Mega Update 2…


Ok, I’m back with the second instalment. Actually I had already finished typing all under one mega update but somehow the part on Anugerah Industri Muzik 14 disappeared and I had to retype all over again and add on with my own predictions on who would be the winners at Anugerah Planet Muzik 2007. So without further ado, let’s continue from where I left off…

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Imran Ajmain’s Birthday Showcase

I’ve never heard of an artiste having a birthday showcase before unless someone or his / her fans hold a suprise party. So this was a nice surprise for his ardent supporters, me included. For those who are still sceptical of this amazing performer’s intentions on performing during his birthday when he could have spent it doing other meaningful stuff, no, this event was not about milking the fans off their money through the ticket sales nor badgering for presents. This was a celebration of how far he has progressed over the past year and how much he wanted to share his joy with the fans. And those who attended were there to give him our moral support and show him how much we believe in him.

So on the evening of 25th April 2007, Aida and me went to the Arts House @ The Old Parliament House to savour a great performance from the birthday boy himself. The showcase was due to start at 7:30pm but we were slowed down by the heavy rain that poured relentlessly slightly before Maghrib. We only entered the event area at about 7:55pm. By then it was already packed with the waiting audience but we still managed to get front row seats. The moment we sat down, the showcase started. It felt as though we were the guest-of-honour for them to have waited so long to start the show.


The newly improved “Compromise“, a must listen before I go to sleep…

I’m not going into details as to what actually happened minute by minute. Overall the show showed a lot of positives and improvements in the way Imran connected with the audience and as a performer as a whole. If previously I saw him being a bit laid back and shy to banter with the audience, this time I saw a joker and storyteller who was rich in his delivery and shared a lot of history of his journey in the music world. It was interesting to note how in one photograph taken a few years ago before Singapore Idol started, the likes of Taufik Batisah, Hady Mirza, Mark (B’V Flavor) and Adib (ex-2D, now in The Fabulous Cats) were playing backup vocals to Imran. Fast forward to today, personally I feel things haven’t changed even though 3 of them (Taufik, Hady & Adib) are more well-known in the region than him. Cos through his exceptional songwriting skills, Imran has the edge over the rest and we all know how long a singer’s career can last throughout his life, unless he improvises on other aspects to attain longevity.

A few things were worth mentioning about the showcase. Imran introduced to us a few tweaks he made to some of the songs in his current album, which he will release again in a repackaged version in June. That repackaged album will also include 5 new songs, so it’s gonna be worth the buy. I’m already looking forward to listening to the new version of Compromise, which I can’t stop viewing the clip I took that night, every night before I go to sleep. Then when he sang Siti Nurhaliza‘s “Kau Ku Sayang“, composed by Pot Innuendo, accompanied by a video montage of his niece whom he hasn’t met for quite some time as she’s staying in Holland, I instantly felt the sadness he felt as I thought of my little one waiting for us at home. Imran‘s vocals can lull one into a state of unbewildered sadness if you really immerse yourself in his music.

Imran singing his own rendition of Anuar Zain‘s “Perpisahan“…

I also personally liked the way he switched between “Kata Orang” and Taufik‘s “Sombong” seamlessly. As he and Taufik had written both songs together, there’s bound to be similarities in the melodies and how they both sing their respective songs. He even sang Anuar Zain‘s “Perpisahan” in his own way and flawlessly did not spoil the essence to the song. With such mesmerising showmanship, smooth and soothing vocals, I still find it extremely scandalous and mind-boggling that he is not listed to perform at Anugerah Planet Muzik 2007 tonight.

I’ve heard rumours that he was snubbed due to comments he made in The New Paper last month about our local radio stations should have a rule on playing 60% local music every day. If it’s true that he was snubbed because of this, then I think it’s quite a petty decision though I really hope it’s not. This rule is actually enforced in certain countries and I think if the local industry is to grow, we could have such rules, maybe have a 50-50 or 40-60 amount of local content. It’s not about being ungrateful to the radio stations for playing his songs all these while but I think he has a point somewhat and definitely have the other solo singers and groups in mind. We all want to see our music industry prosper and I think his comments were considerate enough and showed his care for the local musicians. I really really do hope that there are other logical reasons as to why he was not chosen to perform at APM (like they don’t want to jinx him like what happened to Hazrul Nizam in 2004) cos I normally don’t believe in rumours and hearsay until I see or hear it with my own eyes and ears.

