I might have haggled and procrastinated whether to go up to Kuala Lumpur to attend this event in the weeks leading up to it. Coupled with the fact that the wife has just given birth to our second daughter only made it a little worse. But the wife gave her full blessings, so I went and here I am back and fresh with a review of Anugerah Planet Muzik 2008 (APM2008). Apologies once again for the delay in posting this, as I had wanted to read the reactions from the foreign media and trawl online forums to get a feel of what others were saying about this event before I say my piece.
Even though I had won two tickets from the radio phone-in contest organised by RIA 89.7FM, I gave both away eventually when KRU Singapore (Jihan & Janna) offered to have me seated amongst the bevy of artistes in attendance together with them. In a way, I was a KRU Music Group staff for the day. I mean, who would be dumb enough not to be seated near the industry bigwigs when you are presented with the golden opportunity right??? Or so I thought (more of that later). Besides the usual aspects of the show that I tend to look into, this time I will tell it as it is from the perspective of a fan, the artistes, the Internet forums and from the media.
We (me, Janna and her two cousins, Jihan was already with the other artistes under KRU‘s stable) left the official hotel (Impiana-KLCC) of APM2008 where we were putting up, for the event venue (Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre) slightly after Maghrib. When we were leaving, we managed to catch some of the artistes hanging around at the lobby waiting for their queue to board the bus that would be bringing them over to the event venue. The venue is actually just a 2-3 minutes walk away from the hotel but because they were dressed to the nines, it won’t look appropriate for them to be seen walking all the way from the hotel and perspiring when they reached the place. When we reached the supposed entrance to the event, we were greeted with scenes of chaos with fans and media jostling to take pictures with the artistes in attendance. At various points, the fans were being interviewed by the news teams from the various television channels. Apparently, there was no red carpet event yet again. Which brings me to my first aspect.
Malaysia‘s Most Beautiful Mermaid – Maya Karin…
Red Carpet Event – As I had mentioned before in previous APM reviews, one of the most essential aspects towards having a successful awards show is by having the Red Carpet event. It adds substance to the whole affair with all the artistes on parade and posing for the flashlights aimed at them. I dunno if this move was simply deliberate or it just did not cross the minds of the organisers that having one would add a touch of glamour to it. As a result, when you have the artistes and the fans walking along the same path, you end up creating a traffic jam with the fans clamouring to take photographs with the artistes and thus making it difficult for the artistes to negotiate their way into the arena. Entertainment reporters were seen frustrated and heard grumbling loudly at what was unfolding before them. This was certainly not the perfect start that the organisers were looking for to promote this event away from Singapore and expect to get warm reviews from the same people who have been slating them year in and out.
Location & Seating Arrangement – The past seven APMs had given the audience more room to move and feel nearer to the artistes seated in front, not to mention the stage. In short, previous locations like the now-defunct Harbour Pavilion, Singapore Expo, Max Pavilion, Bukit Jalil Indoor Stadium and the Singapore Indoor Stadium were wide enough for the rest of the audience to sit surrounding the sectors meant for the industry bigwigs. The layout of Halls 1 & 2 of the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre did not allow this trend to continue. Instead, the seating plan was only as wide as the stage itself and in turn stretched all the way to the back about 150 metres away. Worse, the traveling Singapore fans were made to sit at the back tiers. Most were heard grumbling away at how far they were from the stage and having to rely on the giant screens at the back. We also ended up sitting with the Singapore fans, instead of behind the artistes as I had mentioned earlier, as there was a misunderstanding with regards to the ticketing. I wasn’t hard up about not sitting there but I do question the wisdom in releasing VIP tickets for the Malaysian audience via Radio ERA and Astro Ria and the Singapore fans being made to look like second class citizens by sitting all the way to the back. For the record, the arena was only 2/3 full with pockets of seats seen empty in all sectors, even the artistes’ area in the front tiers. Another downside was the extremely cold air-conditioning. I was wearing three layers of clothing but the freezing temperature shot through my skin and it was a wonder I did not get up to go to the toilet during the commercial breaks.
Local Awards Snubbed Again??? – At 8:45pm, popular Malaysian actor, Ashraf Sinclair (a.k.a. Mr. Bunga Citra Lestari), and Fiza Osman from RIA 89.7FM came on stage to host the presentation for the Anugerah Artis Singapura Paling Popular (Most Popular Singapore Artiste) and Lagu Singapura Paling Popular (Most Popular Singapore Song) awards. For the second year running and the third in total since its inception, our local awards were not shown live and were given away either before the show or during the commercial breaks. Last year, I was one of the vocal ones in voicing my displeasure at the apparent snub and unfair treatment given to our local artistes. Back then, the reason for the apparent snub was it had no bearing with the the regional audience who already have their own music awards in Anugerah Musik Indonesia and Anugerah Industri Muzik. As such, it was only fair to televise them to local audience when Suria aired them on a later date. The downside about giving out these awards during the commercial breaks was they had to rush through everything and kept things short. It was really comical seeing them going through the motions quickly, which in turn made me wonder why in the world did they torture themselves when they could have just include these awards presentation into the main event itself??? But to this day I still believe that Sleeq and Imran Ajmain‘s performances at last year’s pre-event show half an hour before the main event started, should have been shown to the regional audience so that they know who these boys are.
