Anugerah Planet Muzik 2018 Media Conference


Graphics poster courtesy of MediaCorp Suria and designed by Budi Iskandar Sa’ad

We’re just a few days away from my annual favourite regional awards event, Anugerah Planet Muzik (APM 2018), and I finally got the time to share what transpired during the media conference which was held on 31st July 2018. I could have posted this entry much earlier but Elit Suria which was more concurrent back then took precedence and I didn’t want to hype this event too early as we were still a good two months away. Anyway, this year marks APM‘s seventeenth edition with the unveiling of notable nominees from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam. Once again organised by Mediacorp Suria, Warna 94.2FM and RIA 89.7FM, the 2018 nominees were announced at Orchard Hotel‘s Grand Ballroom with performances by local artistes Farhan Shah, Izat Ibrahim, Liwani Izzati, Firwan Johan, Jagad Edge and Miiko the 13th. An estimated attendance of about a hundred local singers, musicians, producers and songwriters attended the event.

The APM trophies, which go through several revised changes in design and sizes over the years, again up for grabs this year…

What was intriguing about the media conference that day for me was the presence of Mimifly of One Nation Emcees fame, who is now a solo artiste. Seldom do we get a regional artiste attending an APM media conference here in Singapore in years past. Seeing her presence from a distance as I was going up the escalator, was an early indicator of her coming involvement in this year’s instalment. The moment I stepped off from the escalator, I met Ryan Sufiyan who let slipped that he is scheduled to perform with her at this year’s awards show. Instantly I knew that their song “Gila” would be up for nomination for one of the Best Collaboration categories. I guess years of following the event has more or less got me tuned in to the link between performing on the actual night and being nominated. Eventually when the nominations were officially announced, I was proven correct. Speaking of nominations, leading the list is Malaysian-based rapper-songwriter Alif Abdullah of former pop duo, SleeQ, with six nominations. This is followed closely by our local acts Aisyah Aziz and Sufi Rashid, Malaysia’s up-and-coming pop star As’ad Motawh, as well as Indonesia’s pop princess, Isyana Sarasvati with five nominations each.

DJs KC and Dzar Ismail returned once again as hosts for this year’s media conference. They were seen here with Farhan Shah right after his performance…

It is nice to see amongst the list of nominees a mix of young and the more experienced. Who would expect to see a legendary group like Search still churning out quality music in this current age of 90s revival music and social media sensations??? Or Brunei affirming their continued presence in the list with Jaz Hayat once again being nominated since his previous in 2016??? Indeed with the proclivity of social media as a daily staple for most of us, music has found a way for us to appreciate regional talents and for music producers to scout for budding talents. In the case of Bruneians like Aziz Harun and Jaz Hayat, they were fortunate to have Malaysian and Indonesian producers who saw the talent they possess, and now they are reaping the benefits of such collaboration. Which is what the Anugerah Planet Muzik brand is also about, getting to know talents from all four regional Southeast Asian countries, exchanging ideas, networking and eventually collaborating to make more good music for us to savour. As what former Lead of Mediacorp Malay Community, Ms. Zakiah Halim said, “As the only regional Malay music awards event, Anugerah Planet Muzik has always created meaningful opportunities and collaborations between artistes and musicians to raise their profiles in the region. We are proud that the APM 2018 nominees are trendsetters who are pushing the boundaries of creativity in their music.”

Ms. Zakiah Halim and Dr. Edmund Lam, CEO of COMPASS, addressing the attendees of the media conference…

Viewers can expect the hottest music acts and buzzworthy pop culture moments in this year’s APM that will be held at MES Theatre at MediaCorp Campus this coming Friday, 28 September 2018 from 9.00pm. The awards show will be hosted by RIA 89.7FM‘s Fiza O, Malaysia‘s Nabil Ahmad and Indonesia‘s Daniel Mananta. Another highlight of the media conference was the announcement of the performers for this year’s event, where usually they do not announce till much later due to confirmation of artistes availability. This time round, the organisers managed to secure the acts by the time the media conference came about. For the record, Anugerah Planet Muzik 2018 will feature hit performances by Dato’ Sri Siti Nurhaliza who is making a comeback to the event after a three-year break, Dato’ Rossa, Judika, Isyana Sarasvati, Ryan Sufiyan, MimiFly, Khai Bahar, Ayda Jebat, Sara Fajira, DJ Kenny Gabriel, Adrian Khalif, Farhan Shah, Jaz Hayat, G.A.C. (Gamaliel Audrey Cantika) as well as local band The Pinholes. I for one am very much looking forward to seeing the trio of Gamaliel, Audrey and Cantika (G.A.C.) for the first time live as I have been quite a big fan of some of their hits over the past year or so like “Satu“, “Cinta“, “Never Leave Ya” and their debut single, “Bahagia“. I will not be surprised if they are slated to open or end the show with their catchy songs “Satu” and “Never Leave Ya“.

The local artistes, as well as Mimifly herself (front row eighth from right), with a group photograph for memories sake…

Music fans and enthusiasts are also given the opportunity to vote for their favourite songs and artistes in fan-based categories from 31 July to 25 September 2018, 11.59pm on 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. The theme for this year’s Anugerah Planet Muzik 2018 is Tropics / Tropical with the hashtag #TropicLikeItsHot expected to trend on social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, alongside #APM2018 and the returning #GilerTakGerek hashtags which caught on at last year’s event. Suffice to say, the next few days cannot come soon enough and I cannot wait to share with you photographs I will be snapping on Friday itself. Just so you know the usual drill, I will break down my posts and post them in instalment entries so you just have to come here every few days to check them out.

*Best APM Song and Special APM Awards will be announced on 28th September 2018

 

Snapshots of APM2018 Media Conference

 

KC & Fiza O’s Wedding Event (Day Two)…

First outfit by Weddingku Gallery

I know many are anticipating more photographs to be uploaded in this blog as well as my own personal Facebook account, but sifting through hundreds of shots (in the case of the third day, thousand-odd photographs) snapped, having to choose the best ones, edit, enhance and watermark them is quite a process which takes hours and days. I beseech your kind understanding to give me some time to post the photographs I have snapped during the wedding event of RIA 89.7FM personalities KC and Fiza O. I also have a day job, a family to commit myself to and that I have to strike a balance, more so as blogging is just a leisurely passion done on my own free time. But of course I do try to hasten as quickly as possible for your viewing pleasure just to please readers of my blog. 🙂

Second outfit by Hatta Dolmat

Day two of the wedding event was held over at the groom’s side at Serangoon Gardens Country Club, to be more precise, at the Kensington Ballroom last Saturday 20 October 2012. A meet-the-fans session was also planned at the Singapore Flyer vicinity. However due to some unavoidable technical glitches, the appearances of the newly-weds were delayed and some of the fans who had waited at Singapore Flyer were disappointed and left early. Still, about a hundred-odd well-wishers remained and were given their opportunity to snap photographs with the newly-weds who donned a stunning red outfit by Weddingku Gallery. Not to be outdone, they came back to Serangoon Gardens Country Club in the evening wearing a black ensemble by renowned Malaysian fashion designer Hatta Dolmat. I guess I will not bore you any further with my ramblings. Enjoy the photographs!!!

Anugerah Planet Muzik 2011 Review…

Anugerah Planet Muzik 2011 returned to these shores last Friday night after a four-year absence, venturing in Kuala Lumpur in 2008 and Jakarta in 2009, before taking a break last year due to the economic slowdown. 2010 also saw the birth of our very own AnugeraHitz.SG, so it was understandably taxing for Mediacorp Radio‘s Warna 94.2FM & RIA 89.7FM to organise Anugerah Planet Muzik, moreso in Singapore where we do not have the privilege of having mega sponsorships from big companies as what is being enjoyed by our regional counterparts. As such, we have to lower our expectations on seeing more of such big events being organised here. Unless of course if our mainstream media organisations can pool their resources together and give what the consumers would want to see. Anyway, the event celebrated its tenth year in existence, a long way since its inception in 2001 held at the now-defunct Harbour Pavilion. I still remember that 20 January 2001 event like it was yesterday.

