Afyq’s life as an Imperial student in the day, Spotify artist by night fall

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Although physics and music are two wildly separate fields, Queen’s lead guitarist and astrophysicist Brian May proved to us that when combined, they can make life meaningful.

Much like May, Nor Afyq Eyzar bin Abu Zaharof’s interest in the two has sparked him to study physics at one of the Russell Group universities and produce music as a hobby. Afyq is a KYSER from the class of 2017.

Educational Background

High School

Afyq attended Kolej Yayasan Saad Melaka (KYS) during his high school years and found his calling in physics as soon as he entered form four. 

Realising his fascination with the subject, he entered the sub-science stream focusing on physics, chemistry, and economics. He then achieved straight A’s for his SPM.

Afyq and his family during SPM results day

“I grasp concepts pretty fast and once I do, everything else follows suit.”

His stellar SPM results did not come as a shock as Afyq fondly recalled the day he received his IGCSE results in Form 4. He initially could not believe that he obtained 4 A*s as most of his academically bright classmates received solid A’s for Additional Mathematics. 

Award for High Achievement in IGCSE (4A*). Afyq with his history teacher, Mr. Ramachandra.

Apart from studying, Afyq played the trumpet for the KYS Orchestra from Form 1 up until Form 4. According to him, it was this extracurricular activity that cultivated his passion for music.

Afyq in KYS Orchestra

Pre-university: the KYUEM experience

After graduating from KYS, Afyq went to Kolej Yayasan UEM (KYUEM) for his A-levels, taking up physics, chemistry, and mathematics. 

“There’s a lot of pressure in KYS that pushes you to do well. It either makes you or breaks you. I was fortunate enough that the pressure pushed my boundaries.”

As he was in the constant presence of high-achieving students, he said that the environment made him adapt seamlessly to KYUEM’s lifestyle and motivated him to achieve excellent academic grades.

On top of that, he mentioned that KYUEM specialises in guiding students through the university application process which immensely helped him in terms of documentation, eligibility criteria, and much more. 

Despite having a profound interest in physics, making a major decision for his future made him question his options. He was on the fence about which course would suit him best and even considered pursuing mathematics or computer Science. After researching the course structure and modules of each programme, he finally decided to continue with physics for his degree.

While focusing on his studies and university applications, Afyq did not shy away from his favourite pastime as he was the president of KYUEM’s Music Club. During his presidency, the music club conducted various charity programmes, open mic events, and band performances. 

Undergraduate: thriving in Imperial

Upon completing A-levels, Afyq was offered to study at Imperial College for a Bachelor’s Degree in physics.

“It’s very international in Imperial. You get to meet people from different countries and backgrounds.”

Afyq and his mom at the Imperial College Physics Department

Before attending the university, he heard rumours that its students led stressful lifestyles. Afyq refutes this by saying that Imperial College would be the right place for those who are passionate about their subjects as they would be surrounded by like-minded individuals.

Although it’s true that students at Imperial College adopt a very serious studying culture, he said that he enjoys it as he prefers staying in to do work.

Naturally gravitating towards music, Afyq became the drummer for the Imperial College Mnight band at Imperial. 

He even took the initiative to start an open mic in his apartment living room with his flatmates showcasing a vast array of performances ranging from soothing melodies to fast-paced hardcore rap.

Imperial’s Malaysian Society Band

Pursuing a deep passion for music

Afyq takes one step further in expressing his love for music by writing, singing, and producing all of his songs. He describes the genre of music he produces as a mixture of Bedroom Pop, Independent and Indie.

“There are nights when I feel stressed out and the only way to level my head is to get something out – that’s when I start writing songs.” 

Afyq wrote his first song when he arrived in the UK and began to write more as a form of therapy.

He ended up creating his first album, ‘Cloudburst’ which included a few Malay songs that allowed him to return to his roots.

Explaining its concept, Afyq believes that it is not always easy to recognise a feeling or emotion and ‘Cloudburst’ highlights just how normal that state should be.

Cloudburst album Cover

He added that the cover of his album is an illustration of two buildings in opposite colour schemes depicting two contrasting emotions; joy and sadness.

His latest single

Afyq has just released his new single, ‘too close to the sun’. He said it references Icarus, the son of the master craftsman Daedalus in Greek mythology, and his reckless behaviour of flying dangerously near to the sun with wings made out of feathers and wax. 

Tragically, the wax in his wings had melted causing him to fall to a watery death in the sea. The flight of Icarus might be viewed as a tale of balance, equilibrium, and moderation.

The lyrics of this song share a common theme with Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet where acting impulsively will only lead to tragedy. And just like Icarus, the consequences did not seem worth restraining the passion he felt.

To resonate better, Afyq encourages listeners to come up with their own interpretation of the song.

Plans for the future

Afyq aims to land a job at a multinational tech company. He said that the jobs in the field tend to pay well due to their rapidly progressive environment. In his physics course, he enjoys learning programming languages such as Python which further solidifies his ambition to work in the tech industry.  

Reflecting on his music that is gradually blooming, he confessed that doing it professionally would also be a dream. 

Although he is still early in his journey, Afyq’s determination to work hard has already propelled him to achieve great heights.

To stream Afyq’s songs and follow his social media platforms, do visit Afyq Eyzar!

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