Lah, former member of V.E…
I’ve heard about a month before the event from credible sources within the industry that the same thing was going to occur again. Rather than seethe again, I tried to see the rationale behind it. Anugerah Planet Muzik was created to recognise music talents from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, basically the cream of the crop from all three countries and not just for Singapore alone. Why the separate awards show for the local acts (prior to the event proper and during commercial breaks) could possibly be down to one thing, and this is based on my own observations – Astro held the rights to televise what they deemed was appropriate for the event and what the aim of APM is for, which is the region and not solely for our local artistes. Cos from what I had observed all these years, all these apparent “snubs” have happened when Astro had the televised rights to the event and that includes when the event was done at the Singapore Indoor Stadium last year. It beggars belief as to why Suria being under the wings of Mediacorp did not try hard enough and take a pro-active stance in tying up the television rights with their sister stations from the radio wing. Had they taken it up, I believe as in years past when they had the rights, the local awards could be seen by the regional audience and make known to them of our artistes’ existence and the songs that were recognised as the best within our local ranks. Our local industry is still relatively small and a lot of people from Malaysia and Indonesia dunno who our artistes are. Those extra minutes of awards presentation which was not televised to the regional audience would allow them to look our local artistes up on the Net or even YouTube if they are inquisitive to know about them, such is the power of technology these days.
It has to be said that for all the flaks and flaws that some of us might aim at Mediacorp Radio (Warna & RIA) on this, they should be lauded for taking the steps towards honouring the local acts, even if deep down some or most of us still hold our gripes as to why our local acts were not given a fair treatment on the regional stage and made to look like second-class citizens, this being an event organised by a Singapore company. I’ve looked and analysed the whole situation for quite some time now and the organisers cannot be held responsible fully for this, as the aim of APM has always been to uphold the region’s best, with the local awards being a pleasant distraction and since no one else is doing them on a big scale domestically. I have finally come to terms with this fact. My only hope now is that someone takes up the mantle and do up one awards show solely for our local acts so that we not only have Anugerah Planet Muzik to look forward to annually, but also our very own music awards show. It’s ok to start small, be it done at Mediacorp’s TV Theatre or even the humble D’Marquee arena, with awareness and good promotion, all local acts will feel that their blood, sweat and tears will be amply rewarded. “Pesta Pesta Pesta“, “Pesta Perdana” and even the Sensasi channel’s event last year “Anugerah Life 07: Malam Bintang Sensasi” are fine examples that these kind of award shows could still bring in the local crowds. I’m sure there is as much interest if we have our own music awards bearing in mind we now have the “Fiknatics“, the “Happy Hadys“, the “Aliff Angels“, the “Imtiazs“, the “Hyrulites” etc to create a din and lively atmostphere. We also do not have a dearth in talent as the number of local album nominations submitted to the APM committee have shown. It’s just a matter of being open and receptive to their existence and giving them the proper stage to shine. Only then will the majority of our local consumers open up to them and not just idolise those from across the Causeway or from Indonesia.
Security – Security was tight throughout the night. They definitely took great pains to prevent the audience from recording the proceedings from their respective handphones or digital cameras. I tried my luck and I was told off by one of the ushers. Not that it mattered much to me, cos I was sitting so far behind that personally I felt that there was no point in me taking them in the first place. But the only thing I was pissed off with them was their reluctance in letting in the artistes who came from the same way as us just before the event started. As a result and as I had mentioned above, this created some kind of pandemonium with fans clamouring to take photographs with the artistes and the media having difficulties in doing their job. Oh and not to mention the fact that they did not flank the artistes to prevent the fans from continuously taking photographs with them. And because the security was too good at what they were doing, even the media got locked out and refused entry, creating unhappy scenes.
Last year’s recipient of Artis Wanita Baru Terbaik award, Noryn Aziz… Gorgeous!!!
Stage Props and Layout – For such a small arena (if you were to look at it from both ends of the stage), the stage layout and design was probably the best I’ve seen all these years. The giant screen at the back of the stage was probably the highlight of it, adding vibrant colours to all the performances on stage. The musicians, sessionists and back-up singers were also cleverly hidden to the right of the stage, giving the artistes unadulterated attention when they came on to perform their pieces. This is definitely a great improvement from last year’s affair, which the foreign press gleefully and unanimously labeled it “poor in creativity“. I liked it very much, it’s very fresh from my point of view.
