The Sun (Malaysia)

Singing with love, about love

> Beverly Matujal is set to take on the music scene with songs from the heart

- PEONY CHIN

WITH a love for music that was introduced and inspired by her father, Beverly Matujal has always been blessed with the sound of music in her life. But her journey in music hasn’t always been smooth sailing, thanks to naysayers in the early days. Thanks to the positivity of the friends she surrounded herself with, Matujal eventually learned to channel those fears into music and finally released her first EP in August 2017.

At what age did you begin singing? I actually started with songwritin­g; I didn’t know how to play any musical instrument­s, so I hummed along and started writing lyrics. When I was 12 years old, I started to learn how to play the piano and guitar on my own. I was inspired by my father, who is really into music. He told me that he always wanted to write songs but didn’t have it in him. I listened to a lot of female singers / songwriter­s back then like Sarah McLachlan and Jewel, and they inspired me to write my own music.

When did you decide to pursue music profession­ally? It was a long journey. I started out wanting to be a musician when I was really young. When I grew up, I grew out of the idea a little bit. In Malaysia it’s hard to survive as a fulltime musician, and it’s even more difficult back in my hometown in Sabah, so I didn’t think it was plausible.

Then, I thought about going into wedding planning. I have a degree in Public Relations and event management as my “backup plan”.

Some time in the last year of university, I just decided to go full time into singing.

After doing some open mic gigs, I realised that this was what I really wanted to do for the rest of my life.

What spurred you to pursue music full time? It started after I attended Moonshine, the open mic in Publika and Jaya One. I entered that and met Reza Salleh. He told me that he was pretty impressed with my original songs. It also happened to be the first time I performed after a hiatus, so his words really encouraged me. He also started giving me more gigs, which kicked off my desire to pursue it full time.

I did a residency at The Bee in Jaya One. Through that, I realised that I really loved singing to a crowd and interactin­g with them, and connecting through music.

Are your parents supportive of your decision to pursue music full time, considerin­g it isn’t a standard Asian career? Yes. My father is my number one fan, because he’s always wanted to be a musician as well. He’s living vicariousl­y through me! I’m very thankful to have parents like that. I know a lot of musicians who don’t have that sort of privilege.

How would you describe your style of music and singing? Emotional. A lot of people tell me that I’m like the Malaysian Taylor Swift, because I write about all my past crushes and relationsh­ips. Every person I’ve ever loved or fallen out of love with has at least two to three songs written about them. It’s very lyric-based and I hope that my music is relatable, because everyone has fallen in love at some point.

How has your musical journey been from the start till now? Filled with troubles, mainly due to my lack of self-esteem! Growing up, I had really low selfconfid­ence; I wasn’t the thinnest or the prettiest in class, and I was also a reserved child. I remember when I was in primary school, the first time I spoke out and wanted to join a singing competitio­n, not only were the teachers sceptical, so were my peers. One of them even said to me: “Are you sure you can sing? But you’re so fat.”

I didn’t win the competitio­n and the person who said that to me retorted that she knew I wouldn’t win, and the whole thing just really set me back. I had this fear till I was about 15 years old, then I decided to perform again in my high school. At that time, I had a close network of friends who were supportive of me. From there, I just grew. Even for this EP that I released in August last year, I already had it done a while back but I was afraid of releasing it for fear of failure. It’s been a rocky journey, but I’m happy at where I am now.

How did you overcome your selfesteem issues and manage to put your music out there? To be honest, it’s still an ongoing process. I’m still a little self-conscious at times. What helped was being surrounded by a really positive group of people. I learned to cut off toxic people who were only focused on image. I knew that if I were to hang out with them, I’d fall into the same trap and go back to my old problems.

I’m trying to surround myself with positive people and have optimistic thoughts. It’s like an inner battle whenever I tell myself that it’s okay to share my music and it’s okay if people

judge me.

 ??  ?? “Every person I’ve ever loved or fallen out of love with has at least two to three songs written about them,” laughs Beverly Matujal.
“Every person I’ve ever loved or fallen out of love with has at least two to three songs written about them,” laughs Beverly Matujal.
 ??  ?? The bubbly 24-year-old faced a setback due to self-esteem issues, but surrounds herself with positive people to help overcome it.
The bubbly 24-year-old faced a setback due to self-esteem issues, but surrounds herself with positive people to help overcome it.
 ??  ?? Matujal credits her father for being her early musical inspiratio­n, as the patriarch was also an aspiring musician himself.
Matujal credits her father for being her early musical inspiratio­n, as the patriarch was also an aspiring musician himself.

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