Soulful and self-assured, singer Yazmin Aziz has captivated the hearts of Malaysians with her powerful voice. Here, the artist of Malay and Filipino descent revealS even greater things on the horizon.
Sequinned jacket: Longchamp.
At the age of 22, singer-songwriter Yazmin Aziz is the perfect embodiment of BURO's January editorial theme, All or Nothing. A young star on the rise with many accomplishments already under her belt, she has showcased remarkable tenacity in building her career as an independent artist.

Yazmin arrives at the cover shoot accompanied by her mother, Rina, exuding a sense of complete ease and confidence that belies her status as a newcomer in the industry. In fact, one might easily overlook the reality that she's just at the beginning of her career. When I inquire about this apparent maturity, she responds with a smile, "I think I've always had the mindset that if you're confident—not overly so, just the right amount—it adds an extra push to what you're doing. Essentially, it's about maintaining a positive mindset."

Following that, the process of hair and makeup is a breeze, given her striking beauty—a seamless task that owes much to her captivating mix of distinct Malay-Filipino features and lush, voluminous black hair. Without further delay, the shoot starts on a positive note, with Yazmin dressed fully in the Longchamp University SS24 collection.

The line—comprising seventies flared pants, peasant blouses, gypsy skirts, Bermuda shorts, varsity jackets and sweatshirts—embodies the epitome of bohemian fashion, drawing inspiration from Parisian university culture. Curious about her personal style, I ask Yazmin, who replies, "Much like this collection, it can be elegantly versatile with a pop of colour here and there."
Varsity jacket and dress: Both Longchamp.
It is said that Filipinos have a natural inclination for music, and this holds particularly true for Yazmin, who was raised in a household with a strong musical influence between Metro Manila, Philippines and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. With a (biological) father skilled in playing multiple instruments, music became her constant companion. From a young age, she realised her innate talent for singing and set her sights on making it a career.

"I think I was five when I told my mum I wanted to be a superstar," she jokes. "In all seriousness, after going on stage a few times, it was at the age of 12 when I knew that this was something that I wanted to pursue for a living," she continues.

Blessed with an authentic, powerful voice that radiates warmth, Yazmin possesses the skill to evoke the emotions of her listeners beautifully. In tracing the roots of her inspiration, she cites the esteemed singer Lea Salonga, a Broadway luminary and a global success. "She's a Filipino singer who made it globally. She started young and broke barriers along the way, so naturally, I find a lot to relate to in her story."

Embracing a more contemporary influence, Yazmin also draws inspiration from Lady Gaga, valuing her versatility as a singer and her ability to push artistic boundaries.
In her DNA
Upon relocating to Malaysia at the age of 10, Yazmin's teenage years were defined by active participation in singing competitions while she attended secondary school. Reflecting on her early experiences, she recalls, "The first time I competed here was during a Maybank talent competition in 2012. I joined and won second place."

As a university student, Yazmin had already established herself as a thriving recording artist, capturing the attention of the nation. During this period, she dedicated herself to making her own music. It was then that she released Heart & Soul, a song composed of acoustic lo-fi beats with lyrics detailing the discovery of love in her life.

Her musical journey also took her to California, United States, for the 2017 World Championships of Performing Arts—an international competition featuring representatives from 70 countries. At this event, Yazmin achieved several wins, securing a silver medal and an industry award.

Next came Big Stage Season 4, launching her career into mainstream Malaysian music in 2022. For the uninitiated, the show is a reality singing competition on national television that highlights the burgeoning talents within the country's music landscape. Serving as a launching pad, Big Stage plays a huge role for individuals seeking to kick off their music careers.

"It definitely opened doors to a new audience. So many people want to join the competition, and I felt like I would never have gotten a chance as an independent singer who's not under a label. Thankfully, one of the producers recognised my videos on TikTok, and I was called on their last day of auditions," she explains. Ultimately, Yazmin was named the third runner-up in the competition.
Dress: Longchamp.
It would be remiss to discuss Yazmin's rise to stardom without acknowledging her TikTok acclaim. With a burgeoning following of 1.3 million and counting, she has cultivated both a name and a community on the social platform. Yet, her TikTok presence extends beyond the typical singing or dancing fare. Instead, she shares intimate glimpses of her family, offers comedic perspectives on current trends, and embodies her ever-popular 'Best Friend' (or 'Besprenn') persona—a character inspired by the qualities of her mother's closest friend in the Philippines. Like many TikTok enthusiasts, Yazmin's journey on the platform gained momentum during the COVID-19 lockdown.

