Be A Star in X-Clusive’s Music Video…

X-Clusive

X-Clusive is an independent music group. The group consists of three musicians, A’Trez, a rapper, composer, songwriter as well as main producer of the group. Nora Rahman & Ize Suliman complete the trio as vocalists. They are gearing up to infuse a new flavour of music and creating a unique identity for themselves. They have recently launched their debut album “FENOMENA” at City Beach Resort on 19 March 2011. The debut album is distributed by Life Records and the group have also signed a publishing deal with Bedsty Bedrock Publication.

X-Clusive have set the target & vision to attain sound standards as per other established groups in the region, such as The Fabulous Cats, Soul ID and AhliFiqir. They envisage in making X-Clusive a household name. X-Clusive is collaborating with a number of producers from Singapore, Malaysia & Indonesia. They wish to raise the awareness of the community on the existence of unknown talents that exist here. With the advent of New Media technologies, X-Clusive is exploring the sphere of music knowledge through their social online presence at www.x-clusiveonline.com.

X-Clusive, was formerly known as “Verbalize Flo“. Their unique musical flavour places them as class acts to be watched out for. Their first radio hit single, “Yok Goyang Yok“, got them accredited on radios in Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei. It was listed in RIA Chartz for 17 weeks and on Kristal FM (Brunei) charts in the Top 3 for a duration of three months. They have also been collaborating with high profile artistes and producers from the surrounding region. X-Clusive, in recent months, have had a major revamp in the make-up of their group members. They have now settled down with two vocalists in Ize Suliman and Nora Rahman, two individuals of unique vocal capabilities and personalities, the former more known for his involvement in Suria‘s singing competition Anugerah back in 2009 and also providing back-up vocals in entertainment and variety shows organised by the television station.

Their hard work has been bearing fruits with support from editorial, broadcast and organisational entities such as Selebriti Magazine, Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), MTV & Sensasi, Bedstymusic, Purplenotez Publishing, Malay Artistes Association and Mediacorp. Apart from making live appearances on OKTO Live and Suria, X-Clusive is expected to swarm the region with their anticipated flow and flavour in their recent recording of programmes by major television stations from Malaysia: Galaxy on TV9 and Melodi on Tv3. Of note and in recent times, the group clinched the First Prize at “Projek Rentak“, the annual songwriting competition organised by Mediacorp Radio‘s Malay stations, Warna 94.2FM & RIA 89.7FM for their single “Kau Inspirasiku“.

For more information on X-Clusive, you can go to the following sites or contact the group via A’Trez at:

*Email: Atrez@x-clusiveonline.com*
*Myspace: www.Myspace.com/verbalize.flo*
*Twitter: www.twitter.com/Atrez*
*Website: www.x-clusiveonline.com*

Anugerah 2011 Auditions Afterthoughts…

I left out some pointers in my last entry on the Anugerah 2011 auditions which has finally kicked off in earnest. I knew some things were missing the moment I clicked on the “Publish” button. After going through my entry and subsequently getting wind of some negative reactions from a certain group of people on Twitter who might be new to this blog and my style of commenting, I think it is best that I come out early to defend some of my words and what people can expect from this blog during the competition period.

For the newbies to this blog, I have been reviewing past Anugerah / Anugerah Skrin competitions since 2007 in this humble domain of mine, on top of  reviewing numerous awards shows, concerts, showcases, gigs, performances that I attended and media conferences that I was invited to go to. With the upcoming competition beginning on 26 April 2011, it will be no different. Regular readers of this blog would note that through the years, I’ve mellowed down quite a lot in terms of commenting style, being less brazen and giving people as much benefit of doubt as possible. I noted a few scathing remarks from Twitter about how ignorant I am based on my last entry and how I act like a know-it-all. Some even went as far as to say that this blog should be shut down. I’ve forgiven these people for the fact that they do not know my commenting style and perhaps being new to constructive criticisms / passing remarks, cos if I do not say it now, then others / the judges / mainstream media might highlight them in time to come.

For a start, I hate to blow my own trumpet but to my detractors and haters, it is not easy being an entertainment blogger who is not paid to do this and doing it on my own accord and time, even to the point of investing on high-end video cameras and DSLRs just to give my readers extra value on the contents that I put up. It took me five years of consistent and giving rational views to get me proper accreditation from the mainstream media to cover some of their events. All these is because they acknowledge the passion that I exude and they know that I will always be honest, analytical and sincere in my views. I have no hidden agendas other than to see our local Malay entertainment industry be as big or at least try to be on par in standards with our regional counterparts. If you think you can give better analysis and comments, I welcome you as part of the alternative media brigade cos it is always refreshing to read differing opinions without undermining one another or without getting personal, as I always believe and say again and again that we complement one another through our respective contents and strengths.

