Call me Kayda

24 Feb 2015 / 02:26 H.

GROWING up, Wan Nur Khaleda had the privilege of tailing her musician parents around the world for their shows. Being the daughter to prominent composer-producer Roslan Aziz and Malaysia's queen of jazz Datuk Sheila Majid, young Khaleda would've also snapped 10 times the number of selfies with celebrities than we would in a lifetime, if smartphones were a 90s kid's accessory. She's met singers and musicians of all kinds yet it was hip hop which sparked her yearning to be a rapper.
"Somehow hip hop stood out for me. When I was little, it fascinated me to watch hip hop groups dance around and talk rhythmically. I was excited when Too Phat and Poetic Ammo came out because we only knew people like The Notorious B.I.G or Tupac on MTV back then but we never thought people could do it in Malaysia as well," recalled the pint-sized lass.
Seeing there were only a handful of local female rappers such as Mizz Nina and Noreen from Muchachaz, a 13-year-old Khaleda tried her hand (or rather, mouth) at rapping by practising on her own and occasionally performed at parties and school concerts. Today the psychology undergraduate, who performs under the moniker Kayda, has two solo singles (Down With Me and Run This Mother) and is about to release her second music video with Hunny Madu, Gucci Dowh coming March.
"In the mean time, I'm recording my solo singles. I hope to have an album but I'm taking my time to write and record song per song, and working with other local rappers and musicians," she noted. One of her most remarkable collaborations was with six other Malaysian female rappers and artistes for the multilingual hip hop track #AV.
First off, what does #AV actually stand for?
It actually means nothing. Our producer Tactmatic has the habit of typing random stuff whenever he saves a file so AV got stuck when he was saving our song.
Could you share the concept behind the song?
Women empowerment. Hip hop is a male-dominated industry so we want to send the message that women can rap. One of my lines goes, "siapa kata gadis rap tak boleh jadi bini?" (Who says female rappers can't be wives?) Hunny Madu survived, Shikara's a wife, and in fact most of the #AV girls aren't single. They're really good girls but people often associate hip hoppers with violence and aggression. It's not that at all, it's pursuing what you love.
What kind of obstacles have you encountered so far?
I got rejected so many times especially when I MC in clubs; receiving lukewarm response because an (hip hop) MC isn't "supposed" to be female and being told that I was mediocre. The public doesn't see those things. They think I have it easy because I know some of the hip hop people and my parents are in the music industry.
And how do you feel about being compared to your parents?
It's definitely pressuring. No doubt my parents are one of the best musicians in Malaysia and it is expected of me to be good as them if I were to go full swing in music. The thing is I can never be the next Sheila Majid or Roslan Aziz. I've only started rapping 10 years ago so give me some time. I need to improve a lot in my rapping and singing.
Do you have an alter ego the way your idol Beyoncé has Sasha Fierce?
I do actually. I'm very chilled and I dress feminine. People who don't know that I'm a rapper would have no idea that I'm into hip hop. But when I go up on stage, I get to release stress, express myself and be this person that I'm not in reality. With my friends I'm Khaleda but when I'm on stage I'm Kayda.
Does your style morph along when you're performing, then?
On stage, I like to imagine that I'm a diva. I always tell myself that I want to get out of my comfort zone. I want to be someone else yet something I'm comfortable in.

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