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Anugerah Industri Muzik 14

I’m a sucker for awards shows and concerts, remember??? I think this year alone I’ve made a record of sorts attending concerts, awards shows and showcases as compared to previous years. There was Konsert Sinaran Hati, Pesta Perdana 9, Muzika Extravaganza, Imran’s Birthday Showcase, the upcoming APM 2007 and Christina Aguilera concert in June and lastly this event which I religiously attend almost every year – Anugerah Industri Muzik (AIM) in Kuala Lumpur. Since 2001, I’ve been attending like a seasoned professional save for 2004 when I had just started on my current job and last year when Aida got pregnant and was not well enough to go. This year I managed to go because I had another relative’s wedding happening during the same weekend in Subang Jaya so I had very good reasons not to miss this one.

We set out to KL on 27 April 2007 at around 3:00pm, my parents and aunt in my father’s car and my two beloved cousins Ezaad and Julie joining us in my car. We took our time to reach our destination as the weather was a bit fickle as we went along and we took 2 stops along the way. Surprisingly, I did not feel tired at all and drove all the way to Shah Alam where we put up. As it was the May Day weekend, a lot of hotels were booked so we had to settle for Shah Alam. No, we did not stay at the Grand Blue Wave Hotel like the last time. We stayed at Concorde Hotel this time round. It was a case of deja vu for me as I had stayed at this hotel when I attended Anugerah Juara Lagu at Wisma MBSA in Shah Alam in 2000. Since we reached the hotel early, we took the liberty to have an early night, bearing in mind that we were supposed to have a long day the following day.

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A view from my hotel room, slightly different from the last time I went there but still facing the mosque…

After breakfast, we set off for my relative’s place at Subang Jaya for the marriage solemnisation ceremony. We did not spend long there, heck we did not even eat since we were still full from breakfast at the hotel. By noon we (Ezaad, Julie, Aida and me) were off to KL to check into Crowne Princess Hotel. My parents and aunt remained at my relative’s place to help out for the next day’s proceedings. Normally if I were to attend AIM, I would stay at Pan Pacific Hotel (now known as Seri Pacific Hotel), which is just next to the event venue, Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC). But I only managed to secure tickets to the event about two weeks before we set off so I missed out on booking the hotel, which was fully booked. Speaking of securing the tickets, this was another challenging affair. In years past, I had relied on my contacts over there to get them for me. However, some have left the industry while others were not attending the event, so it was difficult to get them. Luckily I managed to contact the organisers (Persatuan Akademi Industri Muzik) and got them via courier. It felt quite satisfying to not rely on my contacts as I always feel bad whenever I asked them to get the tickets for me, cos I didn’t like the idea of knowing them just to gain leverage or enjoy certain benefits.

After dumping our luggage in our respective rooms, the four of us set off for KLCC via LRT. The Ampang Park station, which was opposite our hotel, was just a station stop away from KLCC. I wasn’t actually keen on the idea of going since I had been there just a few weeks before that. But I just tagged along all the same. The moment we reached KLCC, we split up and looked for our own stuff. I just bought a magazine and looked around at Tower Records. My eyes nearly popped out when I saw a particular album cover which had the singer clad in bra and panties. I thought the singer was a Malay but she’s actually a Eurasian. Her name’s Hannah T. Seems that she’s Malaysia‘s answer to Tata Young from the various information I looked up on her. We did not stay long, left KLCC within an hour as I wanted to rest before working out at the hotel’s fitness centre.

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The sign prohibits basking and loitering around, you won’t find these rulings at our MRT stations…

We managed to stop by Manhattan Fish Shoppe and Pizza Hut which was also opposite our hotel, and bought lunch and dinner, just in case we got back late from AIM and the food shops were closed / we’re too lazy to go out. It was considered pay back time for me since I did not get to eat at Fish & Co. the last time I went there and I wasn’t disappointed as the food at Manhattan was to die for. After lunch, I took an hour’s nap and then went off to the fitness centre to workout and then a dip at the swimming pool. By the time I got back to the room at 5:45pm, it was a mad rush to get ready for the event, since we had promised the other couple, we were to leave the hotel at 6:30pm. In the end, we set off at 6:45pm via cab, no thanks to yours truly’s intricate dressing-up.

The PWTC was not far away, just about 10 minutes drive. My decision not to drive to the venue was spot on as there were no more parking spaces left. The PWTC was not only hosting AIM but also an international book fair on the same day, hence you could understand the scarceness of the parking spaces and also the crowd that had gathered there. We quickly moved to the 5th floor where we were supposed to enter the auditorium. In years past, we had to stand in the queue as early as 6:30pm to get a good seat but I was surprised, we were actually the first this time and others soon followed suit when they saw us moving towards the entrance of the auditorium. We did not have to wait long as the doors were opened at 7:15pm. We headed straight to the place where I normally sit, which was to the right when we face the stage.

