Zamaera? Where have I heard her name before?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, Zamaera is the latest rap sensation to come out of the city. Her debut single, ‘Helly Kelly’, blew up online and has amassed a whopping 70,000 views on YouTube since coming out in March. And recently, she just released her latest single, ‘Wanita’.
I feel like I’ve heard her name somewhere else too.
You’re probably remembering an NTV7 advertisement for one of their story-telling competitions a while ago (she was just a kid then). But more Zamaera than likely her name rings a bell because she has been featured in other artists’ songs. For example, she lent her sultry vocals on SonaOne’s song ‘I Don’t Want To Die Alone’ and Joe Flizzow’s ‘Aku Tak Kenal Mu’.
So she’s with Kartel records?
Not exactly. She first got on board with Kartel when she was 17 (she’s 22 now) and recorded some songs with them. But according to Zamaera, when she was with them she wasn’t a 100 percent focused on music yet, what with studies and an exchange programme in Germany taking up much of her time. Right now, she’s an independent artist who’s fully focused and ready to take the music industry by storm.
So her song, ‘Helly Kelly’. Tell me more about it.
‘Helly Kelly’ is Zamaera’s grand entrance into the rap scene. After dabbling in R&B, Zamaera defied expectations by dropping a solid, hard-hitting rap song. But it’s more than just a rap number; ‘Helly Kelly’ reads more like a mission statement with Zamaera asserting her dominance over everyone else. With lines like ‘When I walk down the street, traffic / When I murder with the flow, it’s graphic’ and ‘Me a slice you up, salami / So bila berjumpa jangan lupa to salam me’, her braggadocious attitude coupled with witty wordplay makes ‘Helly Kelly’, hella quotable.
I can hear some grime influences on the track.
Bingo. ‘I was listening to a lot of Skepta and Wiley at the time,’ says Zamaera. Skepta and Wiley are two of the biggest names in grime music by the way. Also, following the release of ‘Helly Kelly’, people have even compared her to grime queen Lady Leshurr.
What’s her latest single about?
Zamaera’s ‘Wanita’ is an anthem of the modern Malaysian woman. The song sees Zamaera take a more mellow flow compared to ‘Helly Kelly’ as she raps about the independence and strength of the 21st century woman. A more surprising element is that it’s sung in Malay, something we don’t hear often from her. ‘It wasn’t really a conscious thing to sing in Malay,’ Zamaera says. ‘It was just at that point of time I was surrounded by so many people who were conversing in Malay that it kind of opened a part of my brain that I don’t usually look into. I decided to take advantage of that because otherwise I knew it would be gone in an instant.’
Now that I think about it, there aren’t many female rappers in the scene.
That’s not wrong, and Zamaera intends to pave the way to change that. ‘Girls are waiting for someone to take that first step so that others can follow through and do something on their own,’ says Zamaera. It’s also important for her that women constantly push boundaries and be out of their comfort zone. ‘I think it’s necessary to not be afraid to be vulnerable and it’s okay to show people your flaws because you never know that someone out there could be feeling the same way,’ proclaims Zamaera.
Watch Zamaera's latest music video for her single 'Wanita'