We recently spoke with Malaysian singer-songwriter Bil Musa about how her music has impacted people, advice she has for people being cyberbullied, and her goals for 2018.
Think Before You Type: How would you describe your music style?
Bil Musa: It’s very chill. The melodies are very simple but behind it’s easy listening façade, the songs are quite deep because I usually only write when I’m emotional.
TBYT: Who are your musical influences?
Bil: In terms of lyrics, I like straightforward, story-telling type songs and relatable
songs. So people like Sam Smith and Adele would be my influences for that. In
terms of song style, I like chill but meaningful types of songs, so I always look to
people like Lana Del Rey and Jhene Aiko. There are, however, times that I try to
be more abstract with my lyrics, and for this I look to people like Hozier or
TBYT: If you had the chance to speak to someone who has been cyberbullied, what
would you say to encourage them?
Bil: I would say the same thing that I would say to someone who is bullied physically
– that the people who bully you have got some deep-rooted problems they can’t
deal with so they take it out on you. You should never take what they say
seriously and what they say to or about you, doesn’t define you.. it just reflects on
their character. Also, REPORT AND BLOCK are words to live by.
TBYT: How has your time in the music industry been for you? Has anything surprised you?
Bil: It’s been a rollercoaster ride but really, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
and I’ve learned so much and met so many interesting people. I think the only
thing that really surprised me is how a lot of things are manufactured and
planted. I knew these things happened but I guess I just didn’t know the extent of
TBYT: You recently released your album “Young Adults”. What has the response been like so far?
Bil: The response has been great so far. Like really, really great. For me, what’s
important is how the individuals listening to it feel about the songs and how they
affect them. I would love for my songs to be played more on radio or get more
media coverage but only because for me, personally, when I listen to a song and I
can really vibe to it, I don’t think, “Oh, I found this song”. Instead, I think to
myself, “this song found me”. Radio and media coverage are just catalysts for
these songs to find their ‘owners’ but even without much of that, so many people
have given me such touching feedback – some practically essays, reviewing the album. I get essays almost every day. It’s really nice that people take the time to
write them. I really appreciate it.
TBYT: As someone who started their career young, what would you say to other young people who want to get out there and leave their mark on the world?
Bil: I want to say don’t listen to what other people say and don’t let people tell you
what to do but sometimes, you should, if they have experience – that’s something
valuable that young people don’t have much of. That being said, you’re young and
you have your own destiny to fulfill. People will tell you different things and give
you differing opinions but don’t get confused. You take certain actions and make
decisions based on a goal YOU want to reach. No one else will understand that
goal but YOU. So, just stand your ground, have a little faith, be honest and work
hard. Also, have REALLY thick skin – but that’s something you’ll develop in time.
TBYT: We’re really passionate about encouraging other young people to use the internet for good. What’s one positive way that you would like to see the internet change?
Bil: I think one of the really big misconceptions that arose from the existence of the
internet and social media is that everyone else’s business is yours OR maybe
people always thought that and the internet and social media justified that
thought. I’d like to stop seeing hate on the internet. There’s a very simple solution
to not liking what you see or hear on the internet, switch it off, unfollow, block,
report. Nobody forced you to watch it. In your own free will, you saw it. In your
own free will, you can turn it off. I’d also like to see people stop spreading useless
videos or videos that violate human rights. I just don’t see the point of spreading
those types of videos unless you have a solution to stop whatever is going on in
TBYT: People often forget it, but a little bit of kindness can go a long way. When was the last time that a stranger made you smile?
Bil: Like I said, every day, a complete stranger messages me about my songs. Nothing
about my appearance or anything. Just purely about how my song made them
feel. I just got a message, in fact, on my Instagram about how this person didn’t
know who I was but they were so lucky to have found my songs. It’s very
TBYT: What song have you written that you are the proudest of?
Bil: At this point, I think “4AM”. It’s the only song I wrote through a totally different
process. First of all, it’s the first song that I wrote lyrics first and then I visualized
everything from how it would sound, to the harmonies. It’s also one of the only
songs that has a different structure from most of my other songs and the lyrics
are not so straightforward. I also know when a song is going to be great, haha, because in the middle of writing, every two seconds it’s hard for me to go on
because it’s so good it hurts and I know it’s going to be a good song and I just
have to bang the keys or throw my guitar (on the bed) and pace the floor saying
“omg” a billion times and then calm myself down and try to continue writing. I
did that with this song. It’s an incredible feeling when it comes.
TBYT: What do you think 2018 has in store for you?
Bil: At this point, I don’t have expectations anymore. I learned that it’s important to
have a defined set of goals so you can figure out what you need to do to reach
them, that’s the hard part. My biggest goal right now is to cross borders with my
music. It’s not easy but I think this is the year I’m going to do it.