Judging from last Friday‘s attendance at the Max Pavilion Singapore Expo where the event was held, I think a working collaboration of such magnitude is still far away from getting materialised. Just imagine, we had one of the best line-ups in Anugerah Planet Muzik history, yet the venue was only about half full. Who should we blame this for??? The economy??? The organisers??? The consumers??? The event venue??? The promotions team??? I’ve said it before and I say it again, we here in Singapore are suckers for free shows, no thanks to the monthly exhibitions at Singapore Expo where we can watch guest artistes performing without paying a single cent. The timing of the event could also have played a small part in not enticing people from attending it. It was only a month ago that we had Maher Zain performing here to a sell-out audience, and tickets to his concert did not come cheap, especially for those who came in big groups or as a family.

I find it extremely odd that even with the likes of Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza, Afgan, Rossa, M. Nasir, Hady Mirza and Taufik Batisah just to name a few in the stellar line-up, it was difficult to attract bums to seats. Not only that, it is a mystery to me that the event felt more like a SingaporeMalaysia affair with mostly Singaporean and Malaysian artistes in attendance. The Indonesians had their host in Daniel Mananta and performers in Afgan Syah Reza, Rossa, Melly Goeslaw and Sandhy Sondoro, but other than them, only Judika was seen sitting behind Aliff Aziz amongst the audience. No one can deny that the Indonesians produce good music and good talents, but I hope it doesn’t breed a sense of pompous attitude that they do not support an event such as this. At least accept the invitation of the organisers to come and make the effort to meet their fans over here. We already have a sizeable number of Indonesians working or attending school here and it would be nice to meet their fellow countrymen.

Taufik Batisah, Hady Mirza, Sezairi Sezali, SleeQ, Sarah Aqilah and Rahayu Ridwan opened the show with “Senyum“… Not forgetting Orkestar Trio and Bloco Singapura before that…

Speaking of the venue, I had major reservations when I first heard that it was gonna be held there back in April. Unsavoury memories of APM2006 were still fresh in my mind and to tell you the truth, I had not stepped foot at that event venue since then till last Thursday afternoon, when I dropped by to watch Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza and Jaclyn Victor rehearsing for their tribute segment with Melly Goeslaw. I did not attend any concerts or shows held there for the past five years, for the sole reasons that I was sceptical of the poor sound system which I experienced back in 2006. There were also other factors that made APM2006 the least enjoyable or to put it harshly, “the worst”, in my opinion. I would not want to bring it up here as I had already done so back then, also in this domain. But I’m sure the organisers have taken into account the shortcomings and strived to make it a better experience for those who had paid to come and watch the event as the years go by.

As a whole, I personally feel that this year’s Anugerah Planet Muzik event is probably almost on par with the ones held back in 2002 and 2004, the years I felt were the better-produced ones in its history. Coincidentally both editions were also held at Singapore Expo, though at Halls 6 and 3 respectively. Ok some of you might say that I’m saying this just because I have finally gotten what I wanted, which is getting official media accreditation, something which I had fought hard to attain all these years and that I had to say nice things so as to get future invitations to such events. I’m sorry to disappoint my haters and dissenters, but what I observed live was very much different than couch potatoes at home. And I have a strong feeling that those who bothered to come, some even dressed up to the nines, would say that it was all worth coming and paying every single cent to watch it, no matter if they had sat nearer to the stage or way at the back.

Malaysia‘s Didie Alias introduced her hosting colleagues with a modified version of Lady Gaga‘s “Bad Romance“…

Yes, I know just by reading my Twitter timeline, Facebook wall, as well as online reports on the event, commenters out there did not paint a rosy picture. It is Anugerah Planet Muzik (APM) afterall, and what is being organised by our local Malay radio stations or even by our own Suria channel, will never be good for those watching at home, especially those who were watching from outside this country. This show has always received flak from the foreign media, who have too high expectations given that it is a regional event, so it was not a surprise for me to read the negative commentaries. I attribute some of these bad press to the fact that most of the foreign media did not turn up due to the lack of invitation and were not granted transportation & lodging as well by the organisers. I didn’t know that such practices are the norm in entertainment journalism, at least across our shores. I certainly learnt something new here cos I thought it was the job of their respective employers to provide these sort of arrangements to cover events. I’m still a newbie at this, so please forgive me for my ignorance.

Anyway I have to admit hand to heart, the show has its niggly flaws to contend with (which show is perfect you tell me???), but if you look at it in the bigger picture, would anyone else from Malaysia or Indonesia bother to do a similar show or even give our own local acts their due recognitions on stage??? Already from my Twitter timeline I read how so many people from outside this country have not heard of our local artistes, other than those who have made a name for themselves there. This is one of the reasons why Anugerah Planet Muzik is held, for artistes in each country to be introduced and known to the region and for the established ones to maintain their positions. If you ask me before this event was held, I have never heard of the likes of Amanda Imani, Aisya Hasnaa, Zivilia, Blackout, Astrid, Govinda and Febrian before this, just to name a few of the region’s newbie acts, but thanks to APM, I now know that even though they are new to the scene, they do not lack in quality.

The awesome foursome who lit the night up with their antics…

Likewise I hope that people outside this country would get to know our acts better and who knows, their presence on stage would open more doors for them across our shores. The problem with viewers outside Singapore is that they are too nationalistic in their views over their respective music scenes and think they have the bigger and better industry. Of course they do, that I do not deny, but isn’t music meant to be shared and enjoyed universally??? No matter what the foreign media or entertainment bloggers or even general viewers might say about APM, it is an event such as this that brings the region together and for the musicians, performers, producers, lyricists and composers to build a working network, so as to bring up the quality of music in this region through the proliferation and exchanging of ideas. In this respect, the words of Gigi‘s front man, Armand Maulana, – “Keep the peace, love & respect for music” – rings true.

Though I had said that this is probably one of the better APMs in its history, the best was still the one in 2005 held at Suntec City Convention Hall where it was a sold-out event and it had a proper Red Carpet event, complete with artistes coming in limousines and the fans lining up the passageways to clamour and jostle for photographs. Now that’s what a Red Carpet event should be about. Not that this year was not good, but it could have been done slightly better. I heard and I saw for myself how fans were coming forward to grab the artistes or stepped forward on the Red Carpet themselves when it was supposed to be exclusivity for the artistes to walk on. Why they were allowed to do this was because there were no barricades separating the artistes and them. Some who had grabbed the artistes or stepped foot on the red carpet only served to slow down the smoothness of the proceedings. Still, I thought it was much better than in 2006 where the artistes had to “do the catwalk” on stage to be introduced to the audience. My other gripe would be more artistes should have walked the carpet even if they were not performing or presenting awards. Quite a few of our nominees were in attendance. At least give them their deserved spotlight on their big night.

The suave Adi Rahman

In any awards show, the host/s have a responsibility of keeping the interest of viewers going. I like the make-up of this year’s hosting line-up, especially the introduction of Malaysia‘s Lady Gaga, Didie Alias, and Indonesian MTV VJ, Daniel Mananta. They brought a new and more creative element into the mix, a breath of fresh air no doubt. Didie‘s over-the-top antics stole the show, while the rest looked more than happy to play the supporting role. However, some of what was written on their scripts and planned antics were unnecessary, like the dig on Malaysian actress Rozita Che Wan and her reported beau, Shahir, for instance. It’s like a recycled joke when Adi Rahman used to profess his love for Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza in previous APMs that he had hosted before. I was just amazed the Lady Gaga segment at the beginning of the show passed by without any hoo-ha, given the fact that her “modified” songs brought so much consternation over the past week on this island, due to the furore surrounding the National Day Parade‘s “Fun Pack“.

The opening segment comprising an all-Singaporean affair, which had never been done before in the history of the show, was a fresh idea and one that had the audience cheering right from the start. It gave an impression that our local acts, acting as our ambassadors, were the ones who did the welcoming to their regional counterparts and the audience watching at home to the show. Everyone looked as though they were enjoying themselves, most notably our newly-crowned Anugerah 2011 champion, Rahayu Ridwan. However, I personally feel that it would have been better had a song by any one of our local acts be sung instead. Looking at their comfort on stage, whilst rapping is the forte of SleeQ, our three Idols are more known as crooners rather than rappers. Part of the lyrics to the song “Senyum” also related more on the original performer’s (Malique) life, which does not really reflect much about welcoming us to the show. Some of their voices were also inaudible at times or drowned by the live music, due to technical problems with the microphone volumes.

