Rapper Zamaera may be making it big in the airwaves, but she still comes back to her roots.
A common visual that we conjure when we hear the word ‘rapper’ is that of a man, decked in chains and maybe even with grills on his teeth. Especially here in Malaysia, I’m not sure if people are familiar with rappers who just happen to be women, as there are so few of them. In fact, I can’t even name one—not until I heard about Zamaera.
My thoughts on her as a rapper?
She’s one badass kween! And I think it’s safe to say that she’s probably the most-talked-about Malaysian female rapper right now.
For those of you who have no idea who Zamaera is, check out her MV on Youtube (I’ve embedded my favourite down here) right away as she is one fierce rapper who uses rap to create awareness on feminism and break the stereotypes of the traditional rapper image.
Hailing from Subang Jaya, this 23-year-old rapper and singer-songwriter first started with storytelling before venturing into music.
“I started music when I was 9—but not professionally. It was just a hobby which kind of led me going to my first piano lesson. Then, I really wanted to learn guitar but my brother wouldn’t teach me, so I went on Youtube and I learned it myself.”
“From there, I started performing for school charity events. Then, we had a competition in our school called S.K. SSJ Idol. It was really funny (laughs). I won it with my two other friends—our group was called The Cheetah Girls. Then, from there it became more of a natural progression.”
Ever since she was small, Zamaera has always been doing poetry and writing short stories. She didn’t realise that poetry can also be in the form of rap—which stands for rhythm and poetry—but thanks to 2pac’s All Eyez On Me, she finally figured it out when she was 17.
“I was so intrigued by the way he was telling his stories because it was so detailed but he can do it in the form of music. Since I love storytelling and music, I thought why shouldn’t I incorporate both of them?”
Writing her own songs, Zamaera mentioned that she is mostly inspired by but not limited to Tupac Shakur, Lauryn Hill, and Azealia Banks.
“My parents also play an important role in showing us other kinds of music genres. I would say people like Robbie Williams is also one of my biggest inspirations. I love that album he put out—Swing When You’re Winning. It was very orchestral with a lot of live instruments.”
Set to perform at the upcoming Good Vibes Festival 2018 in Genting Highlands, Zamaera told us that she was indeed very excited for it—especially to watch the local acts.
“There’s nothing better than seeing your friends who you know have strived from the same position as you were in performing on a huge stage—the international platform that Good Vibes has provided. That’s the most exciting part for me this year.”
Being what people call “out of the norm”, Zamaera is the kind of lady who will not back down from facing the challenges. As a female rapper, she faces a lot of criticisms, especially when she portrays a “rebellious” character in most of her music videos. Nonetheless, her tenaciousness allows her to translate the negativity into fuel for strength.
When asked about how she feels to be in the hip-hop industry—which is male-dominant—she simply responded:
“As a female rapper, I feel quite advantageous because there are so many males in the industry and I’m blessed to be able to stand out and make people hear what I want to say. Sometimes, when people want to say something, they are not heard.”
“So, when I speak, I speak not just for myself but for the people.”
After Good Vibes, what’s next?
“I have a bunch of shows coming up August onwards. I’m going to announce something special but only after Good Vibes.”
In the midst of climbing up the success ladder and going international, this feisty rapper doesn’t forget where she came from. Growing up in Subang Jaya with banyak gaya, Zamaera always considers her root as an inspiration. No matter how far she flies, she will always come back home.
Don’t miss the chance to watch Zamaera perform live at Good Vibes Festival on 21 – 22 July 2018. Get your tickets here now! Also, catch up with Emir Hermono and Pastel Lite who are also performing in Gohtong Jaya this July.
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