Here’s The Heart-wrenching Story Behind Abangsapau’s NDP Duet With His Mum
STORY: Diane Lam
10 August 2020
Abangsapau’s rap number with his mother, Farhana binte Ibrahim, might have been one of the more heartwarming moments during last night’s NDP2020 Evening Show, but the last few months haven’t been easy for them.
The track, titled Each Other, is 21-year-old Abangsapau’s own. He wrote it in one sitting the day that the Circuit Breaker was announced, dedicating it to anyone who was experienced loss amidst the pandemic.
Less than a month into the Circuit Breaker, he lost his father.
“In the song [Each Other], I talk about how I lost a lot of my jobs, how I can’t visit my grandma as much as I want to,” Abangsapau told us, in an interview at an NDP press event earlier this month. “At the end of the day as much as everything has been taken away from us, as much as we are being prevented from being able to see each other, we still have each other. Screw toilet paper, whatever else, that’s all we’ve got: each other. And that phrase took a whole new meaning for me when my dad passed away.”
During his darkest moments, Abangsapau drew strength from his loved ones.
“Because of them, I was able to tide through those tough times and make use of whatever pain I was feeling for the greater good. And I'm just grateful that I'm given this platform to sort of share my really raw thoughts with the rest of the country. And if it resonates with one person, I feel a shift in perspective. That's a mission accomplished.”
As the song gained momentum, Abangsapau received word from an unexpected source: Dr. Sydney Tan, the Music Director for this year’s NDP. Not only did he want Abangsapau to perform Each Other, but he wanted him to perform it with his mother, who contributed her vocals to the recording.
“I was really shocked because like for me, NDP was always something that I wanted to do and ever thought that it would be this early in my career that I'll be given this opportunity. I was just really grateful. Because it's this whole thing was truly [done by] myself. Like, the composition of the song to play, the blending of the performance was truly myself. It wasn't like catered to any particular things. I was just really grateful that they allow me to fully be myself and to bring my mum to be part of this as well. It's a huge honour for me.”
Family is near and dear to Abangsapau’s heart – in fact, he credits them for his musical giftings.
“All my family members can sing. I grew up as a being known as the worst singer in the family. That’s why I’m a rapper,” he said.
But he finds special significance in being able to perform with his mum. “This NDP alone is a memorable one. It's one that people are gonna look back on. My mum has always dreamed of wanting to be a singer and performing at NDP. But all her dreams, she had to stop because she was a single mother and had to raise all of us alone. So the fact that I'm able to bring her on to be a part of this and help her fulfill a part of her dream while fulfilling mine, it's beautiful and it's just a huge, huge honour for me as an artist and most importantly, as a son.”