Anugerah Planet Muzik 2017 Media Conference

(Graphics poster courtesy of Mediacorp Suria)

I usually start off my entries after a long hiatus with an apology to my readers for making them wait so long for my return. Seeing how in the past I’ve been doing it, only to repeat the cycle again and again like a bad record, I have decided that I will not be doing any at all this time. Some of you will be extremely surprised to read this, but this entry almost became my final entry announcing my retirement from the scene. Yup you read that right!!! I was heavily toying at the idea of retiring as I had lost interest in doing write-ups and reviews, not to mention my time-consuming photo-editing process. In addition, this is a job that is not being paid but out of my passion for the local / regional Malay entertainment scene. There is only so much time and effort I can afford to put in at the expense of quality time with family. Why I decided to put the idea on the back-burner is because there is still that wee bit ounce of passion which I managed to coax out of me. For how long more??? That itself is a question to be answered. I feel jaded really to be honest.

Local artistes and representatives of the local Malay music scene who turned out in force for the media conference at Orchard Hotel

I wish there were more like me out there, the ones who write / type with sense and rationale, not too emotional when critical, who will give benefit of doubt as much as they can. I just feel that it is time for a new generation of writers to take over but sadly also, blogging seems to be passe these days. I will not promise anything, but I guess from now, any entries on this domain should be regarded as “Heaven-sent”. I will pick and choose what events I attend henceforth and will not be bogged down by having to put entries or photos up as soon as the events end. Well it has always been that way, hasn’t it??? Just that I cannot commit to attending events (mostly at Mediacorp) on a regular basis henceforth, with its current location a bit far for my liking being the North-Easterner that I am. It is also to be fair to those who have kindly invited me to cover their respective events. With that out of the way, let’s begin this entry in earnest.

KC and Dzar Ismail were the hosts of the media conference in Singapore

Anugerah Planet Muzik has always been THE event that I most look forward to annually since its inception on 20th January 2001, so much so I am willing to forgo watching my beloved football club Manchester United, when they face our sworn enemies Liverpool on the day of the event (14th October 2017). Part of the reason I’ve decided to continue blogging was also because of this event. It is afterall the Grammys of the regional music scene, whereby the four countries, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei come together to celebrate the best amongst them for the year. I know I have not been doing any reviews since the 2014 edition, but it also gave me some breathing space to observe changes that were made over the last two instalments. I noted a lot of improvements along the way which many at home do not have the benefit of knowing nor seeing, and there were also shortcomings, mostly because of a change in venue and having to adapt to new surroundings. I am hoping that with the event once again returning to the MES Theatre @ Mediacorp, the visual experience will improve, especially for those at home, because watching it live in the theatre and at home are two extremely stark contrasting experiences.

Nurul Isnina performed her debut hit single “Buaya“…

Just like the previous year, the media conference announcing the nominees for this year’s edition, was held at Orchard Hotel, albeit at the smaller Lavender Room a fortnight ago (22nd August 2017). Where A.B. Shaik, Aura Shai and Fiza O have always been the usual hosts at previous APM media conferences in Singapore, this year saw a somewhat refreshing change with Dzar Ismail and KC anchoring the proceedings. The media conference was also graced by the performances of eventual nominees Nurul Isnina, Iyaad Salleh, Arus Band & Sofia Arissa. Where previous media conferences were used to showcase upcoming young talents our local industry has to show for, there was a distinct upgrade of quality with those nominated being invited to perform and to show the audience why their names are up there along with the regional’s best. The event also saw the performance of Aidil Akmal and Dzar Ismail with their Malay rendition of the global hit “Despacito“, titled “Incognito“, which has since garnered their music video more than ten million views!!! I was telling Dzar afterwards, if only one view could be converted to a dollar, he could afford to retire by now. Such is the outreach of social media these days, that through creative works such as these, one can make it viral worldwide.