Host/s – Putting the livewire Sarah Sechan alone was a big gamble, which I believed paid off handsomely. I read in reports from the foreign media that the decision to have her present it alone was one that the organisers had deliberately thought of, to add a difference to a show which is known for the huge number of presenters on show from the three countries. And yes I agreed that it was a bold move that the audience were happy with. Sarah‘s witty punchlines had us all in stitches and it was very fresh to see her in her element without the need to compete with other presenters as was seen from past events. I’ve always liked Sarah as the host with the touch of elegance and dry wit, without the need to go overboard with her jokes. The choice to have her hosting the show was spot-on and I believe for future events, let’s just stick to having one, just like the annual Academy, Emmy and Grammy award shows.
The same could not be said though when first Adi Fashla and Nana from Radio ERA and then TG, Adi Rahman (both Warna 94.2FM) and Fiza Osman (RIA) came on stage to introduce the next performances involving Ferhad, Farah Asyikin & Mila and presenting the Artis Lelaki Terbaik (Best Male Artiste) award respectively. Even though the jokes and banter were kinda alright to me, it did not quite catch on with the audience watching, with snippets of M. Nasir and his wife Marlia Musa giving blank looks and raised eyebrows trying to figure out what was funny. Adi Fashla and Nana got an even worse treatment with certain sections of the crowd booing them on stage. I dunno if it’s a fact that they were promoting their radio station live on national television (which I heard is slowly losing ground to Hot FM) or just that they sounded screechy and irritating.
Cat Farish + Dewi + Adeep + DJ Sumo = The Fabulous Catz…
Sound System & Technical Glitches – Save for that minor technical glitch when Datin Sri Hajjah Siti Nurhaliza came on stage to honour Search with “Fantasia Bulan Madu“, I thought in general, the sound system was good and crystal clear to the point that I could even hear Aliff Aziz‘s famed breathing when he sang “Sayang-Sayang“. Yes peeps this was a far cry from the one used at Max Pavilion in 2006 and I dare say, this was one of the major factors that made me enjoy most, if not all of the performances on show. However, bearing in mind that we the Singaporean fans were seated right at the back and had to rely on the two giant screens hanging on both sides of the central area of the arena, the screens did not do the show justice by frequently losing footage and making us all squint at the performances / awards presentation on stage. A lot of those in the audience were heard screaming away at the technical people stationed in the middle of the arena to rectify the problem. That’s not all, the sound guys also fumbled and bungled when the popular local awards were given prior to the show. How in the world could they mix up the songs of the artistes who were called on stage to accept their awards??? Even though it was not televised live and hoping that Suria could rectify the mistakes for them before showing it to our local audience, it was not a good promo to all the other non-Singaporean fans / artistes / industry bigwigs in attendance. In short, it was bloody misleading!!!
Award Presenters – This year saw a refreshing change in the number of award presenters on stage as well as eliminating the possibility of recycling performers to be presenters for the night, where the regional awards were concerned. Previously we would have at least two presenters giving out the awards but this year there was only one to avoid unnecessary banter and lame jokes being exchanged. Most of the presenters I recalled were females (Maya Karin, Noryn Aziz, Nasha Aziz, Jennifer Thompson, Deborah Henry, Zakiah Halim, Erra Fazira), save for Zainal Abidin during the presentation for Anugerah Cinta Planet Muzik (Love for Music Planet Award). Girl power seemed to be the order of the day and some had varied agendas to put across to the watching audience like Noryn Aziz promoting her upcoming show on June 1st at Planet Hollywood and Maya Karin reminding us the virtues of saving our planet in conjunction with Earth Day this past Tuesday 22nd April 2008. As for the local awards, DJs from Warna & RIA were given the honour to pair up and present the awards to the respective recipients. I must say all of them looked slick and gorgeous in their outfits.
Performances – Save for the finale and Kris Dayanti‘s performance, I thought that this year’s line-up of performances kicked ass right from the start with Meet Uncle Hussein and Ahli Fiqir kicking things off with “La-La-La-Kerjalah” and “Selamat Datang Ke Industri Muzik / 2 X 5“. After Sarah Sechan did the customary welcome, Ihsan, Faizal Tahir and Bunga Citra Lestari ensued with “Bunga (Karena Aku Lelaki)”, “Maha Karya Cinta” and “Ingkar” respectively before Faizal came back on stage to sing “Aku & Dirimu” with Bunga. Kris Dayanti ended off the first half hour segment by singing “Semua Jadi Satu“. While the songs sung were varied and relatively enjoyable in this first half hour, I just felt that Kris came up short and lacked that wee bit of punch we’ve come to know of her performances. Maybe it could be the fact that the song that she sang was meant to be sung along with two of her fellow Indonesian divas Ruth Sahanaya and Titi DJ. I’ve seen singers struggling to sing songs that were sung as a group and even though Kris did well enough, the oomph factor was lacking. Seeing Bunga and Faizal singing twice made me fear that the recycled performers syndrome would be back but on hindsight, it was fair to give Faizal the chance to shine after being away for three months. He did not disappoint of course, his vocals simply mesmerising and his showmanship was not compromised, even though it had a slight tweak with him making fun of his striptease fiasco towards the end of the song. The amazing thing was he sang it with a straight face and the audience lapped it up by applauding, whooping and laughing along. Personally I felt that having performances for the first half hour was a bit of a bore, especially when you had Kris‘ anti-climax performance. Many were seen fidgeting and wondering when will the first real award be given out.
