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An Interview with singer-songwriter Arddley Nicholas

10th September, 2019


For a long time, mental health has been a taboo topic that has been consciously ignored.

As music is one incredible way to express emotions and what’s going on in lives, a lot of singers use their songs to share their stories, courageously helping to push forward the acceptance and discussion on mental health issues.

Arddley Nicholas, or popularly known as Ardz, is one of these singers who has consistently spoken publicly about mental health awareness through his songs.

By listening to this Tambunan-born singer-songwriter’s songs, one could tell that he is trying his best to spread hope for recovery and live a normal life.

His honest lyrics are brilliant at undoing the stigma while simultaneously letting people know that they’re not alone. On his first single ‘Break Free’ released back in May 2018, Ardz focused on the struggle of mental health issues.

In July 2018, he released a second single in Malay titled ‘Bersamaku’ where he shared that people suffering from mental health issues are not alone because there are support systems surrounding them.

Recently, this optimistic young man released another Malay single, ‘Nafas’ which includes a music video. In this interview, Ardz talks about ‘Nafas’, advising others not to give up on life. The talented guy also shares about how he explores music inspirations and his plans for the future.

Q: What’s your first memory of music? Ardz: My first memory of music is when my mother gave me my first piano lesson, and I learnt my first church music.

Q: Where do you find your inspiration the most? Ardz: Our life is an infinite source of inspiration where you can learn from it. Whether it is bad or good, both are still the best teachers.

Everyone can share their story through music. Nothing is right or wrong, whether it is a simple story about being a ‘sumandak Sabah’ or an ‘original Sabahan’... or you can go deeper sharing stories about lonely battles and confusions. All is good.

And what inspires or drives me to keep on writing and making music is that I would like my voice to keep circulating through the media, radios, or any platforms, spreading positive messages.

I hope one day, when I’m no longer here with everyone, my voice would still be here and be passed down for the next generation to hear, and help or even save someone else’s lives along the way.

Q: Could you explain more on how this creative process has been going in your song writing? Ardz: It is the journey that has been a great teacher for me and everyone around me. The journey is a great source of inspiration that urge me to write and express what I had already experienced, and share it with the world in hope that it will inspire others who may be in the same path as I am.

Q: What is the meaning behind this song – ‘Nafas’? Ardz: It’s about when you feel like everything is falling apart and you’re alone in this fight; in reality, you never know that someone up there is still watching over you and cares for you.

He is our God almighty who gave us “nafas” (breath) to live and to keep going strong. We may not “see” Him, but He is sending helpers and angels through other people that we may even consider as “strangers”.

God helps each and every one of us in a very unique way that we might have not even noticed or understood.

Q: You have released a music video and collaborated with local influencers; tell us about your experience of working with them.

Ardz: Yes, I have worked with Hosiani @ Keewon, YouTubers Elvin Romeo, D5ob Nick Auddrey and Jeremiah Awantang Saun, singers Esther Applunius and Marllenney Fane, and our main protagonist of this music video, Isaiah Dicky Jerry.

They’re all great people. Everyone is easy going, very professional, and super easy to work with.

It is such an honour to have everyone onboard this project. I know everyone has a very packed schedule, but they’re still willing to make some time to work with me in this project. So I’m very thankful and grateful to have them collaborate in this music video.

Q: Finally, what’s going to happen to you next?

Ardz: I’m planning to write more songs in the future. But at the moment, I still need to prepare my material to be well-polished before I start to publish a new one. I’m not sure if it may take a longer or shorter time to process. Apart from having a packed schedule in teaching music, I am currently trying to fulfil requests of performance offers; the nearest would be for the coming Sabah Tourism Award this year.

I’m also open for collaboration with other local music creators and artists, and I wish to plan a duet with one of the local singers which I’m keeping it a secret for now.

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