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Bihzhu

Bihzhu

Meet singer-songwriter from Malaysia, Bihzhu.

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a singer-songwriter who grew up on the beautiful island of Penang in Malaysia that is the food capital of the country, and which has a very rich tradition of music, arts, and culture. I make what I call “heart music” – songs that cross genres but come from the heart. I strongly believe that we’re all here to be instruments of love in whatever way we can, whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, a politician, a chef etc, and I am fortunate that I am able to be that instrument via music.

 

Describe the city you’re living in and what it’s like to live there.
Kuala Lumpur (or Malaysia as a whole) is a city of contradictions, and there’s this constant tension, this push and pull of tradition and modernity, of growth and stability. We can be the friendliest and most compassionate people in the world, but there’s also an ugly side of humanity that rears its head occasionally. I always like to say that despite all the issues we face –  I see so many talented creatives thrive in spite of all the obstacles, and that is really heartening. But I guess it’s about finding your tribe, and creating those little pockets of love and community that make living here so inspiring and challenging all at the same time.

 

I guess it’s about finding your tribe, and creating those little pockets of love and community that make living here so inspiring and challenging all at the same time.

What is the best and worst thing about living in your city?
The best thing is how connected everyone and everything is, I find that no matter your jam, or what you’re into, you will find it here.
The worst thing is the lack of green spaces. Kuala Lumpur is dying for more public parks.

 

Give us 3 words that describe what it’s like to be a creative in your city.
Never-ending possibilities.
How did you start your career in art?
It all started with a poem on unrequited love. I asked a friend to put some music to it. We started singing it randomly around campus and the response was so positive my friend asked if I wanted to form a band with her. I said yes, and we started a pop-jazz duo called Rhapsody. Back then the scene was tiny and everyone knew everyone. We had some really good times.
After we disbanded I was roped into another friend’s reggae outfit called Layan Sound System, my 2 years with them were the most liberating experiences creatively, and I started understanding the importance of keeping the heart center open when performing, and always surrounding myself with people who had good vibes. That really colored my intentions and ambitions when I finally decided to be a solo artiste in 2011.

 

It all started with a poem on unrequited love.

Were the people around you supportive of your decision on working as a creative?

Always. I have been so fortunate to be surrounded by people who had my back 100%, from my family to my friends, to even my bosses when I had a career as a writer, when I took the leap in 2010 to quit my job and be a full-time musician, I’ve had nothing but support.

 

What are some goals and ambitions you have for your future work?

I’d like to travel more for performances, have more clarity in my messaging as an artiste, and find more ways to connect with people because music is all about connection, right?

 

I’d like to travel more for performances, have more clarity in my messaging as an artiste, and find more ways to connect with people because music is all about connection, right?

If you could collaborate with any person in the world who would it be?
Must I pick only one? Haha

 

How would you describe the women around you?
Empowered, independent, nurturing and unapologetically themselves.
Were there any local female creatives that you looked up to when you were growing up?
There wasn’t a specific female creative that I looked up to, because honestly, this wasn’t a career path that I thought I would be on, so I wasn’t looking out for anyone to emulate. But now, I really admire Jo Kukathas, a local thespian/ writer/ director. She is constantly creating and paving the way for everyone who comes after her, and I’d like to be able to do that too someday.

 

Are there any challenging aspects of being a female in your industry?
Again, maybe I’ve been very fortunate to be surrounded by positive individuals because I’ve never really experienced gender-specific challenges in my career. Or maybe I’ve been incredibly obtuse, but I’m glad to be focusing on the things that build, rather than the things that tear you down.

 

Embrace your power, and let your voice shine.

Do you have any advice to young women who are aspiring to work in your field?
Embrace your power, and let your voice shine. There’s only one you in the world, and the world is ready to hear what you have to say. Stay hungry, stay humble, and be patient.

 

 

Photos courtesy of Bihzhu.

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