FEMALE Talks To: Allester Shaun On Becoming A Singer In Malaysia And His Nostalgic Music Style

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With summer being the best season for music festivals, Malaysia is set to join in the fun with the Good Vibes Festival on 20 and 21 July.

Set to be headlined by Rae Sremmurd, festival-goers can expect a huge lineup for this year’s Good Vibes festival including Anna Lunoe, Rad Museum, Midnight Fusic and The Impatient Sisters. This first wave of performers announced also includes 23-year-old self-taught guitarist and local singer-songwriter, Allester Shaun.

Photo: Hiren Siva

Born and raised in Kuching, Allester released his first single Blue in 2018 which garnered almost 95,000 listens on Spotify. And if you’ve dreamt of or remember dancing under the moonlight with your first love with romantic music playing in the background, his second single Sweet Babycakes will transport you to that feeling immediately.

The Sarawak native picked up guitar around the age of 12 after watching his uncle playing the instrument at the pub his family owns. With the help of Youtube tutorials, he quickly mastered the guitar and performed for the very first time in his high school’s ‘Battle Of The Bands’ competition when he was 14 years old.

“I remember the songs we played – Deep Purpose, Smoke On The Waters and Van Halen’s You Really Got Me. We didn’t win but had consolation prizes, and I won the best guitarist award,” Allester shared.

Having performed at Urbanscapes last year and various local gigs, Allester is set to take over the stage of Good Vibes Festival that’s happening in Genting Highlands this weekend. Ahead of the music festival, I had a chat with him over lunch and he talked about his path into becoming a singer-songwriter in Malaysia and his music style.

FEMALE: What inspired you to learn the guitar and start singing?

Allester: I used to watch my uncle jamming away in our family pub back in Kuching. He looked cool and I thought I wanted to be like that. I didn’t go for any classes because my mom thought that music shouldn’t be a career and she never thought that I would take it so seriously. As for singing, I joined the music club in college and a friend of mine asked me to join an open mic event. Initially, I had rejected the invite but she went ahead and wrote my name on the list to perform so I just went with it and gave it a shot.

F: How did you end up joining a label?

A: I suffered from schizophrenia two years ago and didn’t take music seriously at all. However, one of my friends reposted my cover song on social media and that caught the attention of Jin Hackman. My friend contacted me and asked me to make a quick original song, saying there was a big offer. I didn’t ask further and when I was smoking at the balcony, the inspiration came to me and I decided to sing about cigarettes, which turned out to be my first single Blue.

F: What are some huge changes you noticed after joining the label?

A: A part of me wanted to be in a label and a part of me wanted to do independent stuff. I decided to give it a go and started gaining more fans. People were also private messaging me about my songs. That’s when I figured maybe I could make a living out of this.

F: Your latest single, Sweet Babycakes, resonates to the 1960s Elvis Presley music style. Was it your intention to write it that way?

A: For that song, yes. I wanted to make it a very nostalgic song and I love all these classic bands and artists. I just wanted to modernise that kind of sound and try to convey a nostalgic feeling to the listeners. It’s actually a very corny song and was inspired by my former girlfriend.

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