Once settled at our seats, I excused myself from the rest as I wanted to go down to the 4th floor to soak in the atmosphere at the Red Carpet event. In years past, I did not get to see what transpired at this pre-show event, so this year, I thought why not I see what the hype was all about. I managed to camp at a very strategic spot, slightly after where the press photographers were stationed. It helped that I had an overzealous fan next to me who helped to stop the artistes from walking on and for us to snap photographs of them. It was nice to see the artistes walking along in their full regalia and within touching distance. The only disappointment was not seeing Siti Nurhaliza walking along. During this red carpet event, I also got to meet Abang Bard who works for Suria Records and also part of the AIM organising committee. I have not met him since APM 2005, as he had left the entertainment industry briefly to concentrate on his family business. He thought I did not have tickets to the show but I said I did. It was nice to see him as we exchanged pleasantries and caught up on old times.

Click here to view photographs of the Red Carpet event and the main show itself.

 

Sofaz performing “Janjiku“. Apologies if the backup vocals spoilt the performance…

The main show itself was much much different from years past. Besides the addition of Adibah Noor to the stable of hosts (Afdlin Shauki & Bob Lokman), this year the show took a leaf out of Pesta Perdana 9 by keeping the winning speeches to a mere 30 seconds. Apparently they had to finish by 11:00pm as they normally drag on till way past midnight previously. Which answered the question as to why there were fewer performances this time round. I must say I enjoyed most, if not all of the performances. From the start where we watched M. Nasir dancing to Tujuh Nafas Lagi right through to the finale’s Double Trouble (Search & Wings) performance, I was singing to every song that were sung, as you can listen from the video clips I took that night. It was also good to scout at new talents who were nominated at APM2007 like Noryn Aziz, Farhan and Izwan Pilus. I must say they showed that their nominations were justified. As for the winners, I felt it was evenly balanced and fair. No controversies or grumbles heard and I think that should be the way in an industry which is fierce in its bitching and backstabbings.

 

Here’s the real McCoy singing “Perpisahan“…

After the event ended at about 11:10pm, I dragged the other three down to the main auditorium where the celebrities sat. We were seated on the 5th floor where the paying audience sat. Compared to previous years, this was not a sell-out show. Normally our area would be very packed with people seated on the staircases as well. Even the 6th floor would be full but not this time. The 6th floor only had a handful number of people seated up there. I was looking out for artistes that I liked whom I could take photographs with but none were my favourites. Julie was busy looking out for Awie. She was on a mission to get Awie‘s photograph or better still, a video clip of him for her pregnant colleague who simply idolises him. It wasn’t long before we met him entertaining some fans backstage. Julie got her wish and I bet her colleague must be damn happy about it. But there was something negative about Awie that night which I won’t elaborate further other than his speech was slightly slurred and his eyes were glazed.

 

Noryn Aziz, Siti Nurhaliza, Aishah and Jaclyn Victor performing a tribute to the late Seha of Freedom, singing their massive hit “Mulanya Di Sini“…

I had wanted to go to the post-event reception, just like in years past. Somehow, I did not attend it as the entrance to the event was being blocked by security who wanted to see invitation passes to it. I did not have any so we all ended up walking along the secret passageway linking the Seri Pacific Hotel to PWTC, in hope of seeing any celebrities we could take photographs with, notably Siti who is known not to attend post-event receptions. By 11:45pm, we had to go back to our hotel as Ezaad and I wanted to watch the highlights of the English Premiership games played that night. We did not meet other artistes other than M. Nasir and Sharifah Aleya who walked past us. Later on I found out, Siti did indeed attend the post-event reception. Guess married life has changed her stance towards such events, I suppose.