Ashraf Sinclair & Fiza Osman presenting Artis Singapura Paling Popular ( & Lagu Singapura Paling Popular awards…
The third round of performances featured Aliff Aziz with “Sayang-Sayang“, Elyana with “Kalis Rindu” and Matta singing their massive hit “Ketahuan“. I think Aliff did a sterling job without too many frills and it was a good introduction for him to the watching regional audience. From where I sat and with the giant screens “on strike”, I could not see that Elyana was singing barefooted till much later. Some people have been known to criticise her for that but I just feel that people should get off her back and concentrate on her vocals instead, which I have to note, has improved by leaps and bounds. A pity her item had no back up dancers which would have added more spice to her song. Matta‘s appearance had the Singapore fans whooping in delight and singing along to the lyrics of “Ketahuan“. Surprising Datin Sri Hajjah Siti Nurhaliza and Anuar Zain by putting the mic in front of their faces was also a sight to behold, with Datin Sri‘s reaction an unforgettable one singing with eyes wide opened. It is to their credit that they came off sporting and knowing the lyrics to the song.
I had slight reservations when I first heard Sofaz was due to perform at APM2008, bearing in mind that they did not give a good account of themselves at the recent Anugerah Juara Lagu (AJL) Finals. Don’t get me wrong, I still prefer Sofaz over New Boyz anytime. Sofaz singing “Bukan Di Sini” I felt was better than “Janjiku” which they performed at the AJL Finals. I was just afraid that they would be overawed by the occasion since this awards show is supposedly bigger than AJL. But the boys proved me wrong and I remembered tapping my feet to this song and singing along to it. Dunno if those sitting around me enjoyed my own rendition or not. Heh.
The next set had Ferhad singing “Satu“, Farah Asyikin with “Seribu Penipuan” and Mila, the first female winner of Malaysia‘s hit reality show Akademi Fantasia with “Mila Bila Cinta“. Ferhad it has to be said, is one amazing performer, if only most Singaporeans know how to appreciate his style and his brand of music. His albums are worth buying and it is just sad to see that a lot of people get turned off by his showmanship and hating the fact that he seemed to forget his roots in Singapore, which is most definitely not the case. I know for the fact that he is a proud Singaporean at heart. Farah Asyikin proved that her title as Artis Wanita Baru Terbaik (Best New Female Artiste Award) was no flash in the pan with her spunky performance. Her features remind me of Pink and there are some similarities in their way of dressing and showmanship. Just love her vocal execution. Mila??? She’s a bit bubble-gummy for my liking but nonetheless her performance gave the atmosphere a feel-good factor. Am just surprised till now at how petite she is when I met her at the post-event reception. She could easily pass off as a primary school-going girl.
The show began with Meet Uncle Hussein singing “La-La-La-Kerjalah“…
When the two demi-gods from Malaysia (Anuar Zain) and Singapore (Taufik Batisah) appeared next, it was almost hysteria observing the audience from where I sat. It was refreshing from Anuar as personally I was getting sick of hearing him perform either “Lelaki Ini” or “Ketulusan Hati” at big shows like these. I wonder how much they had spent to have the models with him. I believe “Bidadari” is the next single from his latest album that is being introduced on the airwaves. I had expected Taufik to sing “Sesuatu Janji” at last year’s APM but he ended up singing “Usah Lepaskan” instead. But at least the 10 months wait was well worth it and he did not disappoint one bit. In fact I believe, after four years performing at APM, the regional and local audience finally saw the true Taufik Batisah, with his slick dance moves and adding a back flip as the icing on the cake, even though it came across as a little botched. But it took extremely great effort and a sense of wanting to add a different dimension to his repertoire that deserves a mention. And I for one was blown away by his performance that night. The best part was, even when he danced and jumped around, his vocals did not break nor did he come across as panting.
Datin Sri Hajjah Siti Nurhaliza was the next in line to perform, paying a tribute to Malaysian rock group Search for their massive contribution to the music industry for the past 25 years. Surprisingly, she was a late addition to the line-up of performers and was not mentioned prior to the event. Her performance gave me goosebumps and if not for the technical error from using her own microphone as well as forgetting the lyrics to the song (which resulted in Amy Search‘s fuming facial expression when the cameras panned on him), it would have easily been the best performance of the night. But I think all was forgiven when many gave her a standing ovation, me included, after she sang the song.
