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By PHYLLIS HO
alltherage@thestar.com.my

HE tries not to write love songs, but every now and then, Gabriel Robert Rawantas can’t help writing them. Unfortunately, some of these love songs don’t see the light of day.

Rawantas, or better known as Guba, is an up-and-coming acoustic artiste in the local music scene and has been writing songs since six years ago. He, in fact, wrote his first song at 14.

“My real name sounds Western so I decided to use Guba as a stage name because it sounds more Malaysian,” he said, adding that Guba was initially a nickname given by his brother-in-law.

He describes his music as alternative folk, and singing comes naturally to the Sabahan lad as he grew up in a musically talented family.

“I just feel extremely comfortable playing those type of songs and to me, there’s a vast space to experiment and play around with,” said the 29-year-old musician.

Guba studied business in university but his family has always been supportive of his talent and music career.

“My mum keeps telling us ‘Life isn’t set in stone’, and I pretty much live my life around that saying,” he shared.

His debut album Hilang was released in July this year, and the singer received rave reviews for his vocal talents and soulful singing style.

“I always believe that I wrote songs by instinct and from what felt right.”

Guba also shared that he follows a logical process when creating a song – first choosing the type of song, then the song title and so on. After that, he thinks about the additional musical instruments to be introduced to the songs, and this process involves discussions with his producers.

“Sometimes when ideas come, I would just grab a guitar and try to play the melody. If there were no guitars around, I would record myself humming on the phone,” said Guba, whose dream collaborators include Rufus Wainwright, Nataly Dawn and Regina Spektor.

His journey as a musician has definitely taken a big leap – from a guy playing guitars and making melodies in his room, to recording at studios and playing gigs.

“It’s an amazing experience and believe me, I’m here to stay,” the singer said.
Currently, Guba is still in the middle of promoting his debut album and has also been spending some time writing new songs.

“Hopefully, we can get into the studio and record them soon.”

When asked of the challenges of thriving in the local music industry, he replied: “As far as the challenges go, it would be getting my music heard by people because I’m new and nobody has ever heard of me.

“But it’s a small industry. so eventually, people would bump into my music. I just have to keep making music I love and everything will fall into place,” he said.

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