Nabila Razali was studying to be an architect in Penang when she came upon the opportunity to be a singer.
“I’ve loved singing since I was a kid. In university, my friends and I used to busk when they were carnivals,” recalls Nabila, 25, in an interview.
“One day, we heard the auditions for Akademi Fantasia (AF) were held nearby our campus and we decided to give it a try.”
She auditioned for the 10th season of the reality singing series in 2013 and made it to the finals.
Nabila placed fifth in the competition, and decided to return to her studies. After graduating a year later with a degree in architecture, the singer felt she couldn’t give up on her music dreams just yet.
“I thought since I still have some fans and supporters (from AF), I can try to pursue my music career more seriously, that’s when I began to search for a single to record,” she says.
The toe-tapping Cemburu proved to be quite a hit. On top of that, she was offered to play the lead role in her first drama series, the 16-episode Hikayat Cinta Si Pematah Hati, which aired recently.
“After AF, Astro gave me the chance to star in two telemovies. I think that’s how they saw my acting talent and cast me for this drama.”
Nabila is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in architecture and will be releasing a new single, Pematah Hati. We caught up with her during a buka puasa event and asked what her favourite dishes are during the fasting month.
“I have a thing for sweet stuff. I love the caramel pudding and onde-onde from the Ramadan bazaar in Selayang, Selangor. And I always get the murtabak. I’ve never liked onions and although this murtabak has onions, I love it.”
1. Your single Cemburu has done quite well. Is there a story behind it?
Cemburu is about being jealous because there’s another woman (eyeing) your boyfriend. (Songwriters) Hael Husaini and Ezra Kong wrote the song.
When I first heard it, I realised that what was written in the lyrics, was also what was happening to me at that time, coincidentally. So I felt it. For me, delivery is very important, I want to people to feel like I’m really jealous when they listen to Cemburu.
I have read the feedback from my fans and many of them say they can relate to it. Some of them even tag their boyfriends with the hashtag #Cemburu (in social media posts) to help their boyfriends understand what they’re feeling.
I feel like I can represent all the women out there who feel that way.
2. Tell us about your upcoming single Pematah Hati.
Pematah Hati is like a continuation of Cemburu. In Cemburu, the other girl is eyeing your boyfriend. In Pematah Hati, you realise he has been returning the girl’s affections and that you can’t trust the guy.
The song won’t sound sad, it will still keep to Cemburu’s lightness because she’s trying to be a strong woman who’s not lamenting over the guy’s absence from her life. You love him but you’re mad at him and you don’t want him to be in your life. I think there will be people out there who can relate to this song too.
3. You played the lead in Hikayat Cinta Si Pematah Hati. What was that like?
I was very scared. Before this, I’d only played supporting roles in telemovies. This was a drama series aired on a primetime slot. And being paired with Alif Satar, my nervousness doubled. I had to keep up with Alif. Thankfully, everyone was very helpful. There were certain scenes that I was afraid of filming, but they calmed me down and made me feel like it wasn’t such a big deal.
4. Why is furthering your studies important to you?
As an artiste, I think we have to have an education background too, because we don’t know what’s going to happen in the future. I’m grateful for what I have now – my singing and acting, my degree, and now my Master’s.
I just want to be an example to people that it doesn’t mean if you become an artiste, you stop studying. At the end of the day, my education is a back-up plan for me in case singing and acting don’t work out.