Uprising pop singer Nik Qistina this year signed with Universal Music Malaysia, a milestone which the sixteen-year-old says has been a dream come true.
She’s come a long way from the girl singing in vine and instagram videos to the artist starring in acclaimed performances with Greyson Chance, Jes Ibrahim, Sid Murshid, and others this year alone.
Her latest single “Young Hearts”, produced by Universal Music Malaysia’s Kieran Kuek in September, quickly made it to the iTunes Top 100 list in 4 countries in the region.
We sat down with Qistina to find out more about the girl behind the voice.
ESQUIRE: How did you feel about signing with Universal Music Malaysia?
Like a dream come true! Being on a record label changed my life forever. When I got signed, I was really excited. I met them and we talked about what the direction of my music career should be like, and what my future would be like in music.
ESQ: What’s the story behind your latest single Young Hearts?
The composer, the lyricist and I sat down and talked about what I wanted the music to be like and what people could relate to. The song is really about coming to the realisation that loving yourself first before anyone else is so important. The music video just shows the message, and if you hear the music itself you can get the sense of the story.
ESQ: What was it like working with Kieran Kuek?
He’s very talented! I heard his demo before Young Hearts. It was a different track from Young Hearts and I loved it completely, but I didn’t want that to be my demo. I wanted my own song. That’s when Young Hearts was written. He made an amazing arrangement, he made the beats and everything. When I heard it the first time, I fell in love with it completely.
ESQ: What kind of challenges have you tackled in the process of recording this single?
I wasn’t really prepared; I was so new, I had never even been to a studio before. I had met Kieran Kuek for the first time, and I was quite tired from coming back from school. Because of that I didn’t really do well for the first recording. But when I came back the second time, I nailed it completely. Even Kieran complimented me that I learn fast. Yeah, I had a rough time in the beginning stage of recording. But I learn from my mistakes.
ESQ: Any weird, unconventional inspirations that have influenced your music style?
This is weird, but you know Ke$ha? Her crazy face, when she had that Animal album, that was kind of crazy and did sort of inspire me to be in the industry as well. I don’t see myself being Ke$ha, but she inspired me with her glitter and her performances. I have more artists I love and look up to. I have Selena Gomez, Lady Gaga, Demi Lavato. I’m mostly inspired by Demi Lavato, because she inspired me to sing. I love singing, but she made me want to become a singer.
ESQ: How do you balance school work and your music career?
My schedule’s not too packed yet, so I can still manage school and music at the same time, so far it’s very good. Whenever I get stressed, I meditate, I just zen myself and remember that this is just a temporary feeling, and I can shut it off straight away because the universe is mine.