 

Superb finale by Search & Wings, the original Double Trouble

The next day, we checked out after another round of hearty breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant and headed straight back to Subang Jaya for the wedding again. We spent about two hours or so there before heading back to Singapore. We dropped Ezaad and Julie at Subang Parade, where a cab was waiting to drive them down to Kuala Lumpur International Airport. They had a Hindi concert to catch later on that evening at the Esplanade, hence the need to return home early. For us, we wanted to see our daughter as soon as possible. It was an extremely sleepy journey back home as I felt sleepy throughout. I managed to catch a half-hourly nap at Ayer Keroh and Machap just to keep my eyes afreshed. We reached Singapore at about 6:15pm, some 45 minutes after the other couple had touched down at Changi Airport. I was thinking, had they followed us, we could have reached Singapore around the same time, but I don’t blame them as we could not foresee if there would be a massive traffic jam along the North-South Highway or not. Still I wished we could do this some time together again as it was all fun and laughter throughout, especially with the hubbies taking turns to bully each other’s wife…

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Anugerah Planet Muzik 2007 Predictions

And so, this is it!!! The big day has finally arrived!!! I’d like to gaze into my crystal ball and come up with thoughts of my own as to who would come out trumps. I might sound biased at times, I might be correct and I might be wrong but even if it’s meant to be in the name of fun, I’m taking this a bit seriously, being a fierce critic of the Malay music scene. I’ve already got some juicy news to share about APM2007 from what I’ve heard so far, but I’ll put that in my review of the event later on, as I dunno if they are true or not until I’ve watched the show. So here goes:

Artis Baru Lelaki Terbaik / Best New Male Artiste

Faizal AF4
Imran Ajmain
Irwansyah
Izwan Pilus

Predictions: Irwansyah
Trust me, I hate to pick Irwansyah for the fact he cannot sing live as compared to the other 3 in this category. I think it’s a no-brainer that I would pick Imran above all but I have to be realistic. When it comes to judging, the regional jury would also be looking at how well-known a particular artiste is in the other countries. As it is, through the movie Heart, Irwansyah is a big hit in all three countries, whereas I doubt Indonesia would have heard of Faizal, Imran and Izwan. Just like how Hazrul Nizam lost out to Ferhad in 2004, back then I felt Ferhad was more well-known and recognised in Malaysia while Hazrul was considered a kampung champion. Still I hope common sense would prevail and give the award to Imran. He deserves it more, really.

Artis Baru Wanita Terbaik / Best New Female Artiste

Acha Septriasa
Farhan AF4
Noryn Aziz
Rika Roslan
Terry

Predictions: Acha Septriasa
My opinions are the same as the one above. I wished it could be anyone but Acha. I have not heard of Rika‘s music but after watching Noryn, Farhan and Terry before, I feel they could also be worthy winners, but again there’s that matter of being known around the region. If Irwansyah wins his category then I really believe his real-life girlfriend would follow suit as well.

Duo / Kumpulan Baru Terbaik / Best New Duo / Group

Kerispatih
Letto
Nidji
Reya
Samsons

Predictions: Samsons
They’ve shown what a force they are to be reckoned with, having won numerous awards at Anugerah Musik Indonesia 2006 and lately at Anugerah Industri Muzik 14. Who’s to say they will not add one more to that trophy haul??? But it won’t be easy since the others in the group are equally good in their own rights.

Artis Lelaki Terbaik / Best Male Artiste

Ari Lasso
Glenn Fredly
Iwan Fals
Marcell
M. Nasir

Predictions: Iwan Fals
It’s easy for the average fan to pick M. Nasir, Marcell or even Glenn Fredly as the rest are not that well-known over here, especially the choice of my pick. But Iwan Fals is very much under-rated over here when he has been receiving outstanding reviews and gaining respect over the years for his contributions to the music industry.

Artis Wanita Terbaik / Best Female Artiste

Agnes Monica
Audy
Jaclyn Victor
Noryn Aziz
Siti Nurhaliza

Predictions: Siti Nurhaliza
Jaclyn might have pipped Siti at Anugerah Industri Muzik 14 for Best Female Vocal Performance in an Album but I doubt history would repeat itself. While I also love Agnes Monica‘s vocal range and respect Noryn Aziz and Audy, I’ll go with the heart and pick Siti for the award.

Duo / Kumpulan Terbaik / Best Duo / Group

Dewa 19
Kerispatih
Letto
Samsons
Ungu

Predictions: Samsons
Actually this category is very open and if given a choice, I’d choose Dewa 19. But as I had mentioned earlier, Samsons‘ star and stock seems to be on the rise at the moment and this momentum will spill over to APM2007

Lagu Terbaik / Best Song

Biarlah Rahsia – Siti Nurhaliza
Cinta Terakhir – Ari Lasso
Demi Waktu – Ungu
Hapus Aku – Nidji
Juwita Citra Terindah – M. Nasir
Kenangan Terindah – Samsons

Predictions: Kenangan Terindah – Samsons
Really this is a tough call to make as all the other songs nominated are strong and have a place in the hearts of listeneners. But I have a feeling, through emotions captured and how lasting an impression it made with its simplicity in execution, Kenangan Terindah takes the cake. How else can I explain its haunting popularity in the region???