Once the special awards were given out, it was a matter of honouring the six nominees for the coveted title of Anugerah Lagu Terbaik (Best Song Award). Our first Asian Idol, Hady Mirza, Dayang Nurfaizah and Indonesian Idol Season 2 runner-up Judika Sihotang were tasked to perform the six songs and boy, was this another segment that had them eating out of the audience’s hands. Dayang especially caught my eyes and ears by singing “Menanti Pasti” and “Dewi” in her own style and with a slightly different musical arrangement, without compromising the essence to the two songs. The combination of Hady and Judika singing one of my current favourites “11 Januari” was another sight to behold. But of course, the best song from this set was reserved for the last when all three came on stage to sing “Nakal“. It was so good that even Armand Maulana, the lead singer of Gigi and original singer of the song gave his thumbs up when he went on stage to collect his award.
View from where we sat…
The finale saw Ajai and Mawi closing proceedings with a tribute to the late Allahyarham Rosli Khamis a.k.a. Loloq, recipient of the Anugerah Khas Anugerah Planet Muzik 2006. The song they sung, “Cinta Itu Syurga” was one of the last few compositions by the late lyricist, which has not been recorded nor being played by any other radio stations. It would have been apt had his good friend M. Nasir sung it along with Mawi, cos the combination of a nasal singer and one with a deep voice just did not go down well with me. Maybe also, since it was the first time it was being performed, it needed a bit of time to catch on. But it was a perfect end to the show when Ajai called on fellow Muslims in the audience to recite Surah Al-Fatihah for the late Loloq‘s departed soul. I believe that particular part was not shown on television.
Post- Event Reception – Once the show ended, we made our way to the front where Jihan was waiting for us, but not before I stopped a few times along the way to greet a few friends seated near me. Being KRU Music Group “staff” for the day, we were whisked to the back where the post-event reception was being held. It’s been quite sometime since I last attended a post-event reception and it was fun just mingling around and chatting with the artistes. The only downside was I was not able to locate Datin Sri herself and I totally forgot to take photographs with Kris Dayanti, Sarah Sechan, Anuar Zain, Farhan, Search and KRU, though I did manage to take one with Edry who was happily sitting by the corner while his two brothers were being interviewed by the media. This event also brought me closer to our local artistes and I was able to get to know them better, with Aliff thanking me profusely for my endless defending of him, be it with my comments on radio or in my blog. And for those of you who think I am anti-Hady or anti-Taufik, I hope that the photographs will paint a better picture cos I would not take if I really hate them. And it was good to know that Hady and I share the same passion for Manchester United and we definitely shook hands to that.
The post-event reception also helped to extend my blog networking when I finally get to meet three of Malaysia‘s famous entertainment bloggers Joe Lee a.k.a. Klubbkidd, Budiey and Badrul. They are humble yet comical in their own way. I felt at ease when I spoke to Joe as he shared his thoughts on APM and what his upcoming projects were all about. He makes you feel as though you’re talking to an old friend, such is his warmth, which is quite different when you read the angst he types in his blog. I didn’t get to talk much to Badrul as he was busy bringing Diddy around and I wouldn’t have recognised him had Joe not introduced me to him when we were chatting. The good part about the post-event reception was the fact that I was able to interview several artistes, notably our local acts and their thoughts on the show. Wished that the night would never end, but it had to. The funny thing was I did not even eat any of the food at the reception and just drank the juice that the waiters were giving out, even though I was feeling extremely famished. The food was not bad though. There was spaghetti and what-have-yous. Couldn’t quite recall as I wasn’t interested in eating in the first place but I thought the spread was decent enough.
Ahli Fiqir with “2 X 5“…
We left the place close to 1am and walked back to the hotel whereby there were so many fans awaiting for the arrival of the artistes back from the reception. While Jihan, Janna and their two cousins went up to change, I stayed behind at the lobby to chat with some of my listener friends who were there. You could imagine the hysteria when Taufik, Hady and Aliff appeared at the same time. It was a good thing I had already taken a photo with them at the reception, so it was fair enough that the rest had their fair share as well. Just before Aliff left, we had another photo-taking session together for memories’ sake with him again thanking me for my support and hope I would continue doing so. He didn’t need to ask actually cos all local artistes deserve my support, so long as they remain humble and steer clear from unnecessary controversies. That has always been my stand when I support any artiste, be it here, in Malaysia and Indonesia.
Predictions Revisited – If you think my review is about to end, I apologise cos I’m only halfway there. Next I would like to revisit the predictions I made prior to the event and see how I fared, which I believe was no better than the one I did last year, but what the heck??? It was all for fun anyway.
Artis Lelaki Baru Terbaik (Best New Male Artiste):
Prediction: Faizal Tahir
Winner: Faizal Tahir
I got this one spot on for what I predicted during the predictions entry and for the fact that his album also got him nominated in the Artis Lelaki Terbaik (Best Male Artiste) category. What a comeback and what audacity to poke fun at his own self when he sang “Maha Karya Cinta“. The challenge for him now is to remain in his element, without going overboard. The upcoming Anugerah Industri Muzik event would be very interesting with his closest challenger Anuar Zain out of the picture.
