Hmm, ‘Orang Malaya’ – what is that, a statement of some sort?
Ah, yes, that would be Arief Othman, who simply wants to be recognised as an artiste who appreciates – and loves – his country, with all her cultures, ethnicities, religions and music.
I know nothing of him. He isn’t even on Facebook; does he have a website?
That’s because the 19-year-old enjoys being off the grid; there’s less pressure. The standard procedure goes: Orang Malaya records a song, Orang Malaya posts it up without proper mastering, Orang Malaya lets his art speak for itself.
Right, and what exactly does his art speak of?
His sound is smoky, sonic progression; it’s the sort of alternative, indie R&B with soul and style, drifting along on strong melodic tethers and springy samples. Think Frank Ocean, Miguel as well as The Weeknd, but add actual anonymity, combined with a slouchy clout. We first heard of him seven months ago, when he posted ‘I Can’t Be Home Tonight’ onto SoundCloud – a despondent track set to catchy beats, bemoaning life, love and loneliness.
Yes, it’s all very raw and rough. He’s having a good run so far, though: hooking up with the Hoax Vision family (Dái-Kan, Darren Ashley as well as VMPRMYTH and co); playing gigs; and making music, whether his own or with Azrul Zainal – listen to ‘Slow’.
Alright, I’m sold. What else is in store?
He’s gearing up for the drop of his debut EP ‘Malayan Blvd’, so keep an ear out for that.