Album Terbaik / Best Album

Dewa 19 – Republik Cinta
Kerispatih – Kerispatih
M. Nasir – Sang Pencinta
Nidji – Breakthrough
Samsons – Naluri Lelaki
Siti Nurhaliza – Transkripsi

Predictions: Siti Nurhaliza – Transkripsi
No, I’m not choosing Siti cos of my soft spot for her but because Transkripsi is one of the best albums she has produced. Coupled with the fact that the album was chosen to be the Best Album at AIM14, there is a strong possibility that Siti will add one more to her collection.

Artis Terbaik Singapura / Best Singapore Artiste

Bhumiband
Imran Ajmain
Iskandar Ismail
Norazela Rosli
Sound Salvation

Predictions: Imran Ajmain
I think of the 5, he has been one of the most hardworking and known, ever since he released “Sudah Tu Sudah” in April last year. Not only is his vocal range superb, his reputation as a songwriter is fast gaining recognition, so overall as a package, I’m going for him, not only because I am a firm believer of his amazing talents…

Lagu Terbaik Singapura / Best Singapore Song

Goda – Bhumiband
Kau – Merah
Sombong – Taufik Batisah
Sudah Tu Sudah – Imran Ajmain
Usah Lepaskan – Taufik Batisah


Predictions: Usah Lepaskan – Taufik Batisah
I dunno how to explain how I’ve come to this conclusion, but I guess it’s due to its simplicity and haunting tune. Any other way I look at it, a win for Taufik is also a win for Imran as he had co-written both Taufik songs with Taufik himself.

Album Terbaik Singapura / Best Singapore Album

Imran Ajmain – Dengan Secara Kebetulan
Iskandar Ismail – Dengar & Lihat
Norazela Rosli – Di Sini Menanti
Bhumiband – Konspirasi Dunia
Malex

Predictions: Imran Ajmain – Dengan Secara Kebetulan
For me, this is a no-brainer even if the rest in the group should be respected and lauded. Why I picked Imran‘s album is because almost every song in the album has been played on radio and received well by listeners. “Sudah Tu Sudah“, “Ghaibmu“, “Seribu Tahun“, “Apa Salah Beta?“, “Kata Orang“, “Taurus (Penawar Rindu)” and “Malu” have been hits before or currently being hits on the local Malay music charts. Compare this to songs from the others, chances are people will only remember Bhumiband‘s “Goda” and the rest would not even register itself in people’s minds.

Popular Categories

Ok for the following, I will not list out the nominees and instead go straight to my choice of who would win.

Artis Singapura Paling Popular / Most Popular Singapore Artiste: Taufik Batisah
Lagu Singapura Paling Popular / Most Popular Singapore Song: Usah Lepaskan – Taufik Batisah
Artis Lelaki Serantau Paling Popular / Most Popular Regional Male Artiste: Taufik Batisah
Artis Wanita Serantau Paling Popular / Most Popular Regional Female Artiste: Siti Nurhaliza
Duo / Kumpulan Serantau Paling Popular / Most Popular Regional Duo / Group: Samsons
Lagu Paling Popular / Most Popular Song: My Heart – Irwansyah & Acha Septriasa

I underestimated the powers of the FiknatiksTaufik‘s die-hard fans – last year when I predicted that Mawi was going to win the Most Popular Male Award. So this time I am sure his fans are going out in full force again to pick him as the Most Popular Male at the awards show. The only time the other Singapore artistes have a chance is if Taufik and Hady are out of the picture. Personally I feel they are just there to make up the numbers, without disrespecting them. The same goes for Siti. She’s won the award for the past 6 years consecutively and a 7th one beckons even after marriage. As for duo / group, I’m going for Samsons cos of logical reasons. Likewise the choice for “My Heart“. It’s the Song of the Year as far as I know. Got sick of it everytime I switched stations between RIA 89.7FM, Warna 94.2FM, Era 104.5FM and Hot 90.1 FM

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So there you have it, the end of the second instalment of my mega update. I hope it’s been a fruitful wait to listen and read my thoughts on stuff that had happened over the past two months. I hope you won’t have to wait another two months to read my thoughts again. Well you can be sure my next entry would be a review of APM2007, so watch this space!!!



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