AFTER 15 years in the Malaysian entertainment scene, Aizat Amdan has carried out a reinvention of his artistic persona.
The singer has created an alter ego – under the moniker Ai.Z – to take things to the international stage.
“As an artiste, transforming my sound and reinventing my artistry doesn’t mean that I’m losing my identity,” he said.
“It means that I’m adding layers to it until eventually, I’ll find myself at the end of the process.”
Ai.Z’s debut English single The Last Thing had its global premiere on Zane Lowe’s Apple Music 1 show.
It marks the artiste’s first foray outside the Malay music landscape, following the success of his previous hits that included Hanya Kau Mampu and Susun Silang Kata, which have also won multiple music awards.
The Last Thing blends the sounds of modern R&B and pop with unfeigned lyrics co-written in collaboration with none other than Malaysian singer-songwriter Yuna.
It draws on Ai.Z’s personal experience of having to navigate through the fickleness of his former love relationship.
The 32-year-old explains: “I’ve always had the mentality of living the moment. When I’m done with a project, immediately I ask myself ‘What is next?’ Because I believe in learning something new every day, and that this world has so much knowledge and experience to absorb and digest.
“It motivates me to go on, explore the next thing and never look back.”
Why do you write?
Because I’m not very good at expressing my feelings, and songwriting allows me to tap into my thoughts and emotions. For example, I sometimes jot down random words or I just mumble the words while picking my guitar. The melody usually comes first.
But the best is getting both simultaneously, which is rare, at least in my case.
How has your music evolved over the years?
I realised that I’ve been growing alongside my music. I enjoy listening to things that offer a new feeling and perspective. So, I actually spend a lot of time listening to songs outside of my genre. It may come as a surprise but I really like some heavy metal stuff and sometimes, I incorporate its techniques in my writing.
What drove the decision to break into the English music scene under the moniker Ai.Z?
I was really into the idea of creating a persona like how David Bowie created Ziggy Stardust and Beyonce’s Sasha Fierce.
Yuna and I came up with the idea that since we already have the Malaysian pop rock singer Aizat Amdan, why don’t we create an R&B version of him. Believe it or not, R&B music has been evident in my songwriting, so at that moment, it made perfect sense.
How did the collaboration with Yuna come about?
It was during the period when the lockdown was lifted in 2020, and I had posted a picture on Instagram of me just moving into a new studio. She reached out to me and came over to visit with music producer Kuizz. We didn’t intend to write anything but we couldn’t help ourselves being in a space that screams ‘let’s make a song’, and the rest is history.
How do you think both of your talents complement each other?
Yuna is a down to earth, easygoing person, which made the whole process smooth and organic. The best bit was, she encouraged and saw something in me that I never knew I had. I guess when you’re on the same wavelength, it creates a non-judgmental environment in the studio.
Tell us more about the story behind The Last Thing.
The Last Thing was intended to be the last song that we wrote in a medley we had already made, hence the title. At the time, I was going through some relationship problems and I had a tough time expressing how I felt. Yuna kind of picked it up during the process and coached me through it, which was bizarre to me because we hardly ever met.
What was the most challenging part of the process?
Apart from feeling vulnerable in telling the world what you’re going through, I would say the performing bit was difficult. Yuna was very meticulous about it, especially when it came to my pronunciation. It was the most challenging recording I’ve ever done. It was like learning how to sing from scratch but the end product turned out great.
How are you dealing with the pandemic?
Having a sustainable and consistent routine helped me a lot during these times. I try to keep myself busy, eat healthily, exercise daily and occasionally updating myself on the news but not too much, because for me, it can be overwhelming reading about what’s going on in the world.
One thing I found very rewarding is to reach out to people and listen to their problems. You might just help yourself by helping others.