Malaysian Pop Group Dolla Says We are ‘Different’

Feb 1, 2021 | CULTURE, Malaysia, NEWS, POP

M-pop girl band Dolla has been compared to Blackpink since their debut but instead of sulking at what the haters say, the Malaysian superstars are treating it as a career boost. Now, the girl group sings about women empowerment and embracing self-confidence.

Kpop’s influence in Malaysia hangs like a cloud. With songs by Blackpink and BTS blasting on Mall speakers, and even used for election campaigns, k-pop stars have become household names in the country. 

But now, Malaysian pop music artists are cementing their own identity as well.

About Dolla

One of the groups that have emerged in Malaysia is Dolla – a four-member dance-pop girl band based in Kuala Lumpur. Its members include Norsyasya Shahrizal, Tabitha Lam, Sabrina Rusli or Sabronzo, and Angeline Chai. Since they were signed by Universal Music Malaysia in 2019, the group has raised the eyebrows of local and international Blackpink fans. 

For starters, Dolla consists of multi-ethnic members. Two girls are Malay – Syasya, and Sabronzo, while the two others are Chinese – Angel and Tabby. 

The girl group’s debut album “Make You Wanna” drew flak in Malaysia. According to listeners, it simply lacks originality. However, Dolla has not let the haters get to them. 

“We are staying cool and collected because everyone is entitled to their own opinion. If the comments touch on sensitive topics or foul language, we will just ignore them.”

Controversial Blackpink Cover

The comparison gained even more traction after the Malaysian girl group covered Blackpink’s smash hit “Lovesick Girls” on Anugerah Bintang Popular Berita Harian, with most people pointing fingers at them for using the Korean group as a way to gain popularity.  

However, Sabronzo quickly defended her group saying “Actually, the organizers asked us to cover the song. They initially suggested a BTS song, but we felt that BLACKPINK’s song suited us better. We didn’t mind that we couldn’t perform our song that night.”  

She added that they are not the only singers to sing another artist’s song. Since Dolla is still fresh in the industry, they don’t want to be labeled as demanding if they reject the request of organizers.  

“In fact, we’re grateful to be able to stand on this grand stage. We’re very excited to receive such a great opportunity for the first time,” she added, saying that she also understands the feeling of their fans, and hopefully, they get to perform their song next time.

“Despite our claims that we don’t want to be associated with BLACKPINK, that does not mean we can’t appreciate their work.”

Before the release of their “Watch Me Glow” album, the group members addressed rumors that they are only copying Blackpink’s music, style, and dance moves. According to Sabronzo, Dolla only looks up to Blackpink for inspiration.

“I understand that many believe we’re copying Blackpink’s performance styles, but it’s only a coincidence,” she shared.

More than Just a Copy

To say that Dolla is a glaring copy of Korean girl group Blackpink is tempting, especially if you only skim the surface; but once you dive deeper into their music, it’s obvious that this next generation girl group has its own identity. 

Their songs do a great job of touching on important themes like self-confidence and women empowerment – a vital message Malaysian girls need to hear more about. 

“A big part of our dream is to let all the girls out there know that gender is no boundary,” shared group member Tabby.  

“Women are often stereotyped as small and weak, but in ‘Watch Me Glow’ especially, we worked on communicating a fierce and strong energy to show that anyone can achieve big things with enough determination and hard work,” she added.  

While Dolla also has a trap and hip hop sound similar to Blackpink, it’s no reason to resent the group since the genre isn’t exclusive to K-pop. Although the stark similarities can’t be denied, it’s too much to say that Dolla is only a B-class copy of Blackpink.