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There’s more to Daiyan Trisha than meets the eye (or greets the ears) and she’s still discovering it all for herself – one artistic expression at a time.

Don’t just call Daiyan Trisha a singer. She’s also a songwriter, actress, poet, content creator and executive producer of her own debut album – and who knows what next?

At 26, the multi-talented Malaysian is still “losing herself and finding herself” – as expressed on her poetry page – in the many pastures of the local entertainment scene.

That’s not to say she’s at crossroads in her career. Rather, she’s come to acknowledge her different areas of interest and skill sets that allow her to grow, learn and adapt to situations while still being true to herself.

“When I was growing up, I didn’t really have one ambition,” says the second child of five siblings. “But I always thought I would end up in the corporate world or in the arts industry. My sisters and I grew up with music and art – my mum sent us to art class and piano classes – so business and art have always been my passions.”

Out of respect for her parents, she went on to earn a diploma in accounting and subsequently, a degree in Business Administration, in favour of a more stable profession. But it was the arts that won her over after a record label discovered her musical talent and signed her at the age of 20.

Daiyan lounges in a Tory Burch dress and Bulgari jewellery

Daiyan lounges in a Tory Burch dress and Bulgari jewellery

Divas' Dream Diamond Pink Gold Earrings

Serpenti Tubogas Watch

Bvlgari Bvlgari Bracelet

Bvlgari Bvlgari Ring

B.zero1 Rebel 2 bands ring in pink gold and black ceramic

B.zero1 Rebel 2 bands ring with studs in pink gold and black ceramic

(swipe left for watch and jewellery details)

It all comes back to music

Before releasing the first single of her career as an artist in 2014, Kerana Kau, Daiyan had been posting song covers on her YouTube channel since she was 16. She also started acting in a local TV series titled “Dee” that same year.

It wasn’t long before more film and drama opportunities came knocking on her door. Cue her roles in productions such as Girlfriend Kontrak (co-starring Nur Risteena and Keith Foo), Busker and My Coffee Prince (alongside Fattah Amin and Janna Nick).

Though singing may take a back seat at times, she maintains that it will always be her first love.

“I act, do social media and I work with brands but I can’t do them all at the same time. But after I’m done with a certain project, I would always go back to music. I’ve discovered that [music] is where my passion lies and that it’s what I want to do for a living,” she says whole-heartedly.

Given her experience though, she confesses: “To be real, the music industry in Malaysia is not very promising. I would say for most singers in Malaysia, music is usually not their main income. So, all the other things I’ve been doing is to help sustain me being in the industry.”

Daiyan Trisha wears dress and jacket by Dior

B.Zero 1 Hoop Earrings

Bvlgari Bvlgari Necklace

Divas' Dream Bangle with Malachite

Divas' Dream Ring

Bvlgari Bvlgari Ring

(swipe left for watch and jewellery details)

Having said that, 2019 has been her best year, musically, yet. It saw the launch of her very first EP in addition to embarking on her first Southeast Asian tour with American singer-songwriter Sam Tsui. More impressively, she did it all without a management company behind her back.

“I tried being working with a few managements but they usually pushed me into a direction that I didn’t really like for myself, so I decided to manage myself,” the now-independent artist divulges.

“All the other things I’ve been doing is to help sustain me being in the [music] industry.”

The album took her a little over a year to put together and involved collaborations with both local and international producers the likes of LA-based Juan Ariza, AG Coco and MFMF.

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“Working with different producers was fun because everyone has their own style and, in a way, it helped me find my own style. Putting them into an album together isn’t going to be sonically cohesive – it’s not the same sound – but I made it in a way that the album has three parts,” she elaborates.

She calls the first part, “the surface”, consisting of light-hearted, catchy songs like Little Trouble Girl and Play Pretend. The second part carries slightly more weight emotionally, while still embodying a playful sound, exemplified by the single I Wanna See Ya.

The final section slows things down and touches on “hard heart” topics with hits like Thinking About Us and If I – two of her personal favourites off the album.

“Some of my friends tell me they love Thinking About Us,” she quips, eyes lighting up, “and I’m like, yeah, that’s one of my favourites too!”

Penning her own story

Daiyan lounges in dress by Dior and jewellery by Bulgari

Just as her melodious, velvety vocals are worthy of praise, so is Daiyan’s knack for writing lyrics that carry her tunes. If this wasn’t something people took seriously before, they are certainly paying attention now.

