Athalia is a new and rising artist from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and is recognised by many on TikTok, garnering over 30 million likes. The up-and-coming star just debuted her first single, “We Go Up” in collaboration with Universal Music Malaysia and Lion Music Group.
“We Go Up”, which serves as an artist introduction, is dedicated to young love thriving in the midst of a pandemic. The 19-year-old singer originally teased her debut single on TikTok in March, and it has now racked up over 260,000 views. Athalia’s retro-pop musical love song with a dash of nostalgia aims to portray the essence of taking chances and choosing love.
We recently spoke with the amazing artist about her debut song to her future ambitions and everything in between. Continue reading to learn all the specifics, including some never-before-heard details from Athalia herself:
1. “We Go Up” is your debut single. What is it about? How was the creative process in the making of the song with Bryan Bouro?
Love is situation with a friend, but at the same time, it’s like, I don’t know what that person wants, so that how it’s basically a complicated relationship. So the process for “We Go Up” was basically me wanting to tell a story without having to tell that exact person face to face. I’m like, okay, why not write a song? I was able to create lyrics and make it relatable for the people.
2. The song is a retro pop sonic. What inspired you to deliver the song in such a way?
I had this really complicated relationship with this guy and it was really hard for me to open up to that person. So I just felt it was better to bring it out in my music for the world to see. Yeah, it’s basically like an indirect communication with him.
3. Your music video has reached 82k views (as at time of writing) on YouTube. How do you feel about that?
It feel really great because I thought many do not really know that I sing, so why would they watch the music video? The result has been beyond my expectation because I didn’t had too big of an expectation other than I love the song.
Of course, the vibe is cool, but I had doubts because people know me as a content creator or a TikTok star so there’s no chance they would probably know that I’m have a new song. When it was released, people started tagging me and the views started increasing.
4. Who came up with the concept for the single’s official music video? What was your favourite part of the music video?
It was me and my team. A lot of us grew up with those cheeky, funky kind of music videos, and I wanted it to be reflected in the visuals – like the beach scene and when I was on the tabletop.
My favourite part was the one where I was in the pool, because that actually took a lot of effort. We worked till past midnight for the underwater scene. It turned out great and I really love that scene.
5. How did you get to sign with UMM? Tell us about the journey.
Honestly saying, 2 years ago they approached me when they found out that I could sing. It was after I did a cover with a good friend of mine, Alvin Chong, so creds to him as well. He’s such a helpful person, really. He’s like my brother. So he guided me throughout the process, ever since I signed with Universal. During that time, I was still studying for my SPM, so my mom (Sharifah Zarina) insisted that I focus on my exams before making any drastic decisions.
[Side note: Alvin is also signed under Universal Music Malaysia.]
Right after SPM, I took a while before deciding that I really want to put my music out there and also myself as a person. I have always loved music, probably because of my family and my mom’s influence. So instead of just like chilling at home, writing my own songs, and playing it to myself, I wanted to take it to the next level. With UMM, they’ve been a really great support system to me in whatever I do.
6. You worked with Diana Danielle, Shalma Eliana, Blue’s Simon Webbe, and Asyraf Nasir on the single “We Live to Give”. How was that experience? Did you learn anything about the music industry from them?
For the song “We Live to Give”, it was recorded separately during the pandemic. So when it happened, we didn’t really got to meet each other. But here’s a fun fact, I had just signed into Universal when I was suddenly offered to be in a song with Simon Webbe, Diana Daniella, Aysraf and also Shalma.
Since the pandemic situation got better, I’ve been able to meet them at some of the local events, and we’ve had some bonding moments for sure.
7. Do you plan to release a full album or an EP anytime soon?
Hopefully if there’s a chance in the near future. But for now, I am focusing on my single first. Hopefully if there’s more opportunities, then there would be (an album).
8. You and your mother, Sharifah Zarina participated in “Famili Duo” last year. How was your experience being on the same stage as her?
It was quite a challenge, honestly speaking, because my mom and I have completely different vocal range. She has a really high range and as for me, I can go as deep, but I can’t really go as high as she can. But it felt like a good experience just having a mother-daughter bond in front of TV.
9. Do you plan to further your studies, or do you wish to continue your singing career? Are you also interested in pursuing an acting career?
I am actually currently studying and working at the same time. So yeah, definitely pursuing my studies because I feel like education should always come first. I’m also focusing on my music, but if there’s any acting offers or jobs, I would want to widen my experience.
10. How do you feel about transitioning from a TikTok star to an official singer at such a young age?
It feels a little bit weird because people would still recognise me as a TikTok star and not really as a singer yet. On the other hand, those who have followed my footsteps since I was, like, 14 or 13, would know that I do sing because I always do covers. I would always post it on Instagram and also YouTube.
Over the past three years, I’ve been really active on TikTok in terms of content creating. But now that I’m making my mark in music industry with Universal Music Malaysia, I really hope that the transition actually brings about a good change.
11. Which famous pop star are you hoping to collab with?
I’m actually a huge fan of Sabrina Carpenter. Huge huge fan of Sabrina Carpenter. I’ve looked up to her ever since I was 11. Her music style, fashion and vibe are just so cool!
12. What can your fans expect from you as a rising artist?
The fans can expect more songs in the near future. Hopefully, “We Go Up” is the first of many more songs to come.
“We Go Up” is now available on all streaming platforms.
Daniela Dogliani contributed to this article.