The affable Fiza O 

I will of course, not describe each and every single performance per se, as you can view all of them on YouTube, thanks to the people who have uploaded them. Personally I enjoyed a bulk of the performances that night and three hours went by a little too fast for my liking. From the various solo and group performances, to the teaming up of regional acts on stage, APM 2011 delivered in its live entertainment value. I was extremely proud of our local acts, each and every single one of them, who showed that they were able to stand tall along with their regional counterparts. There was no inferiority complex whatsoever, just confident performances throughout. Aryan Band, is one that needs a special mention as most people in Singapore have also not heard of them before this, yours truly included. Just by their name, I thought they were from Indonesia. Their rendition of “Azura 2011” had the hairs at the back of my neck standing by the end of their performance. No wonder Luncai Emas Sdn Bhd have signed them up under their label. This group is certainly about to go places in the upcoming future.

Other local acts that need to be given props are Sarah Aqilah (“Seikhlas Hatimu“) and Sezairi Sezali. The former has certainly grown and improve from her Anugerah 2009 win and I do hope she would go on to build a proper singing career once her studies are over. Sezairi on the other hand, impressed with his soothing vocals when he performed “Matahari“. Other notable performances that I enjoyed that night were Amanda Imani (“Selamilah Cinta“), Afgan Syah Reza (“Terima Kasih Cinta” / “Dia Dia Dia“), and the tribute to Anugerah Khas Planet Muzik recipient, Melly Goeslaw, by Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza, Jaclyn Victor and Melly herself. 3 Suara, which comprises Ning Baizura, Jaclyn Victor & Shylla Amzah, was another that grabbed the attention with their sultry showmanship. Even though I also loved Ajai and Shylla‘s duet, performing The Lion Story & Zahidah‘s “Lagu Teman“, it would have been nice if the original singers were given their dues and opportunity to perform on the night.

Daniel Mananta is definitely a hit with the ladies…

Surprisingly, I did not quite enjoy two of my favourite performers’ performances and I’m sure you can more or less guess who. Though I love Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza and Faizal Tahir to bits, I thought their performances that night did not quite work out as it should be. The former’s song “I’m Falling In Love“, which is a new single in her upcoming English album, is a bit too identical to Kylie Minogue‘s “Can’t Get You Outta My Head“, along with the dance steps. As for the latter, I’m sure you know what happened when he went flat and off-key when performing “Hanyut” and “Selamat Malam“. The delay to his performance was caused by the hanging of his accompanying keyboardist’s PC. But he should have saved the day by engaging the audience with his witty quips, which he is known for, rather than keep quiet and let the seconds and minutes go by.

From what I read online, a lot of people were blaming the organisers and production team for this particular boo-boo and this also included the four-minute loss of transmission towards the end, which I felt was quite unfair, since most of these comments were made by people who did not watch the show live. The loss of transmission was due to the heavy storm which descended outside the event venue just before Dato’ Siti was awarded the Most Popular Regional Artiste Award. Acts of God like these are unavoidable and there is no way you can prevent if such a thing were to occur. Some went so far as to comment they demand an explanation from the organisers, even if they have to wait till the end of time. Be realistic, don’t be ridiculous!!! As for Mr Superman himself, I hope he had done enough sound checks beforehand to know what could possibly go wrong on the night. That’s the reason why you have sound checks and rehearsals leading up to a show.

Other unsavoury bits of news I heard were some artistes smoking in the waiting room and throwing their cigarette butts on the carpeted floors. I dunno if this is plain stupidity or ignorance or simply a lack of common sense on their part, but they could have caused a fire to break out as a result and more damage to the show. Basic etiquettes like not chewing gum when you’re on stage performing or even when accepting an award, should also be drummed into the heads of wannabe artistes out there. Not only is it rude with millions in the region watching your every move, it reflects badly on the country you represent. There is a time and place to enjoy that puff or chew the gum, but don’t ruin your newly-built reputations when the media is ever ready to pounce on your flaws and bring you down. If you are a Singaporean artiste, you will count yourselves very lucky the media here are very much forgiving and always giving the benefit of doubt. Malaysian or Indonesian artistes do not exactly enjoy that liberty.

Looking at the winners, I don’t think eyebrows need to be raised with most of the choices, even though many people have been questioning the wisdom in crowning the Lagu Serantau Paling Popular Award to our Asian Idol, Hady Mirza. No doubt his win in that category was a bit surprising. I also did not expect any of our local acts to win in that category for the sole reason being our population size, as compared to our regional counterparts. If voters from other countries are crying foul, then it’s their fault for not working hard or having the presence of mind to vote for their respective favourites, given the fact that they were already told via the official radio stations in their respective countries on how to go about voting for their favourites. Either way, the tech savvy ones simply did not bother to vote nor having the initiative to find out how to do it. No point calling it a farce when other sets of fans have worked hard to make it possible.

But the crowning of Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza as the Most Popular Regional Artiste (Throughout The Decade) was the one that surprised me in terms of what it meant for her in future. By virtue of winning this award, and what the television viewers did not get to see due to the loss in transmission, it was announced that she is automatically exempted from being nominated again in upcoming Anugerah Planet Muzik events in this particular category. I dunno if this was an executive decision made by the organisers or one that the diva herself had agreed upon beforehand, but I hope for her sake, she is not “banned” from being nominated again and that it was in agreement that she would give way to others, just like what she did with Anugerah Juara Lagu and Anugerah Bintang Popular Berita Harian back in her home country. This win was very much expected given the fact that she is well-loved by people from the three countries. Ten in a row, it will take someone equally special to top that feat and may never be repeated in our lifetime.

I also would like to go on record to say I like the delectable mix of award presenters that night, even though it also has to be said that a constant complain at every APM is the “recycling” of performers and them backing up as presenters as well. I think the ones that were most enjoyable that night were Dato’ AC Mizal & Huda Ali as well as Halim Othman & Linda Onn. Their banters were off-the-cuff, natural and showed uncanny chemistry between them. Linda certainly impressed me with her natural usage of Bahasa Baku, something that even most of us do not practice every day. The only downside to the scripts were the sexual innuendoes which I felt were a bit unnecessary or the jibes on their fellow presenters’ private lives. There is a place for jokes like that, but not when the show is watched by millions of viewers of all ages in the region.

I have a niggly issue with the finale though and I need to do a bit of complaining about it. I thought it could have been done much better by having a final rousing performance by any of the acts to end the night, but it was not to be. Instead, it ended with the hosts thanking everyone and the sponsors and it was left to them to dance along to the accompanying music and waving to the audience in the hall and at home. For most of the good things that happened that night, it had to end off with an anti-climax like that. I think the one in 2007 where the show ended with Kris Dayanti, Hady Mirza, Diddy and the late Yanie (May Allah bless her soul), was an example of a good finale. I really hope that the organisers would think about this aspect the next time they stage APM anywhere in the region, as it would be a waste to end off a good show with nothing more than what was displayed, plus the traditional showering of confetti upon everyone seated at the front and on stage.

Anugerah Planet Muzik 2011 was, in my humble opinion, a generally enjoyable event. A pity then that the arena was only about half full when it should have been a sell-out. The line-up was great, the performances were mostly excellent. Yes I detected a few technical problems when I watched it again on YouTube and that is something that the organisers should take heed and note for the betterment of future productions. Given the economic climate, I feel that if it were to be organised here again, it should be held at a smaller venue where the acoustics would lend justice to the performers as well as those watching in the arena and at home. Kudos to those who paid f0r and dressed up for the event. The ones who enjoyed themselves were those who were in attendance. It was two different experiences soaking the atmosphere live and watching from the comfort of home. And that is where we get the accolades and flak from different sets of viewers. Anugerah Planet Muzik 2012 if it is to be staged, God willing, will probably be held in Jakarta, though I hope that it would be in Kuala Lumpur instead.

