Bil Musa Interview

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Photo Credit: Aimanness

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
Bahamas.

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
it.

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
the video.

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
heartwarming.

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.

Royal Street Interview

Royal Street

We caught up with the members of Royal Street to discuss their newly released album “Flavors”, their love of music and touring, and their advice for people who are being cyberbullied.

How long have you been a band? What inspired you to become a group?

We have been a band for two years now. Alex and I (Viana) were in bands for a few years before, and Brian [Cauti] was always a friend of ours, our bands played together a lot in the Providence scene. One day we decided to reboot our music and start Royal Street, and we knew Cauti was the perfect man for the job.

Who are your musical influences?

We have all kinds of musical influences! They range from The 1975 and Prince to Paramore and Bad Suns.

You have a new album coming out. What was your favorite part of making the album?

Well, the whole process has been pretty fun and inspiring. The best part is definitely either writing the songs together or being in the studio and watching them come to life. Then the build up of waiting to show them to people is so exciting! That’s the stage we’re in now. It’s like waiting for Christmas morning.

What was your inspiration for the album?

Our inspiration comes from all around us. Things that happen to us, to friends, to the world. A lot of this album was inspired by our friends and also the experiences we’ve had together as a band!

You guys have played a lot of shows over the past couple of years. What’s your favorite part of touring? Do you have any pre-show rituals?

Oh man. Touring is such a hilarious experience. Living together like bums really makes you become a family.  Usually, before our show, we just love hanging out with anyone who came to see us, and the other bands. We usually eat something horrible, that while we’re eating it we say, “ Well, we probably shouldn’t have this before we jump around on stage… “ but it never stops us. Also, whiskey is usually involved.

Music means something different to everyone. What does it mean to you?

Music means something different every day to me. But usually, it’s something comforting. Something there for whatever emotion I find myself feeling in that moment. That’s what I love about music, it’s versatile. There for you in whatever state you’re in!

At Think Before You Type, 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?

I would love to see less putting other people down on the Internet. If you don’t have something nice to say, then just don’t say it! I think people need to worry more about themselves and less about having an opinion on what everyone else is doing.

Who are you role models?

First off, our parents. We all come from strong support systems, and it’s an amazing thing. Musically, we look up to anyone out there doing the darn thing. We know what we do isn’t easy, and to see someone pursuing something they love is magical.

If you had the chance to speak to someone who has been cyberbullied, what would you say to encourage them?

Man. I would tell them to keep their head up and remember that whoever is on the other end of that computer has their own issues that they’re too scared to deal with, so they push negativity towards others. Don’t be like them, rise above them. There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel, and the important thing is to be the bigger person.

Some edits were made for content and clarity.