Hamid & Sons General Contractor Renofest 2012…

I’m back with another belated entry, this one happening a fortnight earlier than the event that occurred in the previous entry.  I was honoured to have been invited to cover this event by the event’s host and company ambassador of Hamid & Sons General Contractor, none other than RIA 89.7FM‘s bridegroom-to-be, DJ KC. Held at its Marsiling Industrial Estate premises on 23rd July 2012, this mini-carnival event was the company’s way of thanking their loyal customers and welcoming new ones as well.

In the spirit of giving back to the community, the company has to be applauded for chartering a bus and ferrying children from the Pertapis Children’s Home to enjoy the day’s event and giving away alms to them. There were free popcorn giveaways amongst other freebies. The highlight of the event were the performances of Irwan Azly from Tujuh fame and Cassidy Anderson, who created quite a sensation recently on Youtube with their rendition of Hafiz Suip and Adira‘s “Ombak Rindu“.

Cassidy (www.cassidyandersonofficial.com) who hails from Australia, certainly created quite a stir with the way she sang the song in the Youtube video, with the correct feel and emotions exuded. And she certainly did not disappoint that day when she performed both “Ombak Rindu” and Zee Avi‘s “Kantoi“. My only complaint with regards to the performances was that Irwan should have sang some of his hits from Tujuh like “Gila” or “Aishiteru“. Enjoy the video clip I’ve put up for your viewing pleasure…

Wedding of Nity Baizura & Mohd Hafiz…

I know I have been away far too long. Followers of my Twitter account as well as my Facebook contacts would have noted that a month ago, I made the announcement that I am on temporary “retirement”. Work and family commitments have taken up a lot of my time, that blogging is the last thing on my mind. I still owe readers of this blog, coverage of Hafeez Glamour‘s “Demi Adriana” novel launch, but I am not sure if putting it up soon will still be relevant or not, as the event was almost three months ago. Looking at my blog statistics, I am just surprised that people still come in here even though there is no content since 31st March 2012. I need some time to get back into the groove of blogging, so I begin my new entry with a simple post, laced with many photographs which I know you have been searching for, judging by the search terms (“Nity Baizura wedding” / “Nity Baizura wedding photos” etc)  you keyed in to reach to this blog.

This past weekend, RIA 897FM‘s Nity Baizura was betrothed to Mohd Hafiz in a ceremony which was joyous and full of splendour. The event was held at the bride’s home in Bukit Batok and coincidentally, the groom’s side is also in the same vicinity. It was a simple yet grand wedding, something which signifies the characteristics of the bride herself, who looked absolutely radiant and her groom looking suave. There were smiles all round from the guests that came and of course, what is a celebrity wedding without celebrity guests??? Well I will not say more and instead let you feast your eyes on the colours and the happenings during Nity Baizura and Mohd Hafiz‘s wedding.

To Nity and Hafiz, may Allah bless this union till eternity and may HE grant you beautiful and intelligent children to add more happiness into your lives…

 

 

“Demi Adriana” Book Signing Promo…

For those of you who missed out on buying the “Demi Adriana” novel written by RIA 897FM deejay, Hafeez Glamour, or getting his signature on the book last Sunday at Joo Chiat Complex, fret not, as this is your chance to catch hold of him (literally) and get them signed. Hafeez will be making an appearance at the showroom of Darwin Interior Design this Saturday, 31st March 2012, between 2-4pm, for a book-signing session. Details are written on the promotional poster above…

Konsert Misteri Jam 12: Jangan Takut Hantu…

For regular readers of this blog, I know this comes as a massive surprise to you, but no, I was not at The Float @ Marina Bay for Countdown 2012, even though one of my favourite singers, Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza, was performing on my 33rd birthday. I was happily relaxing and watching the show from the comfort of home, and I would have probably gone had my favourite team not played that night. But the night of rest did me good as I welcomed 2012 by attending the RIA 897FM-organised “Konsert Misteri Jam 12: Jangan Takut Hantu” event held at Fort Canning Park on the first day of the new Gregorian calendar. I have been delaying this particular entry for the fact that I have been quite busy, to the point I was reminded to post this entry as soon as possible by none other than the creative mind behind the success of the most highly rated programme on the radio station, none other than DJ KC himself.

Speaking as the co-administrator of the official blog of the said programme, I have witnessed first hand how the show has evolved since he took over the helm some four years ago from the previous incumbent Zan Sofiyan. KC has done such a fantastic job to lift the quality standards of the programme to the point that his occasional absences through leave or sickness is lamented by fans on the station’s official Facebook page Wall. Even when there were occasions he was not feeling well, he soldiered on, or came back just to do the two hour programme, its popularity spreading across the world with the availability of internet radio and via radio applications on smart phones. I know how popular it is just by looking at the number of emails received by fans of the programme who shared their personal experiences, a bulk of them coming from across the Causeway, as well as as far away as the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, even Dubai. The show is such a hit that to have a concert was a good way to show the station’s appreciation to the fans.