P.S. A big thank you to Mediacorp Radio Warna 94.2FM & RIA 89.7FM for the kind invitation to the event. Thank you also to my outfit sponsor Jatt’s Collezione for the top I wore the other night. In case you are wondering why there are no photographs on the performances, award presenters as well as post-event reception, I have planned to upload them in subsequent entries so you need to come back soon…

Anugerah Planet Muzik 2011 Predictions

Ever since Anugerah 2011 ended, this blog has since quietened down with no entries to show for, when I had an entry or two published almost every week during the period of competition. This blog will continue to be quiet as it embarks on its annual hiatus come the months of Ramadan and Syawal. But before it goes into its traditional hibernation mode, let me just fill the spaces of this domain with my own predictions on the possible winners of Anugerah Planet Muzik 2011, which makes its long-awaited return on Friday night at Singapore Expo‘s Max Pavilion. Yes, the regional awards show is finally coming home and I am so looking forward to it, moreso as this year will be the first time I will be attending the event as part of the media brigade. So out of sheer boredom and something to anticipate the event, I present to you my own personal picks for the various awards up for grabs. My picks will be the ones I highlighted. Disclaimer: This is just for fun so don’t sue me if I get it wrong in the end…

VOKAL TERBAIK (ARTIS BARU LELAKI) / BEST VOCAL (NEW MALE ARTISTE)

Aris – 1000 X Maaf

Febrian – Cinta Itu Gila

Igo – Kemenangan Cinta

Sandhy Sondoro – Bunga Mimpi

Sezaire Sezali – Matahari

VOKAL TERBAIK (ARTIS BARU WANITA) / BEST VOCAL (NEW FEMALE ARTISTE)

Aisya Hasnaa – Lagu Mahu Kamu

Amanda Imani – Selamilah Cinta

Ana Raffali – Tolong Ingatkan Aku

Mytha – Seperti Yang Kau Minta

Roze Kasmani – Harum

VOKAL TERBAIK (DUO/KUMPULAN BARU) / BEST VOCAL (NEW DUO/GROUP)

Ana Raffali, Sohaimi Meor Hassan & Altimet – Kalau Berpacaran

Azlan & The Typewriter – Kelibat Si Penyair

Govinda – Bawa Aku Lari

Projek Pistol – Wanita Seluruh Dunia

Zivilia – Aishiteru

KOLABORASI TERBAIK / BEST COLLABORATION

Amarah – Siti Nurhaliza & Kris Dayanti – Composer: Audi Mok, Lyricist: Siti Nurhaliza

Berteman Rindu – Didicazli & Giselle – Composer: Didicazli, Lyricist: Didicazli

Harus Bagaimana – Atilia & Maliq & d’Essentials – Composer: Widi Puradiredja, Lyricist: Widi Puradiredja

Kalau Cinta – Aliff Aziz & Joanna – Composer: Panji, Lyricist: Panji

Sayang – Dayang Nurfaizah & Marcell – Composer: Omar K, Lyricist: Nuur Iman

ARTIS LELAKI TERBAIK / BEST MALE ARTISTE

Faizal Tahir – Adrenalin

Glenn Fredly – Lovevolution

Hady Mirza – Sang Penyanyi

Hafiz – Masih Jelas

Judika – Setengah Mati Merindu

ARTIS WANITA TERBAIK / BEST FEMALE ARTISTE

Agnes Monica – Sacredly Agnezious

Ana Raffali – Ketika Aku Kecil

Astrid – Lihat Aku Sekarang

Rossa – Harmoni Jalinan Nada & Cerita

Sarah Aqilah – Sarah Aqilah

DUO/KUMPULAN TERBAIK / BEST DUO/GROUP

Andra & The Backbone – Love, Faith & Hope

D’Masiv – Perjalanan

Kotak – Energi

3 Suara – Jaclyn, Ning & Shila – 3 Suara

6ixth Sense – + – x /

Ungu – 1000 Kisah 1 Hati

ALBUM TERBAIK / BEST ALBUM

Cari Jodoh – Wali – Producer: Sujana

CTKD – Siti Nurhaliza & KrisDayanti – Producers: Aubrey Suwito, Audi Mok, Charly ST12, Siti Nurhaliza & KrisDayanti

Energi – Kotak – Producer: Pay BIP

Ketika Aku Kecil – Ana Raffali – Producer: Aidit Alfian

Sang Penyanyi – Hady Mirza – Producer: Hady Mirza

3 Suara – Jaclyn, Ning & Shila – Producers: Irwan Simanjuntak, Paul Morrison, Kevin Chin & Aylwin Santiago

LAGU TERBAIK SINGAPURA / BEST SONG (SINGAPORE)

Harum – Roze Kasmani – Composers: Imran Ajmain & Alyph SleeQ, Lyricist: Shah Shamsiri

Ku Tetap Kan Menunggu – Hady Mirza – Composer: Hady Mirza, Lyricist: Hady Mirza

Lagu Teman – The Lion Story Feat. Zahidah – Composer: Haramain Osman, Lyricist: Haramain Osman

Maafkan Ku (Oh Cinta) – Faizal Isa – Composer: Janz Abdullah, Lyricists: Aina Azizi & Khairul Anwar

Matahari – Sezaire Sezali – Composer: Haramain Osman, Lyricist: Haramain Osman

LAGU TERBAIK MALAYSIA / BEST SONG (MALAYSIA)

Awan Nano – Hafiz – Composer: M Nasir, Lyricist: Buddhi Hekayat

Hanyut – Faizal Tahir – Composers: Audi Mok & Faizal Tahir, Lyricists: Audi Mok & Faizal Tahir

Kalau Berpacaran – Ana Raffali, Sohaimi Meor Hassan & Altimet – Composer: Sohaimi Meor Hassan, Lyricists: Sohaimi Meor Hassan, Ana Raffali & Altimet

Kekanda Adinda – Atilia & MonoloQue – Composer: LoQue, Lyricist: LoQue

Noktah Cinta – Hafiz – Composer: Ajai, Lyricist: Sheikh Qalam

LAGU TERBAIK INDONESIA / BEST SONG (INDONESIA)

Cari Jodoh – Wali – Composer: Apoy, Lyricist: Apoy

Cintailah Aku Sepenuh Hati – Ari Lasso – Composers: Sandy Canester & Pay BIP, Lyricist: Ari Lasso

Karena Ku Cinta Kau – Bunga Citra Lestari – Composer: Dewiq, Lyricist: Dewiq

Pelan-Pelan Saja – Kotak – Composers: Pay BIP & Kotak, Lyricist: Dewiq

Rindu 1/2 Mati – D’Masiv – Composer: Rian d’Masiv, Lyricist: Rian d’Masiv

ARTIS SINGAPURA PALING POPULAR / MOST POPULAR SINGAPORE ARTISTE

SG1 Aliff Aziz

SG2 Didicazli

SG3 Diorama

SG4 Dynda

SG5 Faizal Isa

SG6 Farhan Shah

SG7 Fauzie Laily

SG8 Hady Mirza

SG9 Hyrul Anuar

SG10 Imran Ajmain

SG11 Rancour

SG12 Revalina

SG13 Roze Kasmani

SG14 Sarah Aqilah

SG15 Sezaire Sezali

SG16 SleeQ

SG17 Syed Azmir

SG18 Taufik Batisah

SG19 The Lion Story

SG20 The Sallys

LAGU SINGAPURA PALING POPULAR / MOST POPULAR SINGAPORE SONG

LP1 Angkasa: Hady Mirza

LP2 Biar Hati Mencintai: Sarah Aqilah

LP3 Dunia Yang Fana: Zaibaktian

LP4 Harum: Roze

LP5 Hingga Ke Akhir: Urban Sensation Feat. Rauzan

LP6 Janji: Tujuh

LP7 Kali Pertama: Chosen One

LP8 Kesuma Jiwa: Boy Raven Feat. Man Toyak

LP9 Maafkanku (Oh Cinta): Faizal Isa

LP10 Matahari: Sezaire Sezali

LP11 Menanti Cintamu: Revalina

LP12 Tiada Dua: Taufik Batisah

ARTIS SERANTAU PALING POPULAR / MOST POPULAR REGIONAL ARTISTE

AS1 Afgan

AS2 Agnes Monica

AS3 Aliff Aziz

AS4 Faizal Tahir

AS5 Hady Mirza

AS6 Hujan

AS7 Rossa

AS8 Siti Nurhaliza

AS9 Taufik Batisah

AS10 Ungu

AS11 Wali

AS12 Yuna

LAGU SERANTAU PALING POPULAR / MOST POPULAR REGIONAL SONG

LS1 Aishiteru: Zivilia

LS2 Angkasa: Hady Mirza

LS3 Baik-Baik Sayang: Wali

LS4 Berteman Rindu: Didicazli & Giselle

LS5 Cerita Kedai Kopi: Malique Feat. Salam

LS6 Join Kopi: Blackout

LS7 Khatimah Cinta: 6ixth Sense

LS8 Ku Pinjam Satu Bintang: Alyah Feat. Riz AF

LS9 Masih Di Sini Masih Denganmu: Goliath

LS10 Menanti Cintamu: Revalina

LS11 Tiada Dua: Taufik Batisah

LS12 Tinggal Kenangan: Saleem

Anugerah Planet Muzik 2011 Press Conference…

(Graphics poster courtesy of Mediacorp Radio)

After a break of two years, Anugerah Planet Muzik makes its long-awaited return to our shores. The last time the premier regional awards show was held in Singapore was in 2007, when the Singapore Indoor Stadium played host to honour the best in the region’s music industry. Long-time readers of this blog would note that I’m very much a regular attendee of this event, in fact I have been going to each and every single one from 2001-2008, except for the last one when it was first held in Jakarta in 2009, due to my favourite team, Manchester United playing  a pre-season friendly with the Malaysian team in Kuala Lumpur on the same day of the event. I think had the team not played there, I would have made the trip as well, but you don’t get to meet your favourite team in the flesh that often unless you’re residing over there. The event returns this year and will be held at the Max Pavilion Singapore Expo on 15 July 2011 at 8:30pm. The last time this event was held there was in 2006.

