Can you read Tabitha Nauser's body language?

Lover to lover

Text: Adibah Isa

Ahead of Tabitha Nauser's music video release for 'Body Language', we catch up with the singer on collaborating with SonaOne and updates on her upcoming EP

What a year it's been for Tabitha Nauser. Since dropping her debut song 'Bulletproof' in February this year, the 25-year-old has been going full steam ahead. The catchy earworm about an indulgent romance peaked at number one on Spotify's SG Viral Chart, raising her profile as she locked in performances at the Singapore Day Festival in Melbourne, the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix and Music Matters.

Her second release, 'Body Language', is just as infectious. This time, she roped in Malaysian rapper SonaOne, known for his work with fellow Malaysian hip-hop artist Joe Flizzow as well as Singapore's own rapper Sheikh Haikel. A song that's yet another teaser to her upcoming EP, it's a throwback of sorts to late '90s R&B, with a catchy up-tempo that'll have you shake your thing the next time you're out — or in the comfort of your own bedroom. Before she releases her second music video, we catch up with Nauser over email to talk 'Body Language'.

How did 'Body Language' come to you — was this a song that's been in the works for a while and waiting for a collaborator like SonaOne?
'Body Language' originally didn't sound anything like the track you're hearing now. 'Body Language' originally was recorded about a year ago in Sweden, around the same time I recorded 'Bulletproof', and it had a kind of moody vibe, slow tempo. I'd been sitting on that song for a while because I felt like something was missing.

Fast forward to sometime early this year, I was in Kuala Lumpur for a showcase and SonaOne happened to be performing. I played him the track, told him I would love for him to put his own spin to it and he came back with a reproduced 'Body Language' which has his verse in it. And I loved it! And that's when we decided we'd put 'Body Language' out as a single.

You've mentioned that you really wanted to work with SonaOne, and you did! What first attracted you to his music, and how was the dynamics in the studio like?
It's funny because we never actually worked in the studio together for this track. We did everything through emails and WhatsApp voice notes. But what I love about SonaOne is how he's so positive. He has a great energy about him, which makes you feel comfortable and he's extremely talented. It was so easy to work with him, he understood what I was going for because he's not just a producer — he's a singer and rapper.

We got a little throwback to Kylie Minogue's 'Body Language' with the title — did her song nudge you in any way?
To be honest, I didn't really listen to a lot of Kylie Minogue growing up!

We loved the acoustic version you performed on 987fm, and also the acoustic version of 'Bulletproof' that was filmed at Cherry. What are you most comfortable performing songs in? Acoustically or how they're recorded?
Thank you! I think it really just comes down to how I'm feeling. I can't choose one over the other because I love performing both ways. It's always fun to perform up-tempo tracks where you get the crowd moving and everybody's on a high, but at the same time, I appreciate exploring a more intimate performance, where there aren't too many distractions and you can really understand the meaning of the song and get up close with your audience.

Is it easy to read Tabitha Nauser's body language? Are you an open book?
Oh my goodness, yes! I'm a Pisces, so I'm a pretty emotional person by nature, and I've had many friends tell me, that I don't hide it very well! Especially if I'm upset or in love.

You talk a lot about empowerment when you mention your music and lyrics. Who's a contemporary musician right now who's empowering to you?
Beyoncé has been such a role model to me and I still relate to her messages of feminism. I think it's important to stand for something and music is such a great avenue to express that in a way that makes it easy for someone else to understand or to start a dialogue about.

What's the latest update on your debut album? We can't wait!
I'm working on putting my EP together right now. It's still a work in progress, I'm still going into the studio every day to record new material, re-record older stuff, just to make sure I have the best of the best for this EP. I don't have a release date just yet, but I'm hoping to have it out early next year.

Tabitha Nauser's music video for 'Body Language' will premiere on 1 November, 1opm on Vevo.