Despite being formed right before the pandemic started, Dolla – a multi-ethnic group that comprises Angel, Sabrina aka Sabronzo, Syasya and Tabby and the brainchild of Universal Music Malaysia – has come a long way since their first audition. From releasing multiple singles and album to appearing in advertisements for various brands and getting nominated and winning awards in three local competitions namely Bintang Popular Berita Harian Awards, Women of Excellence Awards and Anugerah Meletop Era 2021, Dolla has also gone international by appearing on the iconic billboard at Times Square, New York City. We had a chat with three of them (minus Syasya who wasn’t available at the time of interview) and got an insight into what you can expect from their upcoming performance at the Good Vibes Festival.
Flashing back a little, can you walk us through how Dolla was formed?
Tabby: “Yes! So we went for an audition that was held by Universal Music Malaysia and we didn’t know one another. We had to sing, rap and dance, and the four of us were picked to form this girl group. There were other hopefuls in the audition but somehow, we were lucky that we got chosen. We then met for the first time and that’s how it all started. There was chemistry and we realised that we all connected on the same level and ended up sharing the same vision for this group as well.”
So what’s the vision that all four of you share in terms of taking Dolla to greater heights?
Sabronzo: “Although we come from different backgrounds, we were able to sing and dance together while still maintaining our own personalities. We trusted one another and knew that we could go big, so we put in all our efforts into making sure we worked towards performing on big stages and making songs that our fans want to hear. We love to entertain people and put on a good show. This is something beautiful about our country; we have so many different races, cultures and backgrounds, and when we put them all together, we have this beautiful mix that’s different from other countries’.”
What awards do you guys dream of nabbing and how far do you guys see yourselves going?
Angel: “Personally, our focus is more on putting out good music and quality content for our fans. If we had to pick, it’ll be really cool to win something at the MTV Awards, but I think a lot of the success that we’ve already achieved comes from the hard work that we’ve put in. We’re also super lucky to have fans who continue to support us. We only dare to dream of these things because we have a label, Universal Music Malaysia, and supportive friends and family too.”
What has been your best moment as a group so far?
Tabby: “It would be our first ever Dolla mini showcase at the Nero Event Space in One Utama. This was the first event where we got to interact with our fans after the MCO. There was a fairly large gathering of fans singing our songs and they knew the lyrics well. It was a special meet-and-greet session and we cried. It was the first time we got out of “the jungle” and despite having seen them on social media, it was different when we saw them face to face. After all, we’re doing what we do for other people, so that human interaction is important.”
Angel: “I must say the Times Square Billboard feature was pretty iconic – only because I’ve been there as a child and looked at all these billboards. You see all the celeb faces and high fashion brands, and never thought you’d see yourself there one day.”
Sabronzo: “Another one would be our first trip together outside of work. We went to Langkawi recently and had a great time there!”
You guys have revealed before that Ariane Grande is someone you’d like to collaborate with. What about a local artiste or group?
Tabby: “Locally, we’ve all kind of decided that we’d like to collaborate with someone from a different genre, so we’d love to work with ForceParkBois, a local hip-hop group. We’re currently manifesting it, so fingers crossed!”
When it comes to having some free time, what’s your guilty pleasure?
Sabronzo: “On our off days, we like to sleep in cos we don’t to do get that on a normal day. There are days when we have to work on the weekends too, so our spare time can be any time of the week when we get to indulge in our guilty pleasure. I personally enjoy going to cafes and aesthetic places to chill.”
Tabby: “For me, it’d be going out to buy groceries. I find it very calming to do and enjoy it.”
Angel: “I’m a gamer, so it’d be getting to sit at home and play games, and not see the world for a bit.”
What’s your go-to mantra to get back on your feet when things have not gone your way?
Sabronzo: “The one thing we always remind one another is that communication is key. Especially between us girls and in a group, we don’t want anything to be misunderstood. We also remind ourselves that nothing is personal, and that work is work. No comment or criticism is meant to attack anyone on a personal level and it is for the group to be better. We also remind one another that there is a bigger goal and we just have to work it out. There’s definitely tension on and off as well as constructive criticism between us on our behaviour and scheduling, so we need to constantly discuss everything. NGL, we do have our bickers here and there.”
Angel, what’s your take on criticism and how do you bounce back from it?
Angel: “Personally, I don’t look at criticism much. Everyone has their own view about things and you can’t control what others say. At the end of the day, I’d do what I feel is best for myself and the things that can improve myself as a person. When all fails, I remind myself that I have dreams and things I want to do. If I don’t make them happen, they won’t happen, so I need to go on to make these things come true.”
Sabronzo, what does style mean to you? Who is the fashion icon you’ve always looked up to and why?
Sabronzo: “Style is basically an expansion of who you are – professionally and as a person. Whatever you wear, that’s how you choose to present yourself and be received by people. An icon I’ve always looked up to is Hailey Bieber. I’ve never been much of a hardcore fashion girl and although I love fashion, I’m not a fashionista. I get most of my inspiration from influencers on Instagram and Pinterest, and travelling abroad. I recently went to London and liked how unique their style was. I just take little things that I like from here and there to create my look. As long as I’m comfortable and I like it, it’s all good!”
Tabby, in your own words, how would you describe success for yourself and for Dolla?
Tabby: “Success is very subjective for me and Dolla separately, but as long as we’re happy doing what we love to do and constantly trying our best to make improvements to the group, our music, our work and for myself, that’s the true meaning of success. No matter how rich, famous and many awards you win, it doesn’t bring much meaning if you’re unhappy. To keep our fans and celebrate the success of the people we love also count as success.”
Do you have nicknames for one another?
Sabronzo: “We don’t have nicknames for one another, but I call the girls using the first syllable of their names, so it’s like Ange, Sya and Tabs.”
Who is the mum-like figure in the group?
Sabronzo: “That’ll be Tabby!”
On a scale of 1 to 10, how excited are you girls to perform at Good Vibes Festival and is there a surprise element that fans can expect from you?
Angel: “25! (laughs) It’s been our dream to perform at this festival since we started Dolla and it’s something really exciting for us. On the forefront, we have our main songs, but there will be a surprise and we’re possibly releasing a new song too!”
What are some of the other things that Dolla has lined up for the rest of the year?
Sabronzo: “The first thing is coming up in less than a month; we have a single and collab with Diana Danielle. We also have another single that’ll be released in December. The line-up is about to come out, but we’re waiting for the right timing. In terms of plans, we hope that we’ll be able to spread our wings and perform out of Malaysia!”
Catch Dolla on Day One of the Good Vibes Festival.
Featured image: @dolla.official