This year marks a special milestone for me with regards to this event, as this was the first time I received a personal invitation to attend the press conference to announce the final nominees of Anugerah Planet Muzik 2011. This was possible thanks to the good people at RIA 89.7FM and Warna 94.2FM, the organisers of this prestigious awards show, most notably the producer herself, Aura Shai. I felt honoured to be a part of the media brigade, being possibly the only local entertainment blogger at the event. Though I have attended several media conferences before this, somehow attending this particular one gave me goosebumps and a nervous feeling, probably sharing the same feelings being felt by the local artistes who came to grace the event.

This media conference, which was held last Wednesday 8 June 2011 at 3pm, was unlike the one that was held concurrently in Kuala Lumpur. Based on news reports and photographs I’ve managed to see, that event was held at the Hard Rock Cafe. Here in Singapore it was held at the humble surroundings of the multi-purpose room at Caldecott Broadcast Centre. Some might wonder about the exclusivity of the event venues of both countries, but to me and to most people who attended, I think the venue is quite secondary. What was paramount in the minds of those who came were who made it to the final reckoning, bearing in mind that they were up against artistes and production teams of higher standards and quality from our regional counterparts.

These are the coveted trophies to be won on the night…

During the media conference itself, we were introduced to the hosts of this year’s Anugerah Planet Muzik, none other than Adi Rahman and Fiza O of RIA 89.7FM, no strangers themselves to hosting the same awards show in the past. I could have missed out on this piece of information during the event, but I found out much later that both hosts that I had mentioned earlier, will be joined by Malaysia‘s Didie Alias, a first for the lady who has earned the reputation of being our neighbour’s very own Lady Gaga. I had expected the usual suspects like Sarah Sechan and Aznil Nawawi to return, but apparently I think the organisers wanted a fresher outlook, hence the choice of Didie, no slouch herself from what I had seen when she hosted Anugerah Bintang Popular Berita Harian as recently as a few months ago. I can’t wait to see Adi reprise his role as the perennial “bully” and see how he spars with Didie on stage. Maybe Fiza could also play the “baddie” this time round, we shall see.

Two of the three hosts of APM2011: Adi Rahman and Fiza O

Before the event kicked off in earnest, we were all treated to a special video presentation of past Anugerah Planet Muzik (APM) events. Looking at some of the footages, especially those that were circa 2007-2009, brought back a lot of fond memories, even if some of them had not exactly been spectacular by standards, but still each and every single APM had its share of story to tell and memory etched to it. This year being its tenth year in existence, the event has come a long way in its progress, having gone through a lot of ups and downs. I would like to think that this year will be a good one and I have strong vibes about it, just by looking at the line-up of stars slated to perform at this year’s show. Just to refresh your memories in case you have forgotten what went on for the past nine APMs, I’ve managed to record the short yet entertaining video presentation courtesy of the organisers:

I will not describe in detail what the organising committee panel which comprised of Ms. Zakiah HalimVice-President of Malay, Indian & Expatriate Programming (Radio), Mr. Hassan Salleh, Senior Programme Director of RIA 89.7FM and the producer of Anugerah Planet Muzik 2011 herself, Aura Shai had shared during the media conference. However, just to summarise, Singapore contributed 129 nominations of the 523 that they received in total from the three participating countries, one of the most since its inception. This was a marked increase when compared to only 48 nominations being put forward from Singapore back in 2009. While the number is very much heartening by standards, this rise in the submission of nominations could also be partly attributed to the fact that there was a void last year when APM was not organised. Nonetheless the numbers have proven that Singapore is capable of producing good talents and also good musical compositions from our local acts. Indeed over the years, with APM‘s existence, it has paved the way for more acts to come forward.

The panel consisting of Mr. Hassan Salleh, Ms. Zakiah Halim and Aura Shai

Of course when it comes to quantity, there might not always be an equal nor substitute in quality. This was reiterated by Ms. Zakiah that some, if not most of our local acts, still lag behind in terms of song production quality. However, as organisers, they have to maintain the quality that has been set and that we have to accept the fact that the other two countries are miles ahead especially with strong backing from sponsors, unlike our music industry. She said that even though radio do not have all the answers to the problems being faced by our local talents, she would not mind working closely with all parties to find feasible solutions that could help the industry grow. As a radio listener, I agree with her that radio has done its part in promoting local music, contrary to complaints that radio do not support local acts enough. Look at RIA Chartz to see the number of local songs in the list and listen to the radio station every day and you will note that there are at least four local songs being played every hour, if not more. At one point of time, the Top 10 songs in RIA Chartz were all local songs, a significant increase in the listeners’ preference for local music. To listen to what Ms. Zakiah had to say, I’ve recorded her speech for your viewing pleasure:

The final list of nominees certainly threw up several surprises as well as names which most of us have not heard of on our shores and most likely in the other two countries as well. But as a Singaporean, I am extremely proud of our local acts who have been nominated along with others from the region. It shows that we have made good progress and that we can be pleased to have artistes of a standard which is on par with our regional counterparts. However, I do feel a bit confused with some of the categories like for instance, why was Sarah Aqilah nominated in the Best Vocal (Female) Category and not Best Vocal (New Female Artiste) Category since she is considered new in the scene. There was also a slight tweak in the Best Collaboration Category. Previously, this category allows acts from the same country to collaborate with one another. This time, in the spirit of regional unity, they have changed the rule and set the category such that acts from different countries (for instance, Singapore and Malaysia) must collaborate and then send in their nominations. I had high hopes for our local rap duo, Komrad, who had recorded singles with Malaysia‘s Zain Hamid, Malique and DJ Salam before, but they were not in the final list. This new rule somehow increases the prospects of our local acts to get nominated in future.

SleeQ listening attentively to the speech…

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all local acts who have made it into the final list. I think they know and they are realistic enough to understand that to get into the final list is already a huge achievement. Anything more would be a bonus. To the rest who have not made it, please do not lose heart and to continue producing good music and who knows, even if you do not get your recognition in a regional show like APM, your works and compositions might be honoured when the next AnugeraHitz.SG show comes around. Before I end this entry, I’ll present to you the final list of Anugerah Planet Muzik 2011 with Singaporean nominees marked in red as well as the slated performers who will grace the event. Just to note that the Lagu Terbaik / Best Song and Anugerah Khas Planet Muzik / Planet Music Special Awards are not listed but will be made known on the night itself. For more details on how to vote in the popular categories, please refer to details at the official Anugerah Planet Muzik Facebook page. This year will be the first that you will be able to vote via Internet so do keep a lookout for it…

Haramain Osman (centre) could be pleased that he has three nominations to his name and group (The Lion Story)…

Anugerah Planet Muzik 2011 List of Nominees

VOKAL TERBAIK (ARTIS BARU LELAKI) / BEST VOCAL (NEW MALE ARTISTE)

Aris – 1000 X Maaf

Febrian – Cinta Itu Gila

Igo – Kemenangan Cinta

Sandhy Sondoro – Bunga Mimpi

Sezaire Sezali – Matahari

VOKAL TERBAIK (ARTIS BARU WANITA) / BEST VOCAL (NEW FEMALE ARTISTE)

Aisya Hasnaa – Lagu Mahu Kamu

Amanda Imani – Selamilah Cinta

Ana Raffali – Tolong Ingatkan Aku

Mytha – Seperti Yang Kau Minta

Roze Kasmani – Harum

VOKAL TERBAIK (DUO/KUMPULAN BARU) / BEST VOCAL (NEW DUO/GROUP)