Artis Wanita Baru Terbaik (Best New Female Artiste):
Farah Asyikin – Farah Asyikin
Gita Gutawa – Gita Gutawa
Mila – Persis Mutiara
Rini Wulandari – Aku Tetap Milikmu
- Ussy Sulistiawati – It’s Me
Prediction: Gita Gutawa
Winner: Farah Asyikin
I had mentioned about not discounting the rest in the category when I made the prediction and true to my word, Farah Asyikin came out tops and it is easy to see why she’s won over the jury. While the rest in her category were championing Pop R&B and Bubblegum Pop, her rockish image is a breath of fresh air and it showed in her performance that night. Funny how come her own country did not see the virtue to nominate her at the upcoming Anugerah Industri Muzik awards when the regional jury have just given her the thumbs up.
Two eligible bachelors from Singapore – Syed Azmir & Hady Mirza…
Duo / Kumpulan Baru Terbaik (Best New Duo / Group):
Prediction: The Titans
Winner: Meet Uncle Hussein
This was a big win for indie bands who are currently the rage across the Causeway. It seems that the influx of indie bands in the market is signalling a new wave. Groups like Meet Uncle Hussein, Estranged and Hujan are slowly working up a storm and the jury were quick to recognise this new influence in the industry.
Lagu Singapura Terbaik (Best Singapore Song):
Prediction: Berserah – Taufik Batisah
Winner: Ayu – Cradle
I forgot that the popular does not necessarily be the best and I underestimated Cradle‘s potential in this. A deserved win nonetheless.
Album Terbaik Singapura (Best Singapore Album):
Prediction: Aliff – Aliff Aziz / Rap Untuk Rakyat – AhliFiqir
Winner: Ceritera Awan – Cradle
In my predictions, I ended off saying I had a sneaky feeling that Cradle would win this and true to my gut feelings, they truly did. The engineering and meticulous work put into producing this album was just rewards for Addy, Man Toyak and the gang. A pity the rest of the group had prior commitments which resulted in them not being able to show their mantle on the big stage last Sunday when in fact they were invited to perform in the first place.
Artis Singapura Terbaik (Best Singapore Artiste):
Prediction: Aliff Aziz – Aziz
Winner: Taufik Batisah
This was a nice change for once cos Taufik needed that big step towards breaking into the foreign market. By showing that he is more than just a popular singer on his home ground, this win could finally signal a change in fortune for him as the regional bigwigs would see him as someone who is more credible and one that oozes quality. Not that he had none in the first place.
Malaysia‘s “Beyonce Knowles” – Dayang Nurfaizah…
Artis Lelaki Terbaik (Best Male Artiste):
Anuar Zain – Anuar Zain
Faizal Tahir – Aku.Muzik.Kamu
Glenn Fredly – Happy Sunday
Iwan Fals – 50:50
Taufik Batisah – Teman Istimewa
Prediction: Anuar Zain – Anuar Zain
Winner: Anuar Zain
What more can I say about him??? Simply amazing!!!
Artis Wanita Terbaik (Best Female Artiste):
Bunga Citra Lestari – Cinta Pertama
Dayang Nurfaizah – Dayang 2007
Elyana – Jadi Diriku
Kris Dayanti – Kris Dayanti
Datin Sri Hajjah Siti Nurhaliza – Hadiah Daripada Hati
Prediction: Datin Sri Hajjah Siti Nurhaliza – Hadiah Daripada Hati
Winner: Kris Dayanti
Truth be told, when you have two of the biggest divas in the region up in the same category, it was always going to be a toss-up between either one, with all due respect to the other three nominated. And Kris brought home the big one much to the disappointment of the watching home fans.
Artis Duo / Kumpulan Terbaik (Best Duo / Group):
Gigi – Peace, Love & Respect
Kerispatih – Kenyataan Perasaan
Padi – Tak Hanya Diam
Samsons – Penantian Hidup
Spider – Bintang 12
Ungu – Untukmu Selamanya
Prediction: Gigi – Peace, Love & Respect / Spider – Bintang 12
I got this one right for the fact that their latest offering was the best that they’ve produced thus far.
Lagu Terbaik (Best Song):
Prediction: 11 Januari – Gigi
Winner: Nakal – Gigi
I got this half right. The choice for best song was another refreshing change, running away from the usual sappy ballads that always hog the nominations. This song’s experimental fusion of rock and dangdut could have backfired if the purists had their way, but it proved to be the major factor for the jury to pick it for its uniqueness.
Farah Asyikin elated with her win…
Album Terbaik (Best Album):
Aku, Muzik, Kamu – Faizal Tahir
Anuar Zain – Anuar Zain
Kenyataan Perasaan – Kerispatih
Peace, Love & Respect – Gigi
Tak Hanya Diam – Padi
Prediction: Tak Hanya Diam – Padi
Winner: Peace, Love & Respect – Gigi
I wanted to go for this initially but went against it, when I had in mind Padi‘s experience in nailing this award in the past. A hat-trick of awards at Anugerah Musik Indonesia 2008 and another hat-trick at Anugerah Planet Muzik 2008. It certainly has been a good week for Armand and the gang in Gigi.
