Singaporean musician KHAi has recently dropped his debut single, “Strange”, a song about infatuation and unrequited love.
The up-and-coming singer-songwriter Khairul Ridzwan is the mastermind behind KHAi. He has been performing his original material since 2014, finding solace in song-writing and channelling his views on life and love in lyrics that are earnest and raw, alongside guitar melodies that mirror his honest and grounded view of the world.
KHAi is a familiar face at open mics around Singapore and as a busker along the streets. The musician has been lucky enough to play his original compositions at the Singapore Garden Festival, Singapore Night Festival, as well as Esplanade’s Red Dot August series.
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KHAI's debut single is "Strange", a deceivingly happy song about moving on with life. It's a perfect single for people who are about to face a big change, like students moving on from high school into tertiary studies, or perhaps two people who are having doubts on their relationship. Whatever your interpretation of the song, KHAi will soothe your soul with his smooth and flawless vocals.
"The night I wrote ‘Strange’, I pulled an all-nighter just thinking about all of the opportunities that I’ve let slip out of my hands. The main reason was just because I was afraid of the outcome. Writing ‘Strange’ was my way of admitting to myself that it’s okay to be afraid.”
From drawing sonic inspiration from the likes of Frank Ocean, to writing about his day-to-day experiences and perilous late night thoughts, KHAi explains,
“I’ve always been in awe of Frank Ocean’s approach to music where he paints what he’s feeling sonically into his listeners’ ears. I tried to do the same for ‘Strange’. Whatever goes on under the vocals, were all carefully thought out in order to recreate the anxiety and excitement of falling in love.
It’s okay to be afraid. The songs I write… Remind me of the good and bad in my life that I’ve been through. It’s a personal memo for me, a self-reminder.”
The music video for "Strange" documents KHAi’s life and music in a very retro, old school home-video format, and ties in to the song's message that it's ok to be afraid.
“In my MV, it shows me being surrounded and supported by my closest friends as I embark on my music career. It’s a reassuring music video about knowing and trusting that the people you love will always be there to catch you when you fall.”
KHAi believes that his debut single is as real as it gets, if not more:
“To be honest with you, there are millions of songs written about love. Instrumentally, Strange doesn’t fit in today’s general pop sound. But the one thing that I think sets strange apart from the rest is that it really is more than a song that’s just about love. It’s a song about facing your fears. Everyone’s afraid of something.”