ALYPH is the quintessential quadruple threat
“Repping the culture comes naturally”
Our September cover star ALYPH is one of the most in-demand artist-producers in Southeast Asia. The Singapore-born, Malaysian star’s beats, plus his ability to write big hooks on them, have made him the go-to for artists who want that sauce. His discography shows that he’s already been clocking hits since the early 2000s – for 10 years with the successful R&B group SleeQ – but it was in 2022, after singing with Def Jam Southeast Asia that he went crazy viral with the smash hit ‘Swipe’ [as in swipe left if you’re not feeling me…right if you are]. That song, which features a cameo by Malaysian celebrity Dato Seri Vida, became a TikTok sensation and the YouTube video has over 11 million views to date. In fact, his songs have racked up over 45 million Spotify plays and almost 250 million YouTube views overall, making him a force to be reckoned with.
LiFTED is super excited to finally catch up with this quadruple threat – writer, producer, singer, and rapper – and find out what makes him tick. ALYPH is definitely one to watch. If you don’t know, now you know.
Yo ALYPH! What’s really good, brother? We’ve been checking you out for a minute now and you just seem to only go in one direction…UP!
Thanks for having me! I’ve been on my toes these days really. The kind of busy where even if you get days off, your mind doesn’t really go off, if you know what I mean.
You’ve been crushing it recently with big singles like ‘Swipe’ and ‘Check’ plus writing hits for others, but seriously though what’s with the one-word song titles? Is that just your style?
Thanks! I don’t know. They’re not conscious decisions I swear! Some just pan out as one-word titles and some don’t.
OK, let’s talk about ‘Swipe.’ This song really took Singapore and Malaysia by storm. To date, it has over 11 million YouTube views and has crazy streams on Spotify and other streaming platforms. Besides being a dope track, why do you think it caught on so fast?
You know what, I really don’t know! I literally make music that I feel great about and share it with others when it’s out. What happens after that is out of my control, but of course I always hope I can share the same feelings and moments with my songs. I do feel that tech and social media support music in ways we’ve never experienced before and we’re all still discovering its power every day. Maybe it’s also because, although my songs are about me, I mix them with other stories and experiences I’ve gathered from friends and family or just living life and being observant in general. That might play a part in allowing listeners to somehow connect with my songs.
We really love ‘Check,’ too, which dropped earlier this year. You have created this style which is smooth and melodic, but your bars are loaded. Then when you sing it’s some serious R&B chops! Are you a singer or rapper first?
Thank you! I started out rapping because it allowed me to fit in lots of lyrics and I love storytelling. I gotta tell it from start to finish. I’ve always been moved by melodies since I was a kid, and of course, I’ve always sang my heart out to my favorite songs like everyone else. So songwriting and singing naturally gets mixed into my rhymes as I progressed and developed into what it is now. The short answer is I have no idea how I developed my style. We’re all figuring it out together.
A lot of people may not know you’re kinda deep in the game. You started as part of the well-known R&B group SleeQ. Was that your first gig as an artist? How old were you when you started?
Well, I wrote and performed my first original song with my boys in school when we were 14. I got into the underground Hip Hop scene around 15 or 16, so my first actual gig was probably when I was 16 or 17. I might be wrong, so I might be getting calls after this piece comes out!
You’re also a serious multi-hyphenate, quadruple threat. You sing, rap, write, and produce. Which part came first and how did it evolve?
I had rhyme books where I’d scribble down my lyrics. Apart from that I’d imagine music and melodies, and create my own symbols, and then write them down in my own way so I won’t forget them. I gotta draw them for y’all sometime. I think I still have my Fire rhyme book and it’s all in there. Really, I’d say it all kind of began at the same time and they’ve been evolving ever since.
We’d love to see that! Something must have worked because your own songs, plus those you’ve written for others have over 220 million YouTube views and almost 50 million Spotify streams. Those are serious numbers, bro. It means you have the hooks! Are you driven by numbers, or do you just make the music you love and leave it up to fate?
Man, I’m just grateful. This job is to provide music for all of us to enjoy, and that’s just what I do. I can’t be a great teacher or a doctor by focusing on the salary instead of the actual work, now can I? That would just be selfish.
Can you name some of your favorite songs you’ve written for other artists? And why?
I swear, all of them are my favorites because they were all made specifically for those artists and have special meanings. So when I listen back they are incomparable.
You’re from Singapore, but Malay by blood. How important is it for you to rep Bahasa and Malay culture, especially on such a legendary Hip Hop label like Def Jam?
It’s an honor, and repping the culture comes naturally. It’s not something I consciously do, it’s just who I am and a product of how I’ve developed as an artist. How I will continue to develop will be a question for the next time. I just try to do what feels right for the song.
Thanks for sitting down with us. We know our readers around the region will be super interested to find out more about you. Please give us a snapshot of what 2024 looks like for ALYPH.
I really appreciate you for your time to go through what I do. Thanks! Some new HEAT is right around the corner. My debut album is coming…Virgo weather is the season!