"Singer Ze Rebelle has become a “hot” but somewhat reviled name since
her single Slumber Tetek razed across the Internet, shocking the more
conservative and earning her severe condemnation in return.
It wasn’t just the lyrics of her single that rubbed people the wrong
way. It was her demeanour and her barely-there attire that many regarded
as extreme, seductive and way too sexy for everyday consumption." - an interview with Nizha Periaswamy, FMT
"Though Malaysia's Ze Rebelle has often been compared with rebellious
popstar Lady Gaga, she’s far from an imitator. Born as Sarah Zainal, it
is hard not to notice the electronic indie star with a personality as
bright as her constantly changing hair colour.
And while she’s earned plenty of well-deserved achievements, Ze’s
outspoken personality has also brought fiery criticism from conservative
local Malaysians, who take aim at her fashion choices and humorously
lewd videos — though there’s a special vitriol saved for her Muslim faith,
bringing death threats and calls to repent. But it’s the wrath of
Beyoncé’s “Beyhive” that seems to have put more fear in her than
Undeterred, Ze continues to stir the conservative pot with localised
covers of popular songs and remixes of her own originals on YouTube.
Most of them highlight frivolous social issues, like the supposed
“dangers” of Valentine’s Day, which she countered with a
Malaysian-language cover of “Only You,” calling it “Kongkek Time”
Her hard work has paid off, winning AIM's Best Local English Song
Award for “In The House”—a collaboration with Malaysian duo Goldfish
& Blink—and earning a nomination for Best Lo-Fi Video at the Berlin
Music Video Awards for “$ BROKE $,” which she directed herself. And
after releasing her third studio album, Univerze, in 2016, Ze is now working on her next single, “Hologram”, recently previewed in a Bvlgari teaser.
We had a chat with the controversial artist on breaking away from
cultural norms, incurring the wrath of the Beyhive and why good art
should always make some people uncomfortable."
- Marlina Azmi