This popularity was very much evident on the day of the concert, when 6000-odd fans thronged the lush lawns of the Fort Canning Park. When I reached the venue close to 6pm, a long queue had formed outside the entrance. I was fortunate enough to get a parking lot as a vehicle had moved off just as I was nearing it. We were allowed in at about 6:20pm and it was a sight to behold seeing the area being filled to its brim. I have never seen a local concert filled with just local acts get such a positive response as this. But then again, the topic of the supernatural has always been a fascinating and intriguing one in our community so it was no surprise that even without big names to grace the event, the theme itself guaranteed bums on the lush green grass of the venue. And I believe this was the first supernatural-themed concert held in a grand way in Singapore. Forget any Halloween-related parties, but correct me please if I’m wrong here.

I was pleased to know that a space was set aside for concert-goers to observe their obligatory responsibilities and it was heartening to see quite a number of people observing them judging by the queues and patient waiting outside the area. The only thing I was a little peeved about was why did the pre-show host, who happened to be one half of the hosts during the Grand Final of the Piala Dollah Kassim 2011 tournament, choose to use the time between 7:10pm and 7:45pm to hype the crowd and encouraging them to make a lot of noise??? I personally felt it was disrespectful to those who were observing their responsibilities. He could have at least started say around 7:30pm, not right smack when people were saying their prayers. I dunno if this was the station’s decision to hype the crowd as early as possible or was it the pre-show host’s own doing, but I hope in future, a little amount of respect would be observed. I’m sure for anyone who observes their daily obligations, they hate to be interrupted or disturbed by things happening around them and want full concentration.

Fiza O and Hassan Salleh…

The show began with the hosts Fiza O and Hassan Salleh, the station’s programme director coming on stage dressed as what appeared to be hideous characters. Not sure what character was Mr Hassan supposed to be portraying as he was dressed what appeared to be “Hantu Kum-Kum“, but Fiza was dressed as a “Langsuir” complete with make up on her lower neck to show that her head was previously “detached” from her body. As they welcomed us to the show and thanked the various sponsors, they also took the time to remind the audience that the concert also marked the official launch of the “Misteri Jam 12: Jangan Takut Hantu” VCD / CD containing horror-themed songs normally heard during the weekly two-hour programme. These songs were composed and performed by our local acts as well as DJ KC himself. The VCD / CD also contains a short film titled “Saka Mak Minah” and acted by none other than the deejays themselves. On top of that, there are short video clips of KC reading ghost stories at locations in Singapore regarded as haunted. The VCD / CD was sold at a special rate of $18.00 that night whereas it is available in good stores today at a price of $19.90. Suffice to say, the popularity of the programme guaranteed three-thousand odd copies being sold that night!!!

Besides the concert marking a milestone for the radio station with the launch of the VCD / CD, it also coincided with the annual Projek Rentak competition organised by RIA 897FM and COMPASS. As the theme of this concert was of the supernatural and horror, songs composed for this competition also had to have the same or related theme. The three finalists who came on stage to perform their songs – Klutz (“Mentera Dendam Puteri“), Iskandar Rawi (“Lari“) and Md Bakti Ridhwan (“Madah Pohon Beringin“) did not disappoint. Each song and performance had their own strengths and speciality. In the end, the humour-infused “Lari” was chosen as the winner of the competition, even though my personal favourite was Klutz‘s “Mentera Dendam Puteri“, who came in second. Md Bakti Ridhwan‘s “Madah Pohon Beringin” bagged the Best Performance of the night to go along with the second-runner up tag that he received. All the compositions were judged by Brader Bo, Moliano, Sham Wahab and Noor Hasnah Adam; music producers, composers and lyricists in their own rights. The Best Performance category was judged by Dr. Edmund Lam, president of COMPASS and Ms Zakiah Halim, Assistant Vice-President of Malay / Indian / Expat Programming for Mediacorp Radio.

Iskandar Rawi (second from right) was the winner of Projek Rentak: MJ12, seen here with Ms. Zakiah Halim and his fellow performers receiving their award…

I will not delve too much about the other performances and segments that night as you would be able to view them in the video montage that I will put up in due time. I was suitable impressed with the guest band that was formed (they called themselves “The Momoks“), led by Brader Bo, with Fadly of X-Tech / No Strings Attached fame on lead vocals. Fans of the 2008 Anugerah Band competition would remember Fadly for the vocal powerhouse that he is, and that night he whipped the crowd into frenzy with his unmatched prowess. I know that certain quarters complained that it felt more like a rock concert but I thought the songs performed that night were given a fresh injection with much needed energy. As the title of the concert had stated, “Jangan Takut Hantu“, the pumped-up feeling I got from the blasting music sure as hell made me forget about being scared of ghosts. If that was their intention by playing that kind of loud music, then I think they have achieved their aim. Other local acts who performed that night were Shafyre, Kraton, Rifaah Ridzuwanulhakim of 2D fame and B8, whom I heard, regrouped again specially for that night only.