Ana Raffali, Sohaimi Meor Hassan & Altimet – Kalau Berpacaran

Azlan & The Typewriter – Kelibat Si Penyair

Govinda – Bawa Aku Lari

Projek Pistol – Wanita Seluruh Dunia

Zivilia – Aishiteru

KOLABORASI TERBAIK / BEST COLLABORATION

Amarah – Siti Nurhaliza & Kris Dayanti – Composer: Audi Mok, Lyricist: Siti Nurhaliza

Berteman Rindu – Didicazli & Giselle – Composer: Didicazli, Lyricist: Didicazli

Harus Bagaimana – Atilia & Maliq & d’Essentials – Composer: Widi Puradiredja, Lyricist: Widi Puradiredja

Kalau Cinta – Aliff Aziz & Joanna – Composer: Panji, Lyricist: Panji

Sayang – Dayang Nurfaizah & Marcell – Composer: Omar K, Lyricist: Nuur Iman

ARTIS LELAKI TERBAIK / BEST MALE ARTISTE

Faizal Tahir – Adrenalin

Glenn Fredly – Lovevolution

Hady Mirza – Sang Penyanyi

Hafiz – Masih Jelas

Judika – Setengah Mati Merindu

ARTIS WANITA TERBAIK / BEST FEMALE ARTISTE

Agnes Monica – Sacredly Agnezious

Ana Raffali – Ketika Aku Kecil

Astrid – Lihat Aku Sekarang

Rossa – Harmoni Jalinan Nada & Cerita

Sarah Aqilah – Sarah Aqilah

DUO/KUMPULAN TERBAIK / BEST DUO/GROUP

Andra & The Backbone – Love, Faith & Hope

D’Masiv – Perjalanan

Kotak – Energi

3 Suara – Jaclyn, Ning & Shila – 3 Suara

6ixth Sense – + – x /

Ungu – 1000 Kisah 1 Hati

ALBUM TERBAIK / BEST ALBUM

Cari Jodoh – Wali – Producer: Sujana

CTKD – Siti Nurhaliza & KrisDayanti – Producers: Aubrey Suwito, Audi Mok, Charly ST12, Siti Nurhaliza & KrisDayanti

Energi – Kotak – Producer: Pay BIP

Ketika Aku Kecil – Ana Raffali – Producer: Aidit Alfian

Sang Penyanyi – Hady Mirza – Producer: Hady Mirza

3 Suara – Jaclyn, Ning & Shila – Producers: Irwan Simanjuntak, Paul Morrison, Kevin Chin & Aylwin Santiago

LAGU TERBAIK SINGAPURA / BEST SONG (SINGAPORE)

Harum – Roze Kasmani – Composers: Imran Ajmain & Alyph SleeQ, Lyricist: Shah Shamsiri

Ku Tetap Kan Menunggu – Hady Mirza – Composer: Hady Mirza, Lyricist: Hady Mirza

Lagu Teman – The Lion Story Feat. Zahidah – Composer: Haramain Osman, Lyricist: Haramain Osman

Maafkan Ku (Oh Cinta) – Faizal Isa – Composer: Janz Abdullah, Lyricists: Aina Azizi & Khairul Anwar

Matahari – Sezaire Sezali – Composer: Haramain Osman, Lyricist: Haramain Osman

LAGU TERBAIK MALAYSIA / BEST SONG (MALAYSIA)

Awan Nano – Hafiz – Composer: M Nasir, Lyricist: Buddhi Hekayat

Hanyut – Faizal Tahir – Composers: Audi Mok & Faizal Tahir, Lyricists: Audi Mok & Faizal Tahir

Kalau Berpacaran – Ana Raffali, Sohaimi Meor Hassan & Altimet – Composer: Sohaimi Meor Hassan, Lyricists: Sohaimi Meor Hassan, Ana Raffali & Altimet

Kekanda Adinda – Atilia & MonoloQue – Composer: LoQue, Lyricist: LoQue

Noktah Cinta – Hafiz – Composer: Ajai, Lyricist: Sheikh Qalam

LAGU TERBAIK INDONESIA / BEST SONG (INDONESIA)

Cari Jodoh – Wali – Composer: Apoy, Lyricist: Apoy

Cintailah Aku Sepenuh Hati – Ari Lasso – Composers: Sandy Canester & Pay BIP, Lyricist: Ari Lasso

Karena Ku Cinta Kau – Bunga Citra Lestari – Composer: Dewiq, Lyricist: Dewiq

Pelan-Pelan Saja – Kotak – Composers: Pay BIP & Kotak, Lyricist: Dewiq

Rindu 1/2 Mati – D’Masiv – Composer: Rian d’Masiv, Lyricist: Rian d’Masiv

ARTIS SINGAPURA PALING POPULAR / MOST POPULAR SINGAPORE ARTISTE

SG1 Aliff Aziz

SG2 Didicazli

SG3 Diorama

SG4 Dynda

SG5 Faizal Isa

SG6 Farhan Shah

SG7 Fauzie Laily

SG8 Hady Mirza

SG9 Hyrul Anuar

SG10 Imran Ajmain

SG11 Rancour

SG12 Revalina

SG13 Roze Kasmani

SG14 Sarah Aqilah

SG15 Sezaire Sezali

SG16 SleeQ

SG17 Syed Azmir

SG18 Taufik Batisah

SG19 The Lion Story

SG20 The Sallys

LAGU SINGAPURA PALING POPULAR / MOST POPULAR SINGAPORE SONG

LP1 Angkasa: Hady Mirza

LP2 Biar Hati Mencintai: Sarah Aqilah

LP3 Dunia Yang Fana: Zaibaktian

LP4 Harum: Roze

LP5 Hingga Ke Akhir: Urban Sensation Feat. Rauzan

LP6 Janji: Tujuh

LP7 Kali Pertama: Chosen One

LP8 Kesuma Jiwa: Boy Raven Feat. Man Toyak

LP9 Maafkanku (Oh Cinta): Faizal Isa

LP10 Matahari: Sezaire Sezali

LP11 Menanti Cintamu: Revalina

LP12 Tiada Dua: Taufik Batisah

ARTIS SERANTAU PALING POPULAR /  MOST POPULAR REGIONAL ARTISTE

AS1 Afgan

AS2 Agnes Monica

AS3 Aliff Aziz

AS4 Faizal Tahir

AS5 Hady Mirza

AS6 Hujan

AS7 Rossa

AS8 Siti Nurhaliza

AS9 Taufik Batisah

AS10 Ungu

AS11 Wali

AS12 Yuna

LAGU SERANTAU PALING POPULAR / MOST POPULAR REGIONAL SONG

LS1 Aishiteru: Zivilia

LS2 Angkasa: Hady Mirza

LS3 Baik-Baik Sayang: Wali

LS4 Berteman Rindu: Didicazli & Giselle

LS5 Cerita Kedai Kopi: Malique Feat. Salam

LS6 Join Kopi: Blackout

LS7 Khatimah Cinta: 6ixth Sense

LS8 Ku Pinjam Satu Bintang: Alyah Feat. Riz AF

LS9 Masih Di Sini Masih Denganmu: Goliath

LS10 Menanti Cintamu: Revalina

LS11 Tiada Dua: Taufik Batisah

LS12 Tinggal Kenangan: Saleem

The local artistes who came to grace the media conference…

Anugerah Planet Muzik 2011 Performing Acts

Indonesia – Melly Goeslaw, Sandhy Sandoro, Afgan, Rossa, Aryan Band

Malaysia – Atilia & Monoloque, Amanda Imani, Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza, Dato’ M. Nasir, Shila Amzah, Ning Baizura, Jaclyn Victor, Ana Raffali, Hafiz, Faizal Tahir

Singapore – Hady Mirza, Sezaire Sezali, SleeQ, Taufik Batisah, Rahayu Ridwan, Sarah Aqilah, Bloco Singapura & Orkestar Trio

Award Presenters: Linda Onn

The list of performing acts and award presenters are by no means the end and more names will be confirmed later…

Details on how to get your tickets to Anugerah Planet Muzik 2011..

Festival Melayu Ada Celebrates Its First Anniversary…

Long-time readers of this domain would note the fact that I have been an ardent and loyal supporter of the Festival Melayu Ada (FMA) event when it was first conceived and had its successful run circa MarchMay 2009. Celebrating its first anniversary, the good people at Cokelat Events & Production have decided to resurrect the event in tribute to Hajjah Esah Cafe. The kind people of the cafe had been a strong advocate and supporter of the FMA series, allowing the artistes to use their outdoor premises for the shows to be realised. Now that the cafe is about to close down, the event not only will celebrate its first year of existence but also as a form of gratitude to the cafe.

