Alif Aolani never planned to make a career out of music. Dabbling with tracks, rapping and writing songs simply came naturally to him at the young age of 13, after a friend suggested he try it out.
“At first I did it for fun. Then, I was so into it that I didn’t quite realise I was doing it seriously.” remarks Alif, whose stage name Airliftz paints a fitting picture of the journey that propelled him to fame in the hip hop and R&B scene.
Recently signed with RedRecords, a joint venture between AirAsia and Universal Music Group, Airflitz released the single, Not Today, as part of AirAsia’s new diversity and inclusion campaign. He tells Tatler more about this collaboration and the liberating power of music in the face of societal prejudice.
What was your first exposure to music?
My brothers introduced me to many songs by Stevie Wonder and Lionel Richie. As a kid, I also remember seeing my mum dance to the songs of Sharifah Aini and ABBA while vacuuming around the house. Everyone in our home had different musical tastes but it mostly came down to hip hop , Motown and soul. I grew up listening to Tupac, Too Phat and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony.
What was the turning point in your musical career?
I signed myself up for an open mic show at RTB, Raising the Bar by Jin Hackman when I was 16. That was my first live performance. The next day, Jin texted me and said, ‘Let’s get an album done’. That was my first independent label deal, which was This Way Up Records by Jin.