As a child, when Umar Zakaria saw the double-bassist play in an army band in New Zealand, he almost immediately knew that was the instrument he wanted to take up.
While studying jazz at high school, Zakaria was listening to a lot of Dizzy Gillespie's music.
Zakaria recalls coming across a story about how Dizzie asked his pianist, Panamanian Danilo Pérez, something to the effect of "when are you going to deal with the music of where you're from?"
It was a quest that jazz musicians at the time like Yusuf Lateef were all beginning to explore by going on journeys to Africa to discover their own musical roots.
Inspired by jazz greats like these, Zakaria delved into his own Malay roots and the melange of influences it comprises - Arabic, Indian, indigenous Malay, Portuguese.
Over the past decade or so, Zakaria's interpretations of the ornamentations of Malay music in his jazz compositions has seen a solid response.
It's an ongoing journey of discovery which he calls Fearless Music, and along the way, being named Best Jazz Artist in 2018 by Recorded Music New Zealand, are encouraging junctures for Zakaria.
Right now he's in the thick of his PhD at Victoria University these days, which is based on Malay contemporary musicians.
Listen to Zakaria's full interview on this week's Voices with Kadambari Raghukumar - where he talks about his love for Wellington, Malaysian genres of music, and straddling his New Zealand, Singapore, and Malay identities through music.