Looking at the line-up of artistes on the poster, I see familiar names and regulars of past FMA events like my distant cousin Ard (Adha), Zaibaktian, Boy Raven, NSA (No Strings Attached), Tengku Nurlela, DianaSamsuri, Elmi Zulkarnain, Shafyre, Rafaat Haji Hamzah and Nizamulmuluk. One year on, they’ve added new acts to the list like AqmalDiorama and Kraton who are all nominated at the upcoming anugeraHitz.sg event. A pity though that I am unable to attend the event as I have prior engagements with the family. But I do hope that you guys would set your Saturday, and if possible Sunday as well, aside to support this event as the acts on show are of decent quality… 

Best of all, the whole event is FREE!!!

RIA Big Bash Flashback…

2010 seems like a special year for our local Malay entertainment industry thus far. Mediacorp Suria turned ten years old late January. By mid 2010, we will be seeing new faces who would be gracing our television screens in the near future when the second edition of Anugerah Skrin comes along. Last Saturday 27th February 2010 at the Canning Ballroom, Raffles City Convention Centre, for those who attended, we witnessed the launch of the Malay Artistes Association to look after the welfare of Malay artistes and industry movers in this country. And for the first time, 2010 will see our first local Malay music awards presentation show on 3rd April 2010. Landmark events all around, which also includes the twentieth anniversary of the existence of RIA 89.7FM.

Over the past two decades, RIA 89.7FM has evolved from a station that inspires its listeners through its tagline “Radio Inspirasi Anda” to a station that plays music according to the current generation’s trend (“Tren Generasi Terkini“). There was a time when Dangdut was the in thing and boybands were the craze. RIA certainly lived up to their tag by playing songs from these genres / eras. Its tagline has since been updated to “Tren Muzik Terkini“, in line with its role in playing the latest hits. RIA has also inadvertantly taken up the role of a station that promotes our local acts through the constant airing of their new singles upon their release. Of late, their weekly RIA Chartz, which reflects the weekly Top 20 requested songs in the station, has shown a healthy number of local songs in it. As recently as the previous weekend before last ending 28th February 2010, of the Top 5 songs on the charts, the top three belonged to local acts with Hady Mirza‘s “Angkasa” at the pinnacle. This past weekend he topped the charts again for a thirteenth straight week!!!

With the rise in number of local acts making their marks in our local Malay music industry, it was no surprise that RIA marked their first outdoor event for 2010 called “RIA Big Bash“, to celebrate their twenty years of existence, with an all-local line-up. I’ve been to countless shows organised by them and have also performed on a number of occasions after winning the Impersonation Category at Kriatif RIA 1997, one of their many organised talent competitions. I must say the response in attendance has always been resounding. But what I felt was something special for “Big Bash“, an A-classed event by their standards, was the fact that they did not feel the need to invite artistes from across the Causeway to grace the occasion. It definitely was a statement of intent for them to show how far our local acts have progressed over the years and that the audience would come and give their support. It also helped that we had Hady Mirza and Taufik Batisah performing that night, sure bets for bums on seats, as the main attractions. Though I knew all along it was deliberate, but if it ever was a gamble to have an all-local line-up, it certainly paid off as the event was a sell-out.

Besides the local acts  and the twentieth anniversary of the station being the draws of this event, the night also saw the announcement of the Top 20 songs over the past two decades aired by the station. Since the end of December 2009, listeners were invited to cast their votes on which songs have been their favourite ones since RIA was incepted on 1st December 1990. They were given a list of 100 songs to choose from. How the 100 songs made the list can only be answered by the good people working in the station. But I was quite surprised that songs like KRU‘s “Awas” and “Ooh La La” did not make it to the list, monster hits back in 1995 and 1996 that defined the group, but “Di Dalam Dilema” (the list reflected the song as just “Dilema“) did. There were also other absentees which I thought deserved to be on the Top 100 list to choose from, but I guess they already have their hands full coming up with one and try to include songs from different artistes as much as possible. I think if I had come up with the list, Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza would have at least ten of her past hits on it.

This entry though it will be quite lengthy with photographs that I have taken that night, I will just comment or caption as I go along. For the record, “RIA Big Bash” was held at Republic Polytechnic‘s The Republic Cultural Centre on 21st February 2010 at 8.00pm (the show actually started approximately 8.20pm). It was brought to us by main sponsors Breeks Cafe and Seoul Garden Restaurant. The event was also in support of  Tabung Amal Aidilfitri charity fund.

This percussions group call themselves “Sambateria” and they opened the show with their rousing performance which made us all want to get up and dance along with them…

There was something distinctly fresh about how dikir barat group Si Anak Seni performed that night right after Sambateria. They ditched their traditional outfits and broke away from the norms of what you would expect from a normal dikir barat performance by taking up the different musical instruments and playing to a song honouring RIA 89.7FM, its segments and presenters, which they specially composed for the bash. A pity that the sound system did not fully give them a good account of themselves. I was straining my ears trying to figure out what they were singing.

The hosts that night and the previous morning show hosts on RIA, Aura Shai and Hafeez Glamour. Their antics certainly entertained the audience and gave each performance a smooth transition between one another.

This three-piece band, The Lion Story, is famous for the catchy ditty “Kucing Kemari” which they performed that night, along with another single. They remind me a lot of those bands from school gigs, clean cut and definitely with loads of potential.

Ever the charmer, Didicazli serenaded Ms Zakiah Halim to Jamal Abdillah‘s 1991 hit “Kekasih Awal Dan Akhir“, which came in 17th on the Top 20 list of popular songs on RIA over the past two decades. He dedicated the song as his way of saying thank you to her and the station for believing in his music when he first started off as a singer.

He then followed up his performance by singing his latest hit single “Takkan Kembali“…

S.K. (Suriani Kassim) and T.G. (Tahar Ghalib), two very popular radio presenters previously on RIA‘s roster and now at Warna 94.2FM, rolled back the years when they performed the classic hit “Dua Insan” made famous by first M. Nasir & Yunizar Hussein, and then Ezad from Exists & Iva Virginia. It was heartening to see S.K. in the pink of health after what she went through some time ago. Coupled with the fact that their performance was backed up with still footages of previous RIA events over the past twenty years, I felt a lump in my throat, getting nostalgic watching and reminiscing them. I was also momentarily stunned when I saw a photo of myself featured during the Tingkap Tingkap 897 event in 1997 a few months after my group’s win at Kriatif RIA and we were invited to perform.

Zaibaktian always gets a resounding reception  from the audience whenever he comes on stage. A very warm and likeable character, he performed his two hits “Dunia Yang Fana” and “Ejen Cinta” that night…

I think it is fair to say that the only female artiste on show that night, Nana, blew the whole auditorium away with her two songs. Rather than singing her hit “Lafaz“, she sang two songs that made it into the Top 20 hits of the past two decades, Misha Omar‘s “Bunga-Bunga Cinta” and Aishah‘s “Janji Manismu“. My hairs stood on end listening to her. Somebody of her calibre should be creating storms and causing ripples in our local music industry and I hope she gets all the support she needs. I for one thought that she should have been one of the longer standing performers in Singapore Idol Season 1 alongside Jeassea Thyidor.

The night not only saw performances by local acts, even the RIA presenters had something up their sleeves for the audience. Of late DJ KC has been practising street magic skills, of which he has incorporated into his weekend hosting events for weddings and functions alike. Though not many knew of this new-found interest and skill of his, that night, he showed his abilities to the audience alongside RIA‘s Programme Director, Mr. Hassan Salleh. Generally everyone was impressed. Just that I felt that it was a bit too draggy as they invited some of the audience to participate in the segment. It was a Sunday afterall and a lot of people had to work the following day.

From the amateurs, the centrestage then belonged to the professional, none other than Imran of Illusi fame. He wowed the audience with a few tricks like making himself disappear on stage and in his place was Fiza O, before reappearing at the back of the auditorium. He also made Nity Baizura and Aura Shai appear on stage. God knows how he did those tricks. However, certain sections of the audience especially those at opposite ends, saw through him. He has to make sure that in future, his surroundings are well covered and that no one should be able to detect his flaws.