“Before this, people tend to see me as singer and ignore the songwriter part of me. But I told myself to be taken seriously as a writer last year and I want people to notice that I’m a songwriter, so please credit me as a songwriter as well,” she asserts.

This fresh focus on her flair of putting pen to paper gained her the attention of brands for new music collaborations. The song Aksimu Berbicara which she co-wrote for Levi’s latest Raya campaign is just one example of likely more to come.

She also started dabbling into poetry last year, which she shares on a separate Instagram account, @tulisanbydaiyantrisha.

“If you know me as a person, I’m very direct but, like, soft. My writing is like that – it’s simple but it makes a statement. It says something that needs to be said, but in a pretty way,” she smiles.

“Writing really helped me manage better emotionally. It’s like a coping mechanism for me.”

Whether in the form of lyrics or poetry, writing has helped her though bouts of mental and emotional dips in her life. The last song off her album, Mediocre, sheds some light on her experience with self-doubt and how she overcame it.

“I wrote it when I felt super mediocre,” she tells candidly. “There were people saying that my music is mediocre, my acting is mediocre. But I knew there were also a lot of people supporting me and saying that I have such a big potential to keep on going.

“The last line of the chorus says ‘you say I’m mediocre, but at least I’m being true’ – it’s sort of a pep talk to myself to keep going on.”

Other times, it has simply given her a platform to immortalise a memory, an emotion or an experience of hers or close ones.

“If I didn’t write, I might not be able to survive because writing really helped me manage better emotionally. It’s like a coping mechanism for me,” she shares.

Daiyan dons dress by Tory Burch and jewellery by Bulgari

B.zero1 Rebel stud earrings with studs in pink gold and black ceramic

Bvlgari Bvlgari Necklace

Bvlgari Bvlgari Bracelet

Serpenti Tubogas Watch

B.zero1 Rebel 2 bands ring in pink gold and black ceramic

B.zero1 Rebel 4 bands ring with studs in pink gold and black ceramic

B.zero1 Rebel 2 bands ring with studs in pink gold and black ceramic

Bvlgari Bvlgari Ring

(swipe left for watch and jewellery details)

Self-made and proud 

Looking at her now, it’s hard to imagine how Daiyan juggles everything on her own. This is where her background in business comes in handy, helping her manouvre her way through projects and offers to determine what’s best for and true to herself.

“I feel like the entertainment industry in Malaysia is divided into two – the masses and the indies. And I’m smack in the middle of those two,” she points out.

“The indies are known for their individuality and self-expression, so I always want to stay like that and not change into an identity that’s not me. But, in a way, the masses help with exposure so I’ve always tried to find a balance between the two.”

On how she feels about how far she’s come, she reveals: “My proudest achievement is getting to do what I love to do and doing well and having my parents know that I’m doing well.”

Daiyan stands tall in a jumpsuit by Bottega Veneta and jewellery by Bulgari

Daiyan stuns in jewellery by Bulgari

B.zero1 Rebel stud earrings with studs in pink gold and black ceramic

B.Zero 1 Rock Necklace

B.zero1 Rebel 2 bands ring in pink gold and black ceramic

B.zero1 Rebel 4 bands ring with studs in pink gold and black ceramic

B.zero1 Rebel 2 bands ring with studs in pink gold and black ceramic

Serpenti Tubogas Watch

(swipe left for watch and jewellery details)

Nevertheless, she admits that there are often obstacles not seen by her 1.3 million followers on Instagram.

“Whatever industry you’re in, you’re always going to have failures. I’ve failed so many times and I think I’ve failed more than I’ve succeeded but I think that’s how it should be. You’re always going to face more rejections than achievements, I feel, but those rejections will add up to a bigger achievement,” she muses.

With a series of musical collaborations ahead, a role in a local film commencing production in September and a new single dropping exclusively on Joox very soon, she’s definitely on the road to “bigger achievements”.

She’s in no hurry though, taking on projects as they come and planning new ones as she goes.

“Given the past months of MCO, right now, I’m just focusing on making and writing as much as possible. I think now’s a good time to write and produce more for people to listen,” she resolves.

Don’t just call Daiyan Trisha a singer. “I’m a lot of things – that’s what makes me, me,” she puts it simply.

Listen to Daiyan’s latest single, “On My Way”, released on 3rd July, 2020 exclusively on Joox here

Photography: Edmund Lee of Vinca Photography
Videography: Felix Khu
Art direction and styling: Anson Siau
Makeup: Decorte
Hair: Jacquelyn Tan
Shot on location at The Chow Kit – An Ormond Hotel

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