Malaysia’s Latest Indie-Pop Boy, RUFUS On His Debut Track ‘Fine’ & Being Sweet-16

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Move aside everyone! RUFUS just dropped his dreamy debut track ‘Fine’ that was written by himself with the help of his long-time friend, Danial Ezra and was produced by Majestic Casual artist, Dameer Khan. At the age of sixteen, this upcoming singer-songwriter whose music hits a sweet spot with nostalgia and full of relatable specifics of youth over upbeat electronic tunes, and hip-hop swings paired with a melodic acoustic guitar – think LAUV or Alec Benjamin.

Although he is based in KL, this doesn’t stop him from building his name around the world. In the span of a year, RUFUS was able to interact and work with other artists, producers and executives from the States and Canada–like with labels such as AWAL (Kobalt Music) who also happens to work alongside artists such as Rex Orange County, and VERITE. 

With his tone-filled voice, he is set for bigger things as he grows alongside his music and career. JUICE got the opportunity to get to know him better over e-mail, so scroll down and see what RUFUS had to say.. But before that, check out RUFUS’s newest track ‘Fine’ down below:

You’re only sixteen and at such a young age, how did you decide that you wanted music to be more than just singing alone in your room? We want to know all the details…

I got into music when I was extremely little. My mom signed me up for carnatic vocal lessons when I was five, I hated it. After some time, it just came back to me out of nowhere! I started teaching myself how to sing again halfway through middle-school and I taught myself how to bedroom produce when I was twelve. I taught myself how to play the guitar after going for an Ed Sheeran concert almost two years ago.

The reason why I decided to go serious with music is because I LOVE everything about music. I live and breathe music. My friends get a little annoyed at me because I go on an on about geeky production terminology and song writing gizmos and what not. When I finished my GCSE’s, it made perfect sense for me to dabble into music professionally. I started an Instagram account where I’d post covers for people to watch, and the rest is history!

It’s amazing how you have worked with other up-and-coming indie pop artists like Dameer Khan from Majestic Casual and even major labels in the music industry. Can we know your secret on how you seek out these opportunities?

Honestly, social media. It’s a crazy powerful tool and I’ve been able to connect with so many musicians through it. Most people aim to be a quote-on-quote social media influencer, securing brand deals and doing their best to get as much exposure from one selfie. I personally used social media to get in touch with other musicians and producers I like, and from there a genuine conversation sparks, and a friendship is made.

Interacting and working with more notable music figures and getting exposed to record labels followed shortly – but for the most part, it all started because I essentially slid into the DM’s of musicians I really liked (whilst keeping it professional, obviously) and it worked pretty damn well!

Besides doing music, describe how your everyday life can be as a young Malaysian? 

Well, I’m currently in college doing IB, and if anyone knows anything about IB it’s stupid difficult. I’ll get a English analysis where I have to compare Star Wars and Justin Beiber to President Nixon – and I’ll just be like “that don’t make any sense”.

I love exploring the city and meeting new people! My friends tell me I’m adventurous and daring – I just want to explore all there is to life and not be cooped up in my room all the time. Life’s short, might as well make the most of it!

What was your head space like when you created your debut track, ‘Fine’? And how was your experience of getting it done from start to finish?

Get ready for the most badass story ever (not really, but it’s a pretty cool story, I think).

I had just gotten out of this really toxic fling with a girl, and I was having a tough time adjusting to college life. My mental health wasn’t fantastic either. I was on an LRT back home, messing with GarageBand, and I came up with the idea of the song just like that! I wrote a little bit of it, got on my laptop and drafted the idea on Logic. I called my friend Daniel Ezra later that night just to chat, and I played him the song. We wrote the rest of it over FaceTime.

I was very fortunate to work with extremely talented writers and engineers on the project, and the final product ended up being an absolute banger!

Can you list down five songs that’s on repeat in your playlist right now?

Quinn XCII – Holding Hands (feat. Elohim)
Ruel – Golden Years
Noah Taylor – Crestfallen
Wrabel – Ritual
Lostboycrow – Missing London

I actually have a playlist with all my favourite songs, do check it out whilst you’re at it!

What can we expect from you in 2019? Are there any upcoming projects that we should keep an eye out for?

I’m having fun with all of this, and I’m so grateful for all of the opportunities that have been presented to me. I’m going to be writing and putting out projects at my own pace this year, but do expect the next single to be released sometime in July! I’m also planning on hosting a music crash-course type thing to help out my community, so definitely look out for that!


Make sure to follow RUFUS on Facebook and Instagram!

To stream his songs, check out his Amazon Music, iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube and Soundcloud.

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