So what can readers expect when Anugerah 2011 hits our television screens??? As usual they will get my usual no-holds-barred views and just to let people out there know, I am ready for their brickbats and backlash again when they go all out to defend and protect their personal favourites. I’ve gotten stick from hardcore fans of a few artistes before in their own personal forums calling me a “know-all“, “macam faham” and what-nots. It will be no different this time around. More often than not, I was proven correct as time goes by. A case in point was during the Anugerah Band competition three years ago. I had pointed out the shortcomings of a particular group and I was slammed right, left and centre henceforth by their ardent followers. Within a fortnight, the group was booted out. No, I did not derive any form of extreme pleasure from their elimination other than shutting a few mouths, but I felt a sense of justification that at least my analysis did not fail me and I wasn’t sprouting nonsense. It is also because I think with my head instead of my heart, that I am able to rationalise my thoughts without getting personal.

Followers of any particular contestant need to broaden their mindsets and widen their perspectives when they hear comments from the judges, the mainstream media as well as the alternative ones like myself and my fellow peers, not to mention the viewers who would be sms-ing their thoughts to the programme. When you hear your particular favourites getting criticised or commented upon, don’t be too quick to jump and hurl abuse without thinking through what was being said. Your own friends, family members and fans will always say the nice things that you want to hear to make you feel good and to ease your minds.  In their eyes and based on what they hear, you can do no wrong. But these are the things that can lull a contestant into complacency and think he or she has done enough when there are actually lots of things that could be improved upon. Neutrals like us have your interests at heart too and we also want to see you succeed by first eradicating the mistakes and polishing the rough edges.

Take for example the issue of comparisons with an already established artiste. I’m sure for those who are about 25 years of age and above, we’ve all heard how artistes like Elly Mazlein and Intan Sarafina sound a lot like Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza when they first appeared in the scene in the late 90s / early 2000. Down the years and with the advent of so many reality shows here and across the Causeway, I am sure the issue of comparing or noting similarities with established artistes are bound to appear. If my mind still serves me well, during the last Anugerah 2009 competition, there were voices from the masses and from within the industry who pointed out Sarah Aqilah‘s similarities in terms of singing style and even outfits during the auditions to Ziana Zain. Did she falter and wallowed into self-pity from all the criticisms??? I’m sure we all know what happened next and how she went on to prove the doubters wrong by excelling in the competition.

During the auditions last Saturday, I observed the guys were trying to emulate and copy the likes and styles of Aliff Aziz, Hyrul Anuar and even Anuar Zain, from the voice, the fashion styling right down to breathing techniques. It was extremely glaring when they sang the songs of the original artistes. It is ok if this is an impersonation competition but one has to create your own identity so as not to draw any comparisons to already established artistes. When I say identity, it is not only about one’s physical outlook, fashion sense or singing style per se. It is also through how you want people to remember you by and your music, the soul that defines you as an entertainer or artiste. If someone like Didicazli is known as the “Prince of Ballads” on these shores or if you hear a particular song and you instantly know that it is composed by SleeQ for instance, how are you going to create an identity of your own that when people listen, they know it is you or your own composition???

We look at successful Singaporeans who have done well in Malaysia without giving up their nationalities and passports and you will note that there are not many of them. For those who have done well in recent times like Imran Ajmain and AhliFiqir, you can most definitely learn a thing or two from them and how they have managed to win over the critical and quite demanding fans over there. AhliFiqir for instance, is still revered as the group who have made the art of rapping in poetic Malay hip over there, with no disrespect to groups like4U2C, Nico and even my own personal favourite, KRU, who were in the scene a decade earlier than them. It is a lasting legacy to their credit, even though the group members have gone their separate ways.

To the contestants, I hope when the competition proper kicks in, you will not be distracted or feel disheartened by comments made by the judges, by the unofficial ones from people like myself or even criticisms from other viewers. Comments and criticisms given are meant for your betterment. We want to see you succeed or at least go as far as possible in the competition. As such, take them in with as much positivity as possible and turn whatever weaknesses into your own personal strengths. I do not wish to hear that contestants are affected by comments made by alternative media like us bloggers like how it happened during last year’s Anugerah Skrin competition. In fact criticisms are part and parcel of what this industry is all about. If you are not able to take it in during this infantile stages, then how are you going to cope when you become a star???