Proceedings were then halted for awhile as RIA‘s presenters, current and former, came on stage to cut its twentienth anniversary cake. It was heartwarming to see some of the former presenters being invited and able to attend the event. Azmi Sempoi who was based in Kuala Lumpur, made the effort to come all the way down just to see his former colleagues. Some of them like Fiza O and Azlin Ali, were overcome with emotions upon seeing him. He is now based in India on a business venture.

Boy Raven who was supposed to perform alongside Man Toyak, ended up performing alone. He is seen here singing his current hit on radio “Kesuma Jiwa“.

Boy‘s second set came with a surprise. He sang “Mentera Semerah Padi“, which came in ninth on the Top 20 list of songs over the past twenty years on RIA, alongside Didicazli and Zaibaktian, to the cheers of the audience.

Kraton was up next. This RIA Band Remix champion in 2008 received mix reviews from many quarters. While most people did not like their rendition of Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza‘s “Cindai“, me included, I felt that overall, they were a breath of fresh air with their elaborate costume and unorthodox showmanship. The male singer, Jufri, pranced around and kept jumping up and down the stage. Fortunately there were no pregnant ladies seated at the front row, lest they would have gotten unwanted shocks and trauma, especially since he was wearing a special kind of contact lens that made him look scarier. He certainly performed like a man possessed that night. I for one love their hit single “Fanaq” as it reminds me a lot of “Puspasari Penawar Puteri“, made famous by the now-defunct Malaysian rock group Metalasia and Ning Baizura sometime in 2004.

Since its inception, RIA 89.7FM has organised several talent competitions for aspiring artistes and performers to showcase their talents. Over the years we’ve had competitions like Karaoke 897, Kitalah Bintang, RIA Band Remix and Kriatif RIA amongst others. Such competitions have been good foundations for artistes like Hetty Sarlene, Rudy Djoharnaen, Mansor Warren, Izzla (Malaysian artiste), X-Tech, Kraton and many more. So it was apt that during the event, Styles From Beyond, who were the winners of Kriatif RIA a few years ago and also participated in 2008‘s The Dance Floor competition on Channel 5, were invited to showcase their talents once again.

The twist to their performance was they had Fiza O and Nity Baizura dancing along with them and the two of them did not look out of place at all. Yours truly also belong to the Kriatif RIA alumnus but I don’t think my group would be relevant in the current context had we been invited to perform, seeing that we were only impersonators of KRU and the real McCoy have since cooled off to concentrate more on their music and filming empire. Anyway, we’ve had our time and what great memories they were. My only regrets were the lack of videos and photographs of our past performances. If only YouTube was invented earlier.

I could sense the restlessness amongst the audience when Styles From Beyond were performing as the night was getting late. But all those feelings disintegrated when Hady Mirza came onstage to sing “Merpati“, which came in third on the Top 20. He even took time to come down and shook hands with everyone seated on the front row. And what is a Hady performance nowadays without his gargantuan hit “Angkasa”??? I have to repeat again that it is tops for thirteen weeks now on the current RIA Chartz, a phenomenon of sorts.

Taufik Batisah‘s appearance towards the end was a no-brainer. But I was surprised that his song “Usah Lepaskan” came in first on the Top 20 list of songs. Not that I have any doubts or have an axe to grind with Taufik, far from it, but it reflects the current demographics and patterns of voters out there, not to mention preferences. Had this poll been done in 2000, there will be no surprises as to which singer or song would top the charts. However Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza could be pleased with the fact that three of her previous hits “Cindai“, “Aku Cinta Padamu” and “Percayalah” made it to the list, thus making her the top artiste over the past two decades. That’s another no-brainer really given how much she has achieved in her career spanning fifteen years and counting.

What was unique about Taufik‘s performance was the fact that the producer of RIA Big Bash, RZ himself, came on stage to sing the first few verses and chorus of “Usah Lepaskan“, just to keep the audience in suspense, anticipating the arrival of the first Singapore Idol onstage. Though he forgot the lyrics at some point, I thought RZ did a decent job singing the song. The tiredness on his face was evident and I knew he has been spending long hours at work preparing for this big-scale event. Taufik followed up his performance singing “Tiada Dua“, a song that is fast gaining its admirers. But it is not a surprise to me at all. Taufik seems to have the Midas touch in that any single of his that is introduced to the listeners, it will surely be a guaranteed hit. No question about it.

The last act of the night belonged to the RIA male presenters who formed a band amongst themselves and are simply called RIA Band, with DJ KC on vocals, Brader Bo on lead guitar and RZ on drums. Apologies as the identity of their guest bassist was lost on me though. The band, which was formed during the first Band Remix competition back in 2007, performed Ricky Martin‘s “Livin’ La Vida Loca” and literally burnt the house down with their virtuoso and energetic performance.

It was also a nice gesture for them to call up Zan Sofiyan, one of its original members, and Azmi Sempoi to perform on stage with them halfway through the song to signal its finale. And what a finale it was with Brader Bo smashing his guitar. It truly felt like watching a proper rock concert.

RIA Big Bash was overall, a resounding success in my opinion, not because I’ve been a loyal listener since 1st December 1990, or because I used to be an intern back in 1998 or for the fact that I regard some of the presenters as good friends. The main thing for me is that for a big-scale event like this, RIA can pat themselves on the back for being able to attract a full house (the empty seats in the auditorium I believe, belonged to representatives from sponsors and invitees who did not turn up) and most importantly without the need to call upon a guest artiste from Malaysia or Indonesia. It was an all-Singaporean affair which in itself is a landmark and progress that we have made over the years to see our local Malay music industry bloom. Indeed since its inception, RIA has done a commendable job to introduce and support local acts, even to the point of granting airplay to songs which do not meet the basic quality standards.

However, there were flaws that could have been avoided. The day of the event which was on a Sunday was top of the list, bearing in mind that the next day was a Monday and people had to go to work or attend school. It was too evident when the show started almost half an hour late and certain segments were too draggy or absolutely redundant. The magic show for instance could have just been done by KC or Imran. The opening acts involving Sambateria and Si Anak Seni I felt was just a repetitive segment which could have been done either by fusing their respective genres or limited to just one. With so many acts on show, there was a tendency of the old adage of too many cooks spoiling the broth rearing its ugly head.

The event also felt like a repeat of last August‘s Rentak Singapura event organised by both RIA and Warna 94.2FM. Even though I did not attend that event due to personal commitments, the main artistes on show that night (Taufik, Hady, Zaibaktian, Nana and Didicazli) were also the same headliners on 21st February 2010. Not meaning to take anything away from the five talented singers, I believe we still have other acts patiently waiting for their opportunities to make themselves be heard and seen. But I can understand why they were chosen because they have their own sets of loyal supporters who would go the distance in supporting them. As a result, we saw that the event was a full house. The sound system was also left to be desired as the vocals of the singers were sometimes drowned by the music that accompanied them. Which was a pity really cos the talents on show certainly deserved better justice to their performances.

The positive side of it is that this event is only the first of many for 2010 and one could expect more local acts to be invited for upcoming ones in store. I just don’t want to hear something like so-and-so is a golden child to so-and-so or this person charges lesser that’s why he / she was invited. Have heard of such things like that across the Causeway and I don’t want our industry to suffer the same thing. Have yet to anyway, that’s why I’m just throwing caution to the wind. Not pointing fingers at anyone in case some of you feel that way. Jealousy breeds contempt in so many ways and what I brought up has happened before, so I wouldn’t like to see it repeated here. Before I end this entry, here is the full list of Top 20 songs on RIA over the past twenty years:

Top 20 Songs on RIA 89.7FM (1990-2010)

  1. Usah Lepaskan – Taufik Batisah
  2. Demi Waktu – Ungu
  3.  Merpati – Hady Mirza
  4. Cindai – Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza
  5. Percayalah – Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza
  6. Kaulah Segalanya – Hazrul Nizam
  7. Janji Manismu -Aishah
  8. Dealova – Once (Dewa 19)
  9. Mentera Semerah Padi – M. Nasir
  10. Mungkin Nanti – Peterpan
  11. Kenangan Terindah – Samsons
  12. Seribu Tahun – Imran Ajmain
  13. Bunga-Bunga Cinta – Misha Omar
  14. Aku Cinta Padamu – Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza
  15. Cenderawasih – 2D
  16. Menghitung Hari – Kris Dayanti
  17. Kekasih Awal & Akhir – Jamal Abdillah
  18. Bilang Saja – Agnes Monica
  19. P.U.S.P.A. – ST12
  20. Hijau – Zainal Abidin