Anugerah Planet Muzik 2008 Prelude…

With just 12 days to go, the excitement and heat generating from Anugerah Planet Muzik 2008 (APM) is being felt everywhere. Wait a minute, did I say everywhere??? For starters, the promotions that are being held are currently limited to the two local Malay radio stations (RIA & Warna), who are also the main organisers of this event. Radio ERA, which is the co-official radio station from the Malaysian side, only starts their on-air promotions next week, with VIP tickets up for grabs (how come there are no VIP tickets for Singapore???), even if they have started to air trailers and interview artistes who are involved with the event since yesterday.

Industry sources from Malaysia and Indonesia and even visitors to my main domain have reported that APM is still very much a stranger to their shores. They find the event weird with just a trophy and nothing else, not to mention being stumped by most of the nominees of each category. Coupled with the bad press that the event has been getting from foreign journalists covering it in recent years, organising it in Kuala Lumpur this year, seems like the wrong choice. Yes, I have to admit, I was and still am very much peeved at the decision to make it across the Causeway. But over the past few weeks, I have been trying to understand where the organisers are coming from, the rationale behind doing it in Kuala Lumpur. If it means introducing our local acts to the Malaysian audience for a crack at the big time over there, then it could well pay off. If it means, they are able to collaborate with the watching bigwigs, then it’s fine enough.

I know this event is supposed to be for the region and not limited to Singapore, so why then are there separate Singaporean categories??? Doesn’t it show that it is also an event for Singaporeans to be proud of and made to stay in these shores for good??? I dunno, I just feel that for all the efforts made by the organisers to make this the premier event for the region, most people still do not know of its existence, or some might have been turned off by past events, or promotions are only limited to Singapore. Each country has its own agenda and propaganda as to who should be nominated and who should not. Every year I keep on hearing and reading of people being unhappy at the nominations. Most have no idea who are our artistes and what business do they have to be mentioned in the same categories as their own, whom they regard as more superior and that our artistes’ presence are mere tokens. Even some of the Indonesian nominees are unheard of in Malaysia and Singapore. Has anyone heard of Azyza, with all due respect to her??? Some of you might be forgiven if you think she is a Malaysian artiste, when in fact she’s a Singaporean. And who the heck is Ussy Sulistiawati some of you might wonder??? So whose fault is this??? The organisers??? The record companies??? The artistes??? The media???

Looking at the Singaporean line-up of performers, I don’t think Aliff Aziz and AhliFiqir needs any introduction. And Taufik Batisah and Hady Mirza have already been performing in APM (Taufik since 2005 and Hady last year), which means they too need no introduction. But are they getting any headway in their career paths??? Hady, bless him, is already making inroads in the Indonesian market (thanks to his Asian Idol title), which is the barometer of what achieving success in the regional market is all about. Sadly, our two Idols are finding it tough to crack the market in Malaysia, where Jaclyn Victor seems to be THE ONLY Idol and no one else, even if they had Daniel as the subsequent winner of the series there. I seriously hope that this APM being held in Kuala Lumpur would kickstart their careers there and show that the Singaporean invasion currently being led by Imran Ajmain, Aliff and AhliFiqir are not mere flash in the pan.

It is extremely interesting to note that for the first time in eight years, Datin Sri Hajjah Siti Nurhaliza at press time, is not in the line-up of performers. Which is strange cos APM has inevitably turned into a mini Siti Nurhaliza showcase for me. But I guess this time she’s making way for others to shine. But seriously, she’s not going to disappear from this event. If I was a betting man, I’d bet my life that she will still appear on stage to receive an 8th-straight Most Popular Female Artiste award. The recent Anugerah Bintang Popular Berita Harian event proved that her star is still bright for the 11th year running. But I agree that there should be a diversity and not recycle the same performers year in and out (Hint: Our 2 Idols). Actually I have a niggly issue with the Singaporean performers. We have a healthy pool of talent waiting in the wings, but why is it that we have the same old people performing on the night??? With just 12 days to go to the event, I hope more names from the Singaporean side could be announced. It would most definitely be a morale booster for our artistes and I’m sure the exposure will do wonders to their respective careers. If I was a Singaporean artiste, I wouldn’t mind not being paid, so long as I get to perform on a big stage and prove my worth to grace such a prestigious event. I believe any Singaporean artiste reading this who would want to spread their wings, would share my sentiments, even if I do not represent anyone.

If only we could have various weekend roadshows around Singapore about two months before the event just to hype up the show, maybe we could attract more people or at least create some awareness of it. Cos if we were to follow the leads being set in Malaysia with different artistes gracing different roadshows in different states, we could at least have something to heighten promotions, not to mention giving our artistes the exposure that they badly need to our own audience. Yes I know, money and sponsorship are big factors when it comes to organising such events and I believe this does not happen just with the radio but the television side as well. I’m just amazed at how in Malaysia they can go about having these roadshows like nobody’s business and how much the sponsors are willing to fork out. I wonder if our business people over here are not willing to take a gamble and pump their cash for some flash, just to see our music industry grow.

This domain of mine is by no means THE OFFICIAL BLOG / WEBSITE of APM2008. Since no one else is doing it and what you get at the organisers’ websites are just the list of nominees and event information, I take the liberty to update and inform what I hear so that people would support the event, no matter what grouses and complaints we / you might have. At the end of the day, I still see this event as our own and am proud that we have something credible, if not substantial, to show for to the region. For those who have time to spare this Sunday 13th April 2008, there will be an APM2008 Prelude Roadshow at Dewan Singgahsana Malay Village Geylang Serai at 3:30pm. That’s in Singapore for those of you reading this in Malaysia and Indonesia. Guest artistes performing will be Didicazli and Sleeq, who are by the way, nominated in the popular local categories. There will be games and APM2008 tickets to be won, so come down if you are free to do so.

P.S. By the way, tickets are not being sold anywhere so please stop asking me where and when are they being sold, especially in Malaysia, cos I have no idea what’s going on over there. The only thing you’ve got to do if you are in Malaysia is to tune in to your premier (ok I know Hot FM lovers will disagree) radio station ERA for more details cos they are the co-official radio station. Oh and maybe Astro might have something up in store as well since the event will be shown live on Astro Ria