"It felt like the sun had just started shining again": Sezairi on his cathartic new single 'Blue' featuring msftz

"It felt like the sun had just started shining again": Sezairi on his cathartic new single 'Blue' featuring msftz

It's been more than 10 years since Sezairi made national headlines for winning the third season of Singapore Idol in 2009. Yet, the hype that has surrounded this introspective singer-songwriter has never truly waned throughout his decade-long career. 

In 2016, Sezairi topped Spotify's SG Viral 50 chart for two consecutive weeks with his funky, retro-inspired single 'Fire To The Floor'. He later outdid himself in 2018 with the gold-certified monster hit 'It's You', accumulating more than 17 million Spotify streams on that track alone. 

At the beginning of last year, Sezairi put out his four-track EP 'Undertones' which spawned even more fan favourites such as 'Mirage' and 'She Moves'. This was followed by the bilingual single 'Raindrops' in November, which opened up a new era of music for the artist as he leaned more towards songs that are honest and vulnerable.   

Proving once again that his musicality is timeless and ever-relevant, Sezairi is back with his latest single 'Blue', a jazzy collaboration track featuring South Korean singer msftz, released on 11 June.

"[It] is a song that I wrote when I wanted to remind myself that loving each other means that you share a space, free of all judgement and anger. A space we save for each other unknowingly and don’t go to often enough," shared the balladeer. 

We caught up with Sezairi to chat about the stories that inspired his latest release, his experience working remotely with duet partner msftz, as well as what he is looking forward to do most when COVID restrictions loosen up in Singapore. 

Hi Sezairi, congrats on the wonderful new single ‘Blue’! Before we go into the song, can you share with us what you’ve been up to since the release of your last EP ‘Undertones’?

I’ve been at home working on a new EP with Vancouver-based artists/producers Potatohead People. We released 'Raindrops' as the first single from the project and I’m super excited for all that’s to come. It’s almost surreal working with people whose music you’re a big fan of.

Let’s talk about ‘Blue’. We understand that the track serves as a reminder to you that there is no judgement and anger in the safe space of love. Could you share with us the experiences that inspired you to write this song? 

'Blue' was another one of those "surfing the stream of consciousness" moments, where an idea developed quickly and just snowballed from there. It was written in a moment of my life when I realised that I’m not an easy person to love and am far from perfect. The weight and effort of everyone who’s ever loved me sort of fell onto my shoulders all at once.

After I finished writing the song, it felt like the sun had just started shining again. I became very motivated to learn to love people the way they needed to be loved, and not just in a way that's convenient for me.

We’re huge fans of your synergy with South Korean singer msftz on this track. How did that come about and what was the experience like working with her? 

After listening to it for the 100th time, I started to lose track of how the song was supposed to make me feel. I was convinced that a female voice and perspective would dramatically shift the tone of the song toward a more positive light.

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I asked around and someone sent me her (msftz's) song ‘Tell me about your world’. I immediately felt connected to the melancholy in her vocal tone and writing style. It was just instant.

We spoke online and started working on the song via KakaoTalk. Sometimes, your style and ideas match up so well with your collaborator that you feel like you’re in the same room as them. That feeling was very special for me. I remember asking her, “how do you get these done so fast? Who engineers your vocals?” When she told me it was all done on her own, it blew my mind. She’s incredible and more people should listen to her music.

International collaborations are aplenty this year! We’ve had JJ Lin and Anne Marie’s ‘Bedroom’, ShiGGA Shay and Jay Park’s ‘uRight’, and now ‘Blue’ has entered the foray. What are your thoughts on such cross-country partnerships and do you have a favourite one? 

I think there’s a stronger sense of urgency to collaborate now more than ever. Based on my experiences, when musicians, songwriters and creators get boxed in, we tend to try our best to reach out to others in whatever way or form we can. It’s a good reminder that you’re not alone and there is beauty in a shared experience. So far, I’m really liking 'Fresh Feelings' by Benjamin Kheng ft J.Sheon.

Aside from music, you’ve also shown the world how multi-talented you are by putting up stellar acting performances in the movie 1965 and W!LD RICE’s The Emperor’s New Clothes. Is this something you’ve always seen yourself doing, and can fans expect to see more of your acting side in the future? 

I guess for the most part, I see myself as a performer who gets really excited to tell a good story. So no matter what way, shape or form that storytelling opportunity comes in, I’d always be open to jumping onboard and being a part of something creatively meaningful. So who knows?

We hope you’re staying safe and well in these pandemic times! Are you looking forward to doing anything, whether musically or on a personal scale, once COVID-19 restrictions loosen up? 

Similar to almost everyone else, I’m really looking forward to travelling. I want to do so starting with my friends and family from around the region. Something else that I’ve been doing this lockdown is watching alot of e-sports, particularly Dota 2. I can’t wait to attend a live event again!

Lastly, can fans expect any new music or collaborations from you anytime soon? 

So far, it looks like every song in my upcoming EP has a collaboration of some sort. Two of which were co-written by my good friend and incredibly talented writer Linying. Really excited to let everyone hear it in its entirety. 

Listen to 'Blue' by Sezairi ft. msftz below: 

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