Arus Band, along with Sofia Arissa, were one of the few performers that day. Here, they’re seen singing their current hit song on the airwaves “Terlalu“…

A minor controversy emerged when I was viewing the live Facebook feed of the media conference at Hard Rock Cafe Kuala Lumpur on 24th August 2017. I noted that Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza who was initially nominated in the Best Female Artiste Category for her song “Menatap Dalam Mimpi” was missing as compared to the one announced in Singapore just two days before. I only got the answer after seeing reports that the organisers had indeed acknowledged and apologised for their error during the media conference in Kuala Lumpur itself and that all was fine between them as well as Dato’ Siti, and her management who were the ones who had alerted the organisers about it. I think this is a fine example of years of good working relationship between both sides as well as honesty and integrity being practised. The management could have kept quiet about it, but they did not. Thumbs up to Siti Nurhaliza Productions for the highlight and Mediacorp for acknowledging their error and apologising for it!!!

Ms. Zakiah Halim, Head of Mediacorp Malay Community addressing the floor along with CEO of COMPASS, Dr. Edmund Lam and Mr. Hassan Salleh, Senior Programming Director, Warna 94.2FM & RIA 89.7FM, Mediacorp

A special first concert road tour for this year’s Anugerah Planet Muzik was announced by Mr. Hassan Salleh towards the end of the media conference. For the first time in the history of the prestigious regional awards show, Mediacorp is partnering with the organisers of the Formula 1 Petronas Grand Prix Malaysia for a concert road tour to close the race in Sepang, which will see it hosting for the 19th and final time. The concert will be the penultimate show on the final day of the race (1st October 2017) and will feature some of the regional award nominees of Anugerah Planet Muzik 2017. At the time of typing this entry, I still do not know details of the concert and who exactly will be performing till perhaps closer to the date. My guess is that we will have big names from Malaysia, Indonesia and also Singapore to grace the concert. Will I be covering the concert??? That depends if some kind soul or organisation will be kind enough to sponsor my trip up north. Anyway I’m sure there will be some live streaming or at the very least, some live Facebook feed of the concert for us to view the proceedings if we are unable to physically watch it live.

The APM trophies are up for grabs again…

A total of 19 awards will be presented at this year’s event, the same as the previous year, with no tweaks nor changes made to any of the categories. Viewers and listeners can catch the ‘LIVE’ simulcast on TV channel Mediacorp Suria, radio stations RIA 89.7FM and Warna 94.2FM as well as online streaming via Toggle LIVE. APM 2017 will feature a new generation of artistes discovered largely from social media platforms and is set to entertain and dazzle with a stellar line-up such as Ayda Jebat, Aisyah Aziz, Isyana Sarasvati, Virgoun, Gloria Jessica, Aiman Tino, Hael Husaini, and many more. Music fans and enthusiasts are also given the opportunity to vote for their favourite songs and artistes in fan-driven categories from 22nd August until 14th October, 10.00pm on Toggle at toggle.sg/apm. The categories are Most Popular Artiste (Singapore), Most Popular Song (Singapore), APM Most Popular Artiste, APM Most Popular Song and Social Media Icon. Tickets are priced at SGD $28 and SGD $48 (including GST and excluding SISTIC fee) and can be purchased at all authorised SISTIC outlets and online at www.sistic.com.sg from 22nd August 2017 onwards. At the time of typing this entry, the $68 seats are already sold out!!! APM 2017 is supported by Info-communications Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA) and Composers and Authors Society of Singapore (COMPASS).

Snapshots of APM2017 Media Conference

Anugerah 2017 Grand Finals Miscellaneous Snapshots…

Mohammad Shahfiq was instantly mobbed by his fellow competitors when the cameras stopped rolling, but as this shot was being taken, I could hear him tell them in Malay, “Hold on for awhile, I would like to meet my parents first…” Just look at where his eyes were looking at and you will realise the humility, gratitude and class that he possess. The judges truly crowned a deserving winner…

As the title above suggests, I am not doing any reviews at all for this particular entry, as I still have 4000-odd photographs that I still need to edit from last Tuesday‘s penultimate episode. In case anyone is waiting for me to speak about the final results or summarise the competition as a whole, well you just have to wait a wee bit longer as the fourteenth instalment of Pesta Perdana, happening this coming Friday, takes precedence. This entry is more of a filler to bridge the empty void between last week’s Grand Finals and Pesta Perdana. Here are some miscellaneous photos from the night whereby Mohammad Shahfiq became the latest winner of the Anugerah competition.  These shots were taken pre-show, during the commercial breaks, post-show as well as the dinner reception afterwards. Enjoy!!!

