was never truly satisfied. I’m a strong believer in living your best life. Hence, I guess making music full-time is that for me. I think my aim in life would be to make sure that I’d be on my deathbed knowing that I’ve truly lived my life.
3. Tell us more about the music influences you have.
I have always been a fan of Frank Ocean’s approach to writing and producing his songs. The imagery he paints with his lyrics and sonic choices in the production is so vivid. There is so much depth in his music that I found myself studying it on my own free time. I also listen to a lot of Bruno Major, Bon Iver and Rex Orange County. All of these artists have a huge part to play in me finding my sound as an artist. I would usually listen to all of their songs and pick out the things I like in each song and try to understand why that particular sound fits in the context of that song. Understanding this at a deeper lever has helped me greatly with my own sonic choices as an artist.
4. You released your EP “Strange[r]” recently, tell us more about what the EP is about? We want to know your thought process on birthing out “Strange[r]”!
“Strange[r]” really was a journey for me. The process of producing this EP has taught me so many things. It actually started off with me having 2 songs that I felt would work great in an EP together – “Strange” and “Stranger”. This was the skeleton I had of this EP. Everything in between came after I decided what the EP was about – my pessimistic belief that “love has to end at some point.”
5. KHAi, if you can pick 2 songs off “Strange[r]”, what would they be and why?
I would say, “Victoria” and “Stranger”.
I think “Victoria”, lyrically, is one of the best songs I’ve ever written. It’s the most thought-out song in my entire EP, which was why I decided that that song deserves to shine with a music video.
“Stranger” would be my pick because of how raw and different it is compared to my other songs. I feel that this song serves as an alternate version of me as an artist. I think this song shows a lot of my vulnerability putting the art in the forefront before the production quality. It’s a really bold move on my part and it was daunting at first, but I’ve learned that what truly matters is the song itself.
6. What are your upcoming plans for the next year? Any thoughts on collaborating with other artists?
Malaysia has many musicians. I would love to write a song featuring Talitha. Her voice is so buttery smooth. I have a few songs that I think calls for a collaboration. I’ve also been listening to a few acts out of Malaysia too like Alextbh and Lost Spaces. So I’m really excited for the future. Hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to collaborate with some artists 🙂
As for upcoming plans, I haven’t exactly finalised certain things about yet, but I am considering working on a double EP as I already have some songs which are in the works. I have a good idea of what 2021 would look like for me, so you can expect a lot more music from me next year.
Feel free to check out KHAi on Spotify here.