After a two-year hiatus, Malaysian rapper-songwriter, Sharifah Zamaera Al Edros Syed Zafilen, better known as Zamaera returns with her first album, the Heart Break To Heal Mixtape.
The album, which contains 11 tracks in total, features 6 songs in English, 4 in Malay, and 1 ‘Interlude’ - comes in the form of a USB stick that resembles a classic cassette tape.
"Praise to God, since becoming an independent artist, I feel free without feeling tied-down,” the singer said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has really opened up my eyes and changed my perspective on what I really wanted in my career and personal life.”
“Heart Break To Heal Mixtape centers around my journey of love, loss, healing and re-discovery,” Zamaera said.
One of the tracks, ‘Jaga Diri’ tells the story of Zamaera’s own love affair, according to her, “I finally learned to let go of what was over, I had already gone through the suffering and grieving period, and it was when I had no more sense of anger towards my ex and truly just wish him well, and what matters now is to ‘Jaga Diri’ by caring for someone whom you once loved from afar”.
“I wrote 'Glow' because of my internal realisation and desire for change, it’s that moment in life where I felt like I’ve been in a cocoon as a caterpillar and was just starting to catch the first rays of the sun as I break out into the world as a butterfly, flying free. The song actually revolves around matters pertaining to family and career, and how I bounced back from those problems,” she added.
The Mixtape which took about eight months to produce and perfect, was crafted in accordance to Zamaera’s true style.
“It all started back in April, I allocated around 5 months to write all the songs. The recording process took place for a month at Mass Music Studios in Kelana Jaya with the most groundbreaking producer ever in Malaysia, Ming-A-Ling aka Ming. Meanwhile, the mixing and mastering was done for another month, including the marketing plan. So all in all, it took about 8 months from writing to the date of release”.
“It’s amazing to be able to work as freely as possible because everything that is created is my own,” Zamaera continued. “Ming and I have this great musical chemistry with each other but it’s his work ethics in the studio that’s just top quality and in-line with mine, and for the actual recording, he played such an integral role in how I sounded because he’s classically trained on the piano and that helped a lot.”
In today's digital world, various materials could be accessed, attained and obtained online, Zamaera used this opportunity to her advantage explaining: "Heart Break To Heal Mixtape is truly a unique project for me because for the first time, all the beats were obtained through this online marketplace specifically for purchasing beats, which are produced by renowned music-makers from all around the world called ‘Beatstars’.”
“But seeing that we were in the middle of a pandemic, the best way for me at that time was to search for stuff online. 9 out of the 11 songs from the Mixtape was produced by LouXtwo, which I later found out that he has produced for the likes of Chris Brown, Bad Bunny, Tory Lanez, Russ & Wale, just to name a few.
Everything about the Heart Break To Heal Mixtape has a story, even the word ‘heartbreak’ was spaced-out as ‘heart break’ because not only did Zamaera’s heart need to heal, her heart had to take a break to heal as well.
“All of the songs written are in chronological order according to my life except for ‘Distance’ and ‘Syukur’ which I repositioned to tell the story of how I began my year with a lot of hurt, loss and suffering which then slowly morphed into healing through reflection, acceptance and self re-discovery.
“In the first song ‘Interlude’, you can hear me crying in the beginning which then leads into me calming myself down through deep breathing, and eventually talking to convince myself that everything will be alright, and it ends with me laughing about how silly I felt,” she said.
As a female rapper in Malaysia, Zamaera had her fair share of what it is like to be in the limelight, “I feel like women in the hip-hop scene in Malaysia have this unspoken barrier between one another because every one of us is trying to be the ‘Best Female Rapper’ in Malaysia, but of course I could be wrong and this might all be too presumptive.
“But now, being more mature and experienced, I don’t have that sense of competitiveness anymore because every woman that I meet instantly becomes a sister, a teacher or a confidant because it’s the realisation that all women have gone through the process of heartbreak and healing, or are currently going through it.
“I look forward to collaborating with more local female rappers in the future like Sophia Liana, Yunohoo, Kayda and Bunga, and I'm just excited to see the greatness that can be sparked from it!
The determination exhibited by Zamaera is truly unparalleled, because everything that happened in the Mixtape is the result of her own hard work.
"To be a good artist, discipline is truly important, hands down. But if you want to be a ‘great’ artist, you have to be really disciplined because it’s more than just making music and performing on stage.
“You need to stick to a routine, working out to increase your endurance, attending vocal lessons, eating clean, and getting enough rest. And on top of that, being able to deal with the business aspects of it as well,” Zamaera explained.
Zamaera is not afraid to be labeled as a ‘feminist’ because she believes in gender equality and is not afraid to stand up for women’s rights, “As an avid reader, throughout my journey of Heart Break To Heal, I was introduced to a stoic philosophy by this incredible author, Elizabeth Nyamayaro, in which she quoted ‘I am because we are, and because we are, you are’. These amulet words became a catalyst for me to wake up and heal from old wounds through the music I produced.
“I hope everyone will enjoy listening to Heart Break To Heal and may it have a special place in their hearts, and to everyone who is going through their own personal journeys in life.