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10 11

10 November


Young Malaysian musician

Rozhan Rahman was on his way
to great things in the local
industry when an opportunity to
study abroad came a-knockin.
He talks to NIKI CHEONG about
how his love for music helps him
adapt to life in a foreign land.

Bass Player

In The Other End Of The World

IF YOURE a fan of the local music circuit, the
name Rozhan Razman should ring a few bells.
Although the young lad had only graduated from
the International College of Music barely a couple
of years ago, hes been in the gig circuit for years.
Rozhan was having an amazing time, career
wise, until a few months ago when a scholarship
from the world-renowned Berklee College of
Music in Boston, Massachussetts, came waltzing
by. Seeing this as an opportunity not to be missed,
Rozhan packed his bags and has gone back to
paper chasing.
How does it feel being accepted into such an
established school such as Berklee College of
I was overjoyed when I received a scholarship of
USD$10,000 (about RM38,000 for every 2 semesters) to study at Berklee. I had to audition for that
scholarship when they held their World
Scholarship Tour in Malaysia.
Youve already made a name for yourself in Kuala
Lumpur before you left. How has this experience
helped you get into Berklee, and settling in there?
Experience and basic knowledge gave me a platspecific aspects of music. Being a seasoned perform to dive deeper into music without wasting
former, I definitely got ahead by getting
time learning the rudiments. I saved time,
into the gigging circuit as fast as the first
so I could concentrate on
two weeks!
ing with
Perform ncia.
You previously studied in a different
Mia Pale
music school The International
College of Music in KL. How is Berklee
Berklee is waaaay bigger and has
waaaay more courses/classes and
majors. Its also a huge cultural melting pot. There are many foreign students, almost 40% of those enrolled
here are foreign! Plus, all the
world-known teachers are here. I
also think that you get more
exposure and opportunities here.
What is the best thing for you
so far in Berklee?
The environment. Everyone is
as crazy as you about music.
There are also all sorts of platforms to play all different

styles, which is good for me because Im a versatile player. Also, there are great teachers and players on every street corner literally, even some of
the beggars and buskers can play good music!
Is there a community of Malaysians there? Whats
the community like?
Theres a very small and limited number of
Malaysian Berklee kids and we all know each
other and meet up to socialise and hang out.
Its been a couple of years since you completed
your degree at ICOM. What made you decide to
go back to studying?
I wasnt expecting to go to Berklee. The scholarship helped me decide. Its more of the experience
rather than the studying that Im looking for.
Well, how difficult is it for you to get back into
studying mode?
Getting back to studying is easy because I always
consider myself as a student. Getting back to student life is hard because I need to wake up early,
do assignments, and juggle all that with gigging
and rehearsing.



R.age, Star Publications (M) Bhd,

Menara Star, #15, Jalan 16/11,
46350, Petaling Jaya, Selangor


Currently, I perform with a handful of

bands, to name a few, Venus Bullet (a rock
band), Blacksole (R&B), Mojo Band (pop),
Greater Than (rock-fusion).
What is that like playing in Boston and
how is it different from performing in KL?
Bands here are highly independent and
very dedicated. There is too much competition, so we have to really keep up. Its
hard to get good-paying gigs.
Performing wise, so far, seems pretty
much the same as in KL. Its the musicians
that I play with that make the most difference. And also, here the audiences are
actually listening more.
Finally, tell us what an average day in
Berklee is like for you.
Err... how ah... pretty extreme, you know
and very unpredictable. (Laughs) Wake up,
go for class, meetings or private lessons.
I hardly eat breakfast and sometimes,
lunch. Then I go for a rehearsal or an early
gig, then for a late rehearsal or gig.
Sometimes Ill be recording from noon to
6am. If not, Ill go home to do schoolwork
or practice. Somewhere in between is dinner. I truly treasure weekends and spend it
by going out for movie or hanging out.

The Take On Rozhan

ROZHAN Razman is only 26 but hes already made quite a name for himself. He started off playing music in
his bedroom as a teenager and as the years went by, his collection of music gear increased as well. Soon, his
bedroom had turned into a one-man underground
Rozhan graduated in 2003 with a Bachelors degree
in Music Production and Technology from the
International College of Music (ICOM). While studying
he performed at numerous places locally and internationally, and was known to be quite the bass player.
He joined bands like Metalasia, Groove Junction,
Charma Trip and Mia Palencias Usual Suspects. He
was also a backing artiste for numerous big names in
the local music scene like Sheila Majid, Zainal Abidin
and Ning Baizura.
Rozhan has performed at numerous jazz and music
festivals locally and abroad including in India,
Kyrgyzstan, South Korea and Dubai. Currently, he is at
Berklee to complete his double major degree in
Performance, and Contemporary Writing and
Production. He was previously a music gear reviewer
for The Stars Audiofile section, and currently has his
own monthly column called Bassd in the City in
Audiofile, which comes out every first Thursday of the

10 November