Music heals the soul

Ismail Izzani shares how he deals with fame and how he is making a change by being part of Unicef Malaysia

17 Jun 2020 / 11:18 H.

ISMAIL IZZANI is spending time at home and trying to be as productive as possible during the quarantine period. Accompanied by his cats, the 20-year-old singer is also creating music in his home studio. Ismail spoke to theSun about his upcoming project.

“I was supposed to release my first album in September. There will be 10 new songs on the album. However, due to the [current situation] ... we might have to change plans. I am definitely sad, because it was planned since last year.”

Ismail’s singing career was inspired by the Canadian pop sensation Justin Bieber, who started his career very young.

“At that time, I was 11 years old. When I saw his YouTube videos, I was really inspired because I came to realise that young talents could actually be real artistes in the industry.

“When I gave singing a try, I found that I enjoyed [it]. Then when I was 14, I gave up the thought of singing, because I didn’t think that I could [do it]. However, I gave singing another try. Honestly, I found that singing helps to clear out my emotions.”

Ismail also utilised Instagram, by sharing short videos of him performing, which got him noticed by a record label.

“At that time Instagram was quite new, where we could only post a 15-second video. So, I posted some song covers on my profile, using my hashtags. It was quite difficult at first for me, because I was not very familiar with Instagram, and I would accidentally like my own post without me realising that.

Ismail is a proud Unicef Malaysia Youth Advocate. – Ismail Izzani Instagram
Ismail is a proud Unicef Malaysia Youth Advocate. – Ismail Izzani Instagram

“Then schools would reach out to me, asking me to perform, and I took the opportunity to do so. Eventually, record labels noticed me and approached me. I signed a contract at the age of 16.”

Ismail debuted with Sabar, which as of today has a whopping 25 million views on YouTube.

“My first hit single was [released] in 2016. Then, many more songs came after that. As for my favourite release, it would be all of them! I love my songs, but I still have not gotten the chance to release R&B songs which I have always liked. I am a huge fan of Usher and Chris Brown! In the meantime, I am just focusing on pop songs. I’ll try to change my music style if I get to do so.

“My label and I work together to create songs. It is fun and I learn more and more each time I go into the studio, where everyone is just so open-minded. They accept my ideas, even though I am the youngest. For them to trust and believe in me, it is a huge thing for me,” Ismail gushes.

With 1.7 million followers on Instagram, Ismail is used to encountering negativity from trolls online, but he admits it doesn’t get easier with time.

Ismail attending a Unicef Malaysia event. – Ismail Izzani Instagram
Ismail attending a Unicef Malaysia event. – Ismail Izzani Instagram

“Throughout the four years of my career, I’ve learned a lot. Everything changed, I changed, and the people around me changed. I had a rough time in 2017 and 2019, where a lot of people sent me negative comments on social media. Not to say that I did not receive those comments during other years, there were just certain things that happened to me during those two years which evoked more negativity.

“When I was younger, I thought that putting yourself out there as a singer, people would instantly love you. So, when I became a singer at such a young age, I came to realise that it is really not an easy job, because at times, I can be quite depressed from reading all those negative comments from people.”

Ismail is aware of how cyberbullying, or any form of bullying, can negatively affect a person, and he is grateful that he is part of Unicef Malaysia, where he is able to use his platform to address these issues.

“I am a Unicef Malaysia Youth advocate. I find it funny how some people can’t accept that fact. Whenever I step into meetings with the Unicef team, they always teach me something new. I am honoured to be part of the team and see the world from a different perspective. I am mindful that people don’t always have it easy, you know?

“I feel better by spreading positivity to others with the Unicef Malaysia team. We went to so many schools, and I had the chance to talk to students. Teenagers are at an age [where they may be] involved in bullying or they are being bullied. During each visit, we try our best to help them feel a little better and it makes me happy.

“Teenagers may encounter problems with either their family or friends, and they are not able to handle these situations well, which eventually leads to depression, and that is something which I don’t want to happen to anyone, including myself.”

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