Artis Lelaki Paling Popular (Most Popular Male Artiste):
- Aliff Aziz
Once (Dewa 19)
Prediction: Taufik Batisah / Mawi / Anuar Zain
Winner: Faizal Tahir
Honestly I did not see this coming and I don’t think many did. Even the winner himself was reported to have mumbled Mawi‘s name before his name was announced. But it was just rewards for his patience and it shows that his popularity did not wane during his absence from the scene.
Artis Wanita Paling Popular (Most Popular Female Artiste):
Bunga Citra Lestari
- Mulan Jameela
Datin Sri Hajjah Siti Nurhaliza
Prediction: Datin Sri Hajjah Siti Nurhaliza
Winner: Datin Sri Hajjah Siti Nurhaliza
Need I say more??? Enough said huh???
Duo / Kumpulan Paling Popular (Most Popular Duo / Group):
Prediction: Dewa 19 / Matta / Nidji/ Peterpan / Ungu
Another one I did not see coming. Just goes to show that Malaysians are very pro-active when it comes to voting and the Indonesians know nothing about it, as seen from their grouses over the Internet forums.
Maiya Rahman looking splendid that night…
Lagu Paling Popular (Most Popular Song):
Atas Nama Cinta – Rossa
Berserah – Taufik Batisah
2 X 5 – AhliFiqir
Itu Kamu – Estranged
Izinku Pergi – Kaer
Kekasih Gelapku – Ungu
Ketahuan – Matta
Lelaki Ini – Anuar Zain
Menghapus Jejakmu – PeterPan
Nakal – Gigi
Perlu Kamu – Ajai & Kris Dayanti
Sembunyi – Misha & Andy (Flop Poppy)
Prediction: Kekasih Gelapku – Ungu
Winner: Itu Kamu – Estranged
I did say that if “Kekasih Gelapku” did not win, expect Berserah – Taufik Batisah, Itu Kamu – Estranged, Lelaki Ini – Anuar Zain and Ketahuan – Matta to take the mantle instead as it was too open to call and partly I’m right in this. Such is the power of this song that it has propelled the group to multiple awards with it being the only Malay single in their album. Maybe the group would like to produce more Malay songs in future???
Artis Singapura Paling Popular (Most Popular Singapore Artiste):
Elfee R. Ismail
Prediction: Taufik Batisah, Hady Mirza & Aliff Aziz
Winner: Taufik Batisah, Hady Mirza & Sleeq
The same winners from last year’s event repeated itself yet again. Yes, I underestimated Sleeq‘s influence amongst their voters but I guess wishing them luck when I met them at the lobby on the way to the event venue had some bearing after all.
Lagu Singapura Popular (Most Popular Singapore Song):
Berserah – Taufik Batisah
Kasih Mengapa – Rauzan Feat. Rozie & Urban Sensation
Krakatau – Spellbound
Sayang-Sayang – Aliff Aziz
Seribu Kenangan – Didicazli
Prediction: Berserah – Taufik Batisah, Sayang-Sayang – Aliff Aziz & Seribu Kenangan – Didicazli
Winner: Berserah – Taufik Batisah, Sayang-Sayang – Aliff Aziz & Seribu Kenangan – Didicazli
As I had mentioned before, this was a no-brainer category when you look at the remaining five nominations. The voters for these three artistes are certainly strong in every aspect and it would take a brave man to bet against them.
Anugerah Khas Anugerah Planet Muzik 2008 / Anugerah Planet Muzik 2008 Special Achievement Award
I’ve got to admit I made a major boo-boo with this when I hyped up who was supposed to receive this award during my predictions. Even though I was right for the fact that they became the first group in the history of Anugerah Planet Muzik to receive this award, I had their profiles all wrong thanks to a miscommunication. The information I received earlier was KRU was supposed to receive a “special award” but it did not specify which one and since “special award” literally translated to “Anugerah Khas“, you can understand how excited I was when I got to know that my all-time favourite group was due for such an award. Still I believe Search was a better candidate as they have been around much longer and no one can dispute the influence they have in shaping the rock scene in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.
Anugerah Cinta Planet Muzik 2008
Funny how come no one sang a tribute song to them or at least have them perform on stage like last year’s winner Zainal Abidin. Would have certainly rolled back the years when yours truly was just a teenybopper. I said in my predictions entry that I would give them a standing ovation and maybe shed a tear or two. The standing ovation was given but I did not shed any tears as I was still in a shock that they received this award which caught me and even the other KRU staff off-guards. Still, it has to be said that this was a reward they deserved for their efforts in rounding up artistes from all record labels to record the song “Suluhkan Sinar” for the 2004 tsunami benefit. During the thank-you speech, it was no surprise that Edry being the joker of the pack would add a punchline of his own and took a dig at his brothers’ marital status. It had me and Janna laughing away at his nonchalance.
