Circuit Breaker was a tough time for everyone, but it served as a revelation to Fariz Jabba. The ever-charismatic Singaporean rapper has released his latest single ‘Nak Tak Nak’, (translates: do you want it or not?) showing the world a side he has never shown before. A ballad was produced, and the meaning runs deeper than you think.
All thanks to Universal Music Singapore, Nookmag was given the opportunity to chat with Mr. Jabba himself. We discussed the roots of ‘Nak Tak Nak’, the stigma surrounding mental health, #LetsHealTogether and… eating with our phones?
First question! How do you feel about the release of ‘Nak Tak Nak’?
It’s been good! It’s been great, actually. People are sending me like, messages of support on Instagram and Twitter. I think when I released the ‘Behind the Song’ – I think there’s a video called ‘Fariz Jabba Gets Real’ and I basically talked about the philosophy behind it, the inspiration behind the song. Then, yeah, I think people generally get the jizz of this release so, it’s been good! People are surprised still, that I did a sad song [Laugh]. But generally, it’s been good lah!
‘Nak Tak Nak’ is a song you did two years ago! Can you share with us how it was supposed to sound like? Was it supposed to be a sad song?
Actually, no! It’s amazing what a beat can do to a song. The beat originally sounded pretty light and pretty… fast paced. Very fast paced. But the BPM is the same, the tempo is the same. It’s just, the drums are a little bit more tight and it wasn’t as slow and as double-timed as the beat now. So, yeah! I think when Flightsch changed the beat, it changed the whole vibe of the song. Suddenly it’s like a lo-fi, trap/soul instead of like trap trap. Last time it used to sound like a proper trap song.
Do you think you will release that version ever?
Probably I will use it in live segments of my show, you know? Like getting the parts of the song into something like “performance arts”, like a performance piece!
With the release, you’re sharing something that not many artistes would share, especially in our “Asian culture”. Mental health is something of a taboo to talk about. What made you want to bare your soul, not only to your fans, but also to the world?
It’s because I want to break that stigma. Especially for us rappers because we always have to look cool and I want to make everybody understand that it’s okay for you to talk about your problems. It’s okay for you to be vulnerable and I want to break that stigma. I want people to understand that you don’t have to be alone and you need people for you to get more perspective, for you to understand your problem better, in any form! If you’re struggling with school or if you’re struggling mentally or physically with friends, family or whatever. Any really deep, deep seated issues, you need somebody to pry it open right? Or help you and support you because it’s too heavy right? And you shouldn’t feel bad about doing that as well to your friends because you said, a lot of people think like “Oh, I don’t want to bring a bad vibe to my friends and family”, but actually you are there as a pillar of support when they are sad as well.
It’s great that you’re speaking out and getting the conversation rolling especially to help breaking the culture barrier and things like that but what sort of impact do you aim to make especially for the youth right now with speaking out and releasing a song for it?
I think it’s as simple as a personal reaching out. To me, this song is personal. It’s not a “we are the world” kind of thing where everybody hold hands. It’s not that! I’m sick of being alone, I’m sick of being reclusive and this is actually a big step for me because I am the kind – I won’t say that I have a huge ego in a way where I feel that I need to do it myself or when I face problems I need to face it myself. When I face problems, usually I can get over it pretty quick because I adapt to situations pretty well, but this particular thing makes me feel weak because I’m like, older than I used to be. When I used to feel like this, you know? What I want to change is the stigma but what inspired me to release this is because I’m done hiding and shutting out the world. I want to connect to my fans. I was actually planning to do like a proper piece on stage like write a poem specifically to them, to that particular group of people. I was going to do a dance piece as well. That was the plan in my head which I’m still going to accomplish. But, yeah! I’m sick of being alone – of feeling alone. I’m not alone. I’m just sick of feeling alone because you make yourself feel alone, actually. There are 7 billion people in the world and it’s up to you to make a connection with people. There are so many people! Get out there and there will be people that are like you and I bet there are 10 other people who are in the exact predicament as you.
Other than immersing yourself in the song, what were the other ways that helped you though the Circuit Breaker?
Mindfulness. Being present in the moment, not in the “Nirvana/meditation” kind of way but more into just really giving a proper look into how you’re doing stuff – paying attention to it! And also like, understanding how addicted you are to your phone. You know when you’re doing something like you’re eating, try eating and not watching something. What helped me was, I think Zoom calls and the app Houseparty. No connection, not sponsored, purely the truth [Laugh]. I cooked a lot! I cooked a lot of food, tried new recipes and stuff. Oh, yeah this is one as well – dress well at home. We dress like we are at home, right but dress well, wear perfume and like you know, style yourself – put on earrings or bracelets or necklaces, then you will feel cool and then you will understand why you wear that in the first place when you go out. If you wear that to look cool for people, then you got it twisted. You should look good for yourself and have it as a bonus if people think you look cool. So, when you’re at home and feel cool, then when you go out you don’t care what people think you know you look cool.
Give ‘Nak Tak Nak’ a listen!