If I have to hit out, I will hit out and if I feel there is cause to defend a particular artiste or contestant, I would not hesitate to do so. All these I do because I care for our local industry and I want to see it grow and eventually succeed like our regional counterparts.  I really do not want to blog and having to apologise afterwards to each and every contestant if I know they have misunderstood my words or if they feel downhearted with comments I’ve made. Whatever I say in my blog is meant in good stead and never meant to bring down anyone. Of course there will be times that I will give reality checks but I’ve never attacked anyone personally or assassinate their characters. I hope newbies to this blog reading this would understand what lies ahead in a reality competition like Anugerah. If you are brave enough to want to be in this industry, then you need to put up some firewalls to deflect criticisms and work on your respective flaws. It is all and truly well if you want to rest on your laurels with the fanbase that you have, but the name of the game is to win the hearts of the masses and beyond.

I might just be a small-time entertainment blogger, a minor voice on cyberspace, but I have observed and immersed myself in this industry for 13 years now. It is easy for people to praise and build you up when things are going all rosy. But when things do not go well, they are going to bring you down for the slightest mistake or things you do. In front of you, people are going to say nice things but behind who knows they might not. I take great pains to blog and explain my views in a long-winded way,  explaining my rationale, giving examples and will always give people the benefit of doubt as much as possible. I’m sure my regular readers can testify to that. At the end of the day the mainstream media and fellow entertainment bloggers like myself have the responsibility to dispense information and tips to help raise the standards of the local entertainment industry. I’ve said enough for now. I guess it wouldn’t hurt to be a broken record and let you read again two previous entries I did on what it takes to become a star and how to carry yourself well. Just click on the links here and here

Anugerah 2011 Day One Auditions…

Yesterday (19 March 2011) saw the first round of Anugerah 2011 auditions getting underway over at East Point Mall. I was there between 10am-1:30pm to watch the proceedings and run the rule over the potential on offer in this year’s competition. Over the years, we’ve seen how this competition have unearthed rare gems in our relatively small community in the likes of Sarah Aqilah, Aliff Aziz, Hyrul Anuar, Noor Haqmal, Eka Mairina, Rudy Djoharnaen and Indra Hamzah. Who will it be this time around???

I was a bit surprised upon reaching the event venue to see that the long snaking queue that had stretched all the way till the other side of the field next to the shopping centre two years ago during Anugerah 2009, did not materialise. The queue ended just outside the Pet Safari shop situated at the end of East Point Mall facing the MRT line. Deep down I wondered if the competition has lost its zest to attract more from the targeted 16-30 age group to join or the interest in general for this sort of competition has just waned. Nonetheless, an estimated 300 hopefuls were already there at 10am, the earliest I heard coming before 7am to queue up.

The audition hopefuls queueing up to register their cause…

In this very small industry of ours, we can’t expect to get new and fresh stars all the time. Like previous Anugerah competitions before this, there are bound to be serial hopeful competitors, the ones you see queueing up at every Anugerah auditions, either for the singing or acting editions, depending on the year’s target approach. Nothing wrong in joining in again, as Fauzie Laily is a fine example of a repeat contestant made good in the end, but sometimes you wonder if some of them are clinging on to false hopes even after a decade of queueing up and getting rejected, with no improvements made.

So what do I make of this year’s potential??? Since I did not stay throughout and only watched the first 140 contestants, I was shocked to see the ratio of male contestants outnumbering the females by 3:1. In fact the first 20 contestants were all males!!! However quantity does not equate to quality, and this was very much evident when out of the 20-30 odd girls whom I managed to analyse on stage, at least half of them proceeded to the next round. Quite a few have that overall package of looks and raw talent as well. If I were to base on just the first 140 contestants alone, then I wouldn’t be surprised if this year’s winner will be another female. But I do hope that subsequent auditions in the afternoon, evening and even today’s session would unearth even more raw talent and potential that could be polished further.

The hosts of Anugerah 2011: Fauzie Laily & Huda Ali… They will be joined by RIA 89.7FM‘s Nity Baizura who will act as the roving host throughout the competition. Nity was not around yesterday as she was involved in the radio station’s recording of the finals of “Cepat Tepat“…

Dress-wise, I cannot complain too much as most of them came well-prepared, just that I feel when one wears a long-sleeved shirt with vest, it looks a bit old school and not concurrent with the times, especially when combined with the choice of songs that they sing (songs from the 80s / 90s) and the way they styled their hair, kinda reminded me of groups like Carefree, Flybaits and Gingerbread. Of course there were a few who need tips on styling or they came for the auditions straight from working the night shift beforehand, which was forgiveable and understandable. But all these can be worked upon once they advance into the latter rounds and when they get to work with professional stylists.

