DATUK SHEILA MAJID & KAYDA
It’s not easy to gain a foothold in the music business, but apparently it’s even harder to get the green light from the patriarch of the Abdul Majid family—even when that figurative foothold is within one’s reach. Datuk Sheila Majid herself had to wheedle her father, an academic man with a coveted diploma from England’s University of Oxford who expected nothing less from his offspring, into letting her pursue a career in music. Decades later, she was faced with the same conundrum as her own young Kayda decided to follow in her footsteps.
Did the experience with your father give you empathy for Kayda’s career choice?
S: Being a parent, I still wanted her to finish her education and she did. She has a degree in psychology, she has finished her Quran recital and completed her piano studies right up to grade six. So how could I say no to her? Sometimes you just need to let your children pursue their passion because that’s when they are going to excel.
What was the first piece of advice you gave her at the beginning of her career?
S: That you have to have a good attitude because no matter how talented you are, if you have a bad attitude, it’s not going to take you anywhere. You have to have a little bit of empathy for people, especially those who work around you.
What about you, Kayda? What have you learned from your mother about the music industry? Not only the creative side of it but also the business side.
K: I’ve learned a lot from her through music production. She’s very particular about sound when it comes to recording and performing. My parents aren’t very business-minded but I will say that the best advice they have given me was to live within my means. They have had some missteps, mismanaging their financials back in the day, so they don’t want me to make the same mistakes.
Where did your interest in hip hop come from?
K: Growing up, I was exposed to all kinds of music—from pop to jazz and even dangdut! But then I saw KRU and Nico on television and I remember seeing them jumping around to their music, in their baggy pants, performing how hip hop artistes would and that had me really excited.
I understand that you also write your own songs. How important is ownership to you?
K: It’s very important. Young artistes should know that they need to register their music with performing and songwriting bodies such as the Recording Performers Malaysia and claim their rights. Their songs might get played for a long time and they could garner an income through royalties which would be beneficial especially when they’re no longer in the business.
What’s your take on the music scene today especially on the rise of streaming platforms?
S: I love streaming platforms because you get to show your craft without having to go out of the house. But yes, physical albums are falling and I think they had fallen out of fashion a long time ago. But if you ask me, I still prefer to listen to a physical record because I find the sound on these digital platforms to be very thin. But then again, I’m old-school.
SOO SHEA PIN & TEH WENFEI
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