"I wasn't initially keen on joining; it was mainly my sister who used it a lot. I saw people dancing, and it didn't feel like something that suited me," she shares. "But then I realised it's actually a lot of fun. It's enjoyable to watch but also fun to create content. TikTok is more than just dancing and creating silly videos; it's very educational."

This realisation prompted Yazmin to embrace her authentic self and share insights about her Malaysian-Filipino identity. "I have two personas. Sometimes, I'm quiet and reserved; other times, I'm loud, chaotic, and very 'Best Friend'—you know, pure Filipina. Not many people open up about being Malaysian-Filipino. I'm happy because I get to represent them. I started teaching people about Filipino culture, and they enjoyed it," she says. One of her most-watched videos on the platform to date is a tutorial on preparing Sinigang na Baka, a classic Filipino tamarind-based broth, amassing an impressive 4.3 million views.
TikTok triumph
Over time, her alter-ego became a source of inspiration for women. "Most of my followers are females. When I created this persona, I envisioned a best friend who is loud, super funny, and uplifting. During the peak of COVID-19, many people were feeling down and dealing with depression and anxiety. Thanks to 'Best Friend', she lifted so many girls, supported women, and helped people through breakups and other issues."
Skirt and top: Both Longchamp.
Yazmin draws inspiration for her music from a myriad of experiences, encompassing love, heartbreaks, and moments of independence that unfold throughout her day-to-day. Reflecting on her diverse musical preferences, she describes it as multifaceted, mirroring the varied moods within a person.

"There's never a strict this or that for me. One moment, you might catch me listening to soulful ballads, and the next, it could be intense head-banging tunes," she declares.
Owning it
This diversity extends to the music she puts out, which can seamlessly transition from lo-fi to heavy pop, reflecting her emotional state at any given moment. In essence, Yazmin aspires to be recognised as an artist driven by passion, capable of sharing her voice in ways that resonate with others. The evolution of her music mirrors the evolution of her life, as most of her released songs are original compositions.

"I, like everyone else, navigate the ups and downs of life. Through my music, I hope to offer relatable stories that connect with listeners on a personal level."
Being born and raised with two different cultures has presented numerous challenges for an artist striving to succeed in Malaysia. The primary hurdle is the language barrier. "Upon fully moving here, the language was a shock for me. I knew nothing. I literally only knew makan or baju. I really had to step up and ensure that I learned the language, especially being in the industry. So yeah, I just kept learning."

Yazmin's star radiates ever brighter as she extends her remarkable list of achievements. In 2022, she illuminated the stage at the prestigious Monte Carlo Fashion Week in Monaco. Notably, last year saw her performing for the Philippines' President, Ferdinand Marcos Jr, and subsequently, at a private event hosted for the Prime Minister of Malaysia. Continuing her streak of accomplishments, Yazmin recently earned the esteemed Outstanding Vocal Achievement award at the 2023 Shanghai Honourable Women Entrepreneurs Business Awards in Malaysia.
This year, Yazmin looks forward to expanding her presence in foreign music markets, particularly in East Asia. "I want to cross boundaries by showcasing what I do outside of Malaysia. There are endless opportunities. I want to inspire others like me who started with just a dream," she exclaims. The singer has plans to release several songs, one of which will be a collaboration with the acclaimed music producer DJ Fuzz. Additionally, Yazmin hinted at a duet with a well-known American producer, keeping the details under wraps for now.

Offering a final piece of advice, Yazmin emphasises the power of manifestation. "There's something special about manifesting; when you actively engage in it, things tend to come true more effectively than merely sitting down and hoping," she says.

Yazmin attributes her past successes to this positive mindset and encourages everyone to declare their goals with unwavering conviction by affirming, "One day, I will get there!"
The road ahead
Blazer, bag and shoes: All Longchamp. Jeans: Yazmin's own.
Editor-in-chief, TEXT & STYLING / Sarah Hani Jamil
CREATIVE DIRECTION & layout design / Sarah Tai
Videography / Dennis Kho
Makeup / ALVIN LOH