In my earlier entry promoting the auditions, I did say not to sing songs like Mawi‘s “Kian” or Jaclyn Victor‘s “Gemilang” as they are considered passe and will just bore the judges with no significant element to differentiate them from being better than the other. Before the contestants went up on stage, they were already told not to sing songs by Mawi, but that much-dreaded song along with B8‘s “Bidadari Hatiku“, Afgan‘s “Terima Kasih Cinta“, Imran Ajmain‘s “Seribu Tahun” and Merah‘s “Cintaku” seemed to be the favourites for most of the males. So much so that at one point, guest judge Jatt Ali hit out and said the guys were boring him to sleep. He was clearly miffed and told the remaining contestants to perform a song which is more upbeat or at least with more vigour, even if the song is melancholic.

Judges Jatt Ali, Ann Hussein & Eddy Ali listening intently to the contestants…

Showmanship-wise I think most of them need to polish up and start watching concerts and shows and try to get some tips. Some were too static, some were a little too expressive, while others just could not stop walking to and fro even when the song that they sang was a slow number. Some also need to eradicate bad habits like looking down all the time, closing their eyes or chewing gum or even putting their hands in their pockets whilst singing. The latter two actions I feel are extremely rude. Back in primary school, I remember vividly how we were told not to speak with our hands in our pockets as it reflects rudeness and arrogance. I wonder if they still impart this knowledge of basic etiquettes in school for kids to remember when they grow up.

There was another round of auditions today and based on the information I received, registration was open up till about 1pm. Apologies if my information was wrong or if there were changes made, as I got this piece of news yesterday when I got home. It’s a thankless job for the judges to choose out of hundreds and having to assess more than 500 hopefuls in two days. I hope the contestants would be well aware of what’s in store for them and work hard to achieve it. Time and time I’ve said, singing is not just about opening one’s mouth to carry a tune. There are more things to do than that. For those who have advanced to the latter rounds next weekend, I hope they read this entry and learn something from it or even from their experiences today and yesterday…

 

Snapshots of Anugerah 2011 Day One Auditions

View from the top…

The contestants waiting nervously for their turns…

Mediacorp Suria staff Farah Lydia & Wati Kassim manning the merchandise booth that was selling the upcoming Rock Elektra t-shirts and the television station’s official lanyards…

A close up shot of the pricing of the selling merchandise…

Anugerah Skrin alumnus Aidil Jufri & Firuz Khan came to show their support. Other members of the Anugerah Skrin and Anugerah alumni who came to watch the auditions include Nasriah Zainuddin, Nissa Bahruddin, Chirul and Chico

These were the guys who made it through to the next round. Spot that familiar face holding the microphone??? That’s Azhar Raz from the previous competition…

Our hosts sharing a banter with the audience…

After which, they hemmed up for the cameras…

 

Past Contestants Who Never Give Up…

 

This guy has a decent and what you call a manly voice. I hope he progresses cos he’s cool on the mic and smooth with his delivery…

I remember this guy from the Anugerah Skrin auditions last year. Back then he dyed his hair. Though he passed the first round last year, he was swiftly eliminated by the judges this year…

He obviously doesn’t need any introductions…

I was surprised that Danish did not make it to the Top 24 two years ago. He has matured in his performance since then, just that the jeans were kind of an eyesore to me…

 

Seeing Double???

I swear at first glance I thought he was Imran Ajmain cos he is as tall as the real McCoy…

I thought Riz Sunawan was about to ditch his day job as a broadcast journalist…

This gal reminds me of Nurul Huda of Singapore Idol Season 3. She looks and sounds a lot like Nurul. I wonder if they are related???

 

The Ones With Potential & Package…

Dian Hazwani‘s potential was spotted on YouTube and she was featured in RIA 89.7FM‘s “SG – Terjah Yang Menyerlah” programme a few weeks ago. She can play the guitar and with her image, comparisons are bound to be made between her and Yuna. She needs to create a distinct identity to avoid the unwanted comparisons… 

Screenbox Auditioning New Talents!!!

Want to learn the ropes of the acting world??? Here’s your chance!!!


Screenbox, the award-winning company that brought you infotainment programmes like Hanyut, Seksa, 647km2 and the recently-concluded comedy series on Mediacorp Suria, Kelakarsik, will be producing a number of exciting productions this year and they are looking for fresh new faces and talents. They are currently looking for kids from 7-12, youths aged 13-21, and adults aged 22 and above to be a part of a groundbreaking project for the community!!! So come down for the auditions!!!


Location: 1 Bukit Batok Crescent #09-56 WCEGA Plaza S658064

Dates: 11-12 March 2011

Time: 2-8pm for Friday 11th March 2011, 9am-5pm for Saturday 12th March 2011

 

For any enquiries, do contact them at 63242463. Be there!!!