GangStarz winners The Lima looking chic in their outfit…
Artistes’ Perspectives – Quite a few things came up short when it came to creative direction as well as preparations leading up to the event. Some artistes I talked to labeled it as “the worst APM” for them. They complained that budgeting and planning wise, a lot of things were left to be desired. Some said that they normally know what to expect, where to enter and exit the stage during their performances as late as a week before the event itself, but this time they only knew during the sound check itself. In terms of creative direction, some were not even able to use their own props nor dancers. And another source of rankle for them was the choice of venue to have the post-event reception which was the humble backstage area, when a proper ballroom would have added a touch of glamour for an event which is supposed to be bigger than the likes of Anugerah Musik Indonesia and Anugerah Industri Muzik. The food spread to them could also have been better.
Media’s Perspective – Even though the majority of performances during the night were great and the huge number of award winners came from the host country, events happening before the main event left a bitter taste in the mouth. The chaotic scenes outside the arena whereby the media and fans were clamouring for the artistes’ photographs and the media getting locked out by security before common sense prevailed, was a major source of backbiting from what I observed and what I read online. The Red Carpet event which was non-existent, robbed the event of its exclusivity. And you know when media people are not happy, especially those who write on entertainment stuff, their choice of vocabulary could be very colourful and unprintable for a family-friendly blog like mine. A lot of other misunderstandings were also heard between the organisers and the media (you can source for them from the various news reports online) and I just hope that in future, these lessons could be learnt so that the reputation of this event could be raised further. I shudder to think the continued bad press the organisers would get had the performances been boring and had the bulk of the winners been from the Indonesian side, since there is already a certain amount of dissent towards the Indonesians for invading their music scene.
Internet Forums’ Perspective – Out of curiosity, I trawled through the Net and schemed through various online forums to see what people had to say about the event. Inevitably there seemed to be an Internet war going on between the Malaysians and Indonesians with the latter shooting down the event as nothing more than nonsense and a waste of time, with the number of artistes from this side of the region being unknown quantity to them. They also questioned the wisdom of the nominations and wondering on what merit do these artistes have in deserving their rightful place. One forum even had a damning title header “Najisnya Anugerah Music Planet“. The amount of vile and abuse there could easily rile one into raging anger. APM might have been into its eighth year but most people in Indonesia have not heard of it. Which brings me to question if people ever bothered to read Bintang Indonesia whereby it is one of the partner media of APM and fans could vote for the popular categories from there, or if the Indonesian media themselves were too engrossed in shutting out hype for the event and artistes from the region as a whole all these while, bearing in mind that their media is even harsher than the ones from Singapore and Malaysia.
Yes, music from Indonesia might be streets and years ahead of Malaysia and Singapore, but the idea of doing APM is to also share these knowledge and expertise to uplift the standard of music in this region. Not to forget, the idea to have this is also to introduce the artistes to the region if they do not know them already. The rest is up to the audience to look up information on these artistes. I admit, I have no idea who is Judika Sihotang and Ussy Sulistiawaty before this and likewise the Indonesians were complaining they dunno who in the world is Faizal Tahir, Anuar Zain and a majority of the Malaysian and Singaporean singers. But it is through events like these that we get to learn who are the music movers and shakers of their respective countries. To shoot down the qualities and capabilities of artistes from other countries, saying that they will never be accepted in their country and harping about how their country’s music is streets ahead smacks of nothing but arrogance. The artistes during the night, no matter where they come from, have been taking pains to say that music is universal and should be shared across all platforms during their speeches. These overzealous people could do well to take heed and open up more rather than shoot from under their own cocoons.
Personal Perspective – From the perspective of a watching fan, I believe this was one of the best APMs I’ve attended, if not the best, since I did not enjoy the last two years’ editions. Though I had listed out a few shortcomings in the earlier paragraphs and even if I had not attended the post-event reception, it still would not affect my general observations. I mean, just look at it this way. From the very start, the artistes and us were trapped outside the entrance prior to the show, with no security people flanking them and what do you expect us to do when we were all armed with cameras??? It was heaven-sent to say the least!!! The seating arrangement, freezing temperature in the arena and technical glitches from the giant screens aside, most of the performances went down well with us, which was enhanced by a great sound system. Though the first half hour came across as draggy and the slight glitch during Datin Sri‘s performance minused a few points, the performances of the local artistes were ones to be proud about and they certainly showed they deserved to be up there with the best amongst the region. I had no qualms about the award winners even if our local acts came up short and did not win anything this time around. There is always room for improvement and just to see their names being nominated in the regional categories show that we can be proud that Singapore indeed has artistes of some calibre and not nominated out of pity. My only hope now is that the standard would remain and the organisers would look into all the other minute details that were a source of rankle amongst the media and the artistes. Oh and not to mention, bringing the show back to our shores next year, even if there is talk about doing it in Jakarta in one of their previous press conferences. All in all, a big thumbs up to Mediacorp Radio and Beyond DDB!!!
P.S. For more photographs taken throughout the night, you can go here or here. Thank you Jihan and Janna for making me a KRU Music Group staff for the night. Also to Noryn Aziz for kindly saying a good few words to my kind visitors…