alive

it’s been a long day with lots of long conversations today.

it’s been a long while since i’ve had long conversations with people. i spoke to hani about music today, and we both had a long session of ‘to pursue or not to pursue, that is the question‘ over Kapten’s tomyam steamboat.

both of us agreed to the fact that we’re really passionate about what we’re doing, but perhaps God had previously fated us to do other things so we could reach this particular level of realisation that, we do, love music, but perhaps our priority back then was to make our parents’ happy by finishing our studies and pursuing a degree in something else we’re good in.

both of us came from a musically inclined family. hani started singing at the age of four because her mother had taught her how to. her mother’s been singing in a band with her father (who plays almost all instruments really well) for MPPJ (back then) and that’s also how she’d picked up the guitar.

my dad used to play in a band with his siblings back when he was a little boy, just for entertainment purposes. my mother doesn’t legit do music, but she can sing and she was actually a really good traditional dancer back when she was pursuing a law degree in UM. she’s not tone deaf, she doesn’t have technical singing abilities but she can hit the right notes without going off key.

i was raised in a family who loves to karaoke back when we were all still little kids. my dad’s an extremely busy man, but when he’s free, he switches on the tv, pops in a karaoke CD (siti nurhaliza or p ramlee were frequent ones) and all five anak beranaks would take turns to sing. mother sent me for electone classes at the age of three and with the basics that i’d learned, i continued on until grade 6 and picked up other instruments like the piano and the violin. i may not be an ace in any of the other instruments i picked up along the way, but i suppose i managed to cover the basics (understanding tempo, writing scores, notes, what a crotchet and semibreve is and how cocktail, ragtime and classical piano sounds like etc).

however.

upon reaching teenhood, i fell off the music lane. school was overwhelming, and sticking to music classes seemed like a burden for me. i actually didn’t make it to grade 5 (the grade that qualifies you to teach) of my electone class because i had no motivation to finish writing down my arrangement of Ranma 1/2’s “Niji no Taiyou to Oka” even if it’d only take me a day or two to write everything down and make any final amendments.

the pressure of studying was too overwhelming. nothing else was more important than opening my book to answer the questions: ‘pilih kedudukan anak mata yang betul untuk membaca sukatan di permukaan bikar sewaktu menyukat cecair‘ and ‘berikan tarikh perjanjian hudaibiyah dan tuliskan isi-isi perjanjian tersebut dalam kotak yang telah disediakan‘.

it was only when hani and i met though, that things became all musical again. diverting part of my focus and attention to music though, put my grades down the drain. with this, my parents went through a ‘no music, especially with hanisah’ phase but that phase obviously ended the moment we completed our spm.

truth be told, if we didn’t enter singing competitions, if we didn’t perform in small concerts or events, if we didn’t meet horrible people who actually played a big role in pushing us all the way here, if we hadn’t headed over to thebee to sign up for open mics and mustered all our confidence to enter publika-live or rising-star, spent hours and hours practising- we wouldn’t have gotten this far. we’re not blessed with the rezeki to attend music school, not blessed with connections to people who are legit musicians by us entering music school. no. none of that.

singing and doing music might not be our forever, but i suppose that’s what passion means. we might not be legit music students who can transcribe songs and write super fast (hani can’t even write), we might not memorize chords- not even chords like Cmaj7(5) or Fmaj7(5) or any augmented major seventh chord for that fact, and those two are the only augmaj7th chords that i remember zz (we don’t even remember some basic ones), and we might not have attended any vocal classes, but..

in the four years of learning and being exposed to people who have been working their assess off for the sake of music, we understand, that- nothing, would go the right way without putting yourself at your lowest, while you learn. you can’t be up there if you don’t learn to fall. you won’t be able to sing greatly if you’ve never had sore throats, had moments where you can’t seem to sustain a note because you haven’t gotten the hang of breathing properly, or even managing your vibratos. heck i would probably need five to six years of constant practise/exposure, to sing as good as hani whereas hani would probably need a year more to understand which note sounds best when she’s harmonizing.

we wouldn’t have figured this all out if we hadn’t gone through moments that make us feel like we’re dumb, like we’re total nobodies, with absolutely no talent, no skill, no social-skills even. we wouldn’t have gotten to know any musicians, we wouldn’t have had the chance to write a song for dayang nurfaizah and black, and i wouldn’t have even met AG if i hadn’t driven back home from practise feeling useless and bawling my eyes out just because Biar‘s chorus was too high for my vocal range back then.

bottomline is. when you’ve got the passion, go for it. hani and i may or may not stay in this path of music for long. we may never know what Allah had planned for us. however, because of the prolonging passion we have for singing, harmonizing, composing and writing – even if we may not be the best of writers (and of course the best of writers and composers were once Not The Best either); we managed to gain if not a lot, at least some knowledge. we managed to meet new people and managed to share stages with other beautiful experienced acts, otais or new.

and we’re not planning to stop our learning process. the moment you’ve gotten a chance to go, for it, just. go for it. wing it.

forget what other people say about you and your passion. forget about the people whom you may have some sort of inferiority towards. let them be them, and let yourself do you.

because at the end of the day, you are alive for you.

 

not for tealive.

ha-ha.

ok bye.

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