Imran Ajmain’s “Setulus Kasih” Album Launch…

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Last Saturday (19 April 2014), situated at the Play Den, The Arts House, Imran Ajmain launched his third career album in front of a bevy of local media representatives, his friends from the local Malay entertainment scene, loyal followers from his Imtiaz fan club and other invited guests. The album titled “Setulus Kasih” (Pure Love) is a seven-track tapestry of love notes and empowering words for womankind. I’d like to call it an “Ode to Women” after listening to six of the songs performed by Imran that day, lyrics which gratify and giving gratitude to women of all ages, for their sacrifices and love. I think this album’s launch is apt, in the middle of International Women’s Day (8 March) and the upcoming annual Mothers’ Day celebrations on the second weekend of May, even though no mention of this was made that day.

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Imran doesn’t need extravagant settings and backdrop for his showcases. His voice and storytelling alone more than make up for it. In fact, it is a reflection of his humility…

This album has been long-awaited, given that it was supposed to be released last year, but due to Imran‘s family bereavement, the launch was delayed for about a year, with him taking time off from the scene to spend with his beloved mother. Now back with a renewed vigour, Imran has released his album exclusively with Spotify. In case you dunno by now, Spotify is a commercial music streaming service providing digital rights management-restricted content from established and renowned record labels like Sony, EMI, Warner Music Group and Universal. One is able to listen to albums for free without the need to download the songs. Spotify is also available as an application that you can download into your respective iPhones, Androids and Blackberries. For the record, the digital album was officially launched by none other than PERKAMUS President, Cikgu Yusnor Ef.

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Imran Ajmain and Cikgu Yusnor Ef…

Dispensing with melancholic and sappy ballads which he has been known for since bursting into the scene in 2007, Imran has painstakingly injected a positive and motivating outlook in all his songs this time round. A special feature of this album is that all the songs were written by himself with first-time composers and lyricists from Singapore, a project that spanned over two years. One thing I will always enjoy sitting in an Imran Ajmain‘s showcase over the years (and I am a huge fan of his music if you don’t already know by now), is that it has lots of substance, not just plain singing, nor just saying hello-goodbye-thank you to his fans. He makes the effort to relate something from his experiences in life or describe the trials and tribulations he has to go through into composing a particular song he is about to sing or have just sung. This recent album launch was no different.

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Dato’ Fazley Yaakob making a surprise appearance…

What he certainly did not expect was the surprise appearance of his boss, Dato’ Fazley Yaakob, owner of FIPro (Fazley International Productions Sdn. Bhd.). When Imran was about to play Dato’ Fazley‘s congratulatory greetings footage on his album launch, the technical guys purposely refused to play the video clip and instead Dato’ Fazley himself came in with some of the members of Imran‘s fan club, Imtiaz, with a birthday cake and singing him the birthday song. I could see from the looks of the faces of those in attendance, how equally surprised they were and of course some of the ladies gushing at how good looking Dato’ Fazley is. It was a befitting tribute and advanced birthday celebration for Imran (who celebrated his 33rd birthday yesterday 25th April 2014), who I know has contributed to the growth of FIPro through his creative ideas.

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Imran‘s fan club members – Imtiaz – coming forward with gifts for his surprise advanced birthday celebrations…

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Imran Ajmain on the launch of his “Setulus Kasih” album as well as wish him many happy returns on his 33rd birthday, albeit belatedly by a day. May this album mark another milestone and growth in Imran‘s steady career and may he achieve more success than ever before. You can now listen to his digital album live via Spotify or if you are the traditional kind and would like to get your hands on its physical CD format, it will be made available in an event that will happen on 7 June 2014. The CD will be sold and proceeds will go to An-Nur Mosque in Marsiling, of which Imran is a benefactor. All for a good cause, so why not lend our support to Imran and the mosque on that day??? 🙂