What It Takes To Be A Malaysian Indian Artist and How We Have Screwed The Identity

by Navinn Rajendran

If I’m going to throw a stone towards an Indian crowd, it will definitely hit an “artist”. *facepalm. This is what we have became and this is what we have created. No one is to be blamed. Everyone have their importance. But we are willing to talk behind about it rather than address the issue. I never take sides. Because every issue has got 2 stands to its relevance and as I always say, everyone are right in their own position. I will address this issue in 3 stages. How we were, how we are, and how are we supposed to be. It is just a hope that how we are supposed to be becomes our goal for the future.

How We Were?

The biggest issue for us has always been Kollywood. The impact they made was sufficient for our grandparents as they just followed up whatever they were enjoying back in India. They never really needed an Estate Boy Band to entertain them at the Kalle Toppu while enjoying their Oru Maruthe Kalle and Udumbe Perattal. Anyone with talent had to go down to Madras to expend themselves such as Malaysia Vasudevan Uncle. But as societies started coming out of estates and moving in to towns, we started having bands that would perform in pubs and family functions. But nevertheless, they would only sing movie songs. None really would compose themselves. Even if they did, it wouldn’t have been as good a movie song. But one band that had a strong Indian presence were Alleycats. They sang Malay songs mostly but we were still proud of their success. I still remember my dad narrating an incident in Kelantan when my dad was writing songs of his choices to be recorded in a cassette when a Malay man walked in and requested to purchase Alleycats latest album. When the shop owner asked if he wanted to listen to the songs before purchasing, his reply was power giler, “Takpayah, lagu Alleycats memang bagus macam mana pun.” Slowly we progressed, and Rock came into the picture and hence we know how we all wanted to be Rockers back then. We would safe our school pocket money just to get the cassette album and rock the house till our parents rock us. Slowly rock started fading and Hip Hop took over. Poetic Ammo paved the path.  Kalai Oru Por by Chakra Sonic was indeed a big push to the movement but the biggest flip over was by  again by Yogi B & Natchatra through Vallavan. The album shook the world. And please do not forget, the buying power was still very very strong and they made their fortune with it. Many groups came in after that. Psycho Unit brought a change from the  conventional Tamil Rap to Malaysian Tamil Rap. And hence after a few years, every house suddenly started producing rappers like nobody’s business.

How We Are?

Now that there are so many so called artistes whom actually lives in their own world, I can’t blame them. Somebody somewhere has actually made them believe they are artiste. And every time I meet someone tat refers themselves as an artiste and I have to excuse myself to find a washroom to puke. I don’t goddamn know who the heck he or she is. And I have taken the liberty to ask myself what caused such a saturated environment and what went wrong where. Firstly, there was no proper system in place. The ecosystem is still not complete till date. Instead of working towards revenues, they rather work towards girls. I’m not against affairs, but those are just perks. GENITALS ARE NOT REVENUES. Many forget that art is an extension of an individual. A performer has a platform for himself where if he uses it positively it brings change. In Thamizh, Padaippu which its root word Padai is usually referred to two common notations. Raanuvam Padai and Kalai Padai. Art has got the same energy and projection equal to an army. And what we have turned it into in Malaysia is sad. An individual that has release 1 song is an artiste, and another that has released 1 album is also an artiste. There is no difference. But the investment and effort put in is totally different. And looking at the situation, many mainstream true artistes are just ignoring the situation and blaming the whole country for it. You did not place the system them and now all are jumping around saying what is right and wrong. The quality of track is another issue. I really feel sometimes that the producers turn deaf during recording as long the individuals pay their hourly fee. Radio stations don’t filter as well as they are supposed to. There is no compulsion unless politically motivated. You can always play old good Malaysian songs if the new ones are not on par. No one is going to eat your brains. Apart from that we have a new category of artistes. WHATSAPP VOICE MESSAGE ARTISTE. Nonnengela, yenda yenge uyire vangeringe. It’s not wrong to do whatever you want as you have just turned into a lawyer defending your rights under the constitution of free will upon reading above. But, there is respect at stake for art and its true practitioners.

How We Can Be and The Future.

We could bring up a rule that a Hip Hop individual or group should have a minimum of an Underground Mixtape. And they can progress to mainstream tracks and beyond. Singers or any other genre, could work on a compilation or any sort of project. There has to be something we can compare to. Previously he did that, hmmmm he was raw. Now he is dope. We see progression and he/she has earned respect from the masses. When you earn the trust and respect of the people, when they are willing to spend their Ringgit on you, you are an Artiste. Put friends and family aside. They wouldn’t want to make you feel bad or hurt you so the tendency for them to lie is high. Trootz never lie. I don’t. I’m not saying you will never be an artiste. You might be even the best in whatever you do but you are just not pushing your limits. Not putting enough effort to think and work. Lazy to the core. No way. I will not sin by putting you on the same stage with someone whom has sacrificed his or her life for music, daily gambling with their livelihood hoping for an international breakthrough. The gamble is different brothers and sisters. If you have only released one track or 1 track yearly or once every two years, you are just an upcoming individual. Not an Artiste. Jangan syok sendiri.

*sipping Mont Clair Wine while layaning Hola Amigo feat. Balan Kashmir

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