One itinerary in the programme line-up that had the crowd in stitches was the “Momok Paling Sachok” segment. Concert-goers were encouraged to dress as ghosts, even the stagehands and concert crew were dressed as scary characters. Most notable of all was one of the crew members (if I’m not mistaken, it’s DJ Harie Azhari of XFM 963FM / Warna 942FM), who portrayed the irritating “Makcik Keropok” by walking to and fro giving crackers and asking for money in return. The five finalists who went on stage for that particular segment certainly had to be given full marks for the effort they came up with. I must say most in the audience were also very much impressed by their respective get-ups. Some even formed queues to take a photograph with them. In the end, the one who won the segment was the lady by the name of “Wati“, who was dressed as a Pontianak. The funny part about that segment was not only were the “ghosts” cracking jokes on stage with the hosts for the segment, Aura Shai and Nity Baizura, but they were also game enough to dance along to the tunes of Inul Daratista‘s dangdut songs.

The true star of the show: DJ KC…

All in all, I had an enjoyable night. What was supposed to end at 10:30pm ended about thirty-five minutes later, but I did not feel the time passing by at all. I heard complaints afterwards that the sound system was bad. Where I was, it did not feel that way, maybe because I was seated quite close to the speakers. I was just thankful that I had premium “seats” in the house. As the co-administrator of the Misteri Jam 12 official blog, I felt heartened by the turnout of the concert. I felt extremely happy and proud for the producer of the concert himself, KC, whose hard work to make this programme and subsequently the concert a success, paid off big time. People only see the end product of his efforts but the amount of time and sacrifices he puts in daily to entertain listeners is extremely commendable, especially moreso when days leading up to the concert, he stumbled upon several personal obstacles to overcome physically and mentally. For that, respect and my humble salute is accorded to him and to me, he was the true star of the concert. No one can begrudge him of that.

Video clip courtesy of DJ KC‘s Youtube channel…

Snapshots of Konsert MJ12: Jangan Takut Hantu

Fazly Sapuan, lead singer of Klutz, performing “Mentera Dendam Puteri“, the group’s composition that made it to the finals of Projek Rentak: MJ12.

Iskandar Rawi, the composer of “Lari“, the other finalist of Projek Rentak: MJ12

Md Bakti Ridhwan, the son of Md Khair Md Yasin of Rausyanfikir fame, performed his composition “Madah Pohon Beringin” with his father contributing to the lyrics to the song…

Dr. Edmund Lam, President of COMPASS and Ms. Zakiah Halim, Assistant Vice-President of Malay / Indian / Expat Programming, Mediacorp Radio, were the judges for Best Performance of the night by the three finalists of Projek Rentak: MJ12

Moliano was one of the judges for Projek Rentak MJ12

Klutz awaiting their fate…

Projek Rentak: MJ12 2nd Runner-Up: “Madah Pohon Beringin“…

Iskandar Rawi and friends bracing themselves for the final results…

Klutz receiving the 1st Runner-Up award…

 

 “Makcik Keropok” was in the house as well…

Fadly of X-Tech was in his element that night…

So was Brader Bo

 Shafyre performed “Jampi Serapah” and “Mimpi Duyung“…

 

 Nity Baizura and Aura Shai took over hosting duties for the “Momok Paling Sachok” segment…

 

 Contestants of the “Momok Paling Sachok” competition…

Makcik Keropok” dances along to Inul Daratista‘s “Goyang Inul“...

He must have breathed through his mouth throughout the night…

The winner, Wati the “Pontianak“…

Fuzzley of B8…

 Izad of B8

 KC reading a story to the audience…

 Lamenting how hot the mask was…

Rifaah Ridzuwanulhakim of 2D fame, performed “Hantu Relek One Korner“…

Rico, the younger brother of Rifaah

KC performed a medley of songs normally heard during the Misteri Jam 12 programme…

Rifaah unmasked…

 

Surayah of Kraton performing Misha Omar‘s “Pulangkan“…

She was complemented well by her husband, Jufri, whose showmanship is a hallmark of the group’s performances…

Kraton also performed their hit single “Fanaq” that night…

KC gave away these cushions to the audience…

The finale witnessed the performers singing the classic hit “Pontianak“, made famous by Allahyarham Dato’ Ahmad Daud

Anuar Zain Meet-&-Greet Fans Session…

Nothing substantial has appeared on this blog since a month ago. I feel kinda detached somewhat from the scene and from blogging that I worried a bit for this particularly entry. Simply because, it’s been awhile and I feel oh-so-rusty. Coupled with the fact that I’m on holiday mood, you can say that I feel a bit lazy to type out my thoughts as well, but then again this entry does not need much elaboration as I feel that for the ladies out there reading this, the photographs are more important and worth the view, not to mention lulling you to a dreamy gaze and sigh. Before I move on, let me once again thank sis Diah Mastura from Studiofrost Online (they sell chic and trendy outfits for ladies, in case you don’t already know by now), for giving me this opportunity to attend this event held at Lagun Sari Restaurant on 27 December 2011.

Truth be told, if it wasn’t for the contest that sis Diah did via Twitter, I would not have gotten wind of this private meet-and-greet fans session with the “King of Malay Ballads” himself. It was only much later that details of his scheduled public appearances were highlighted in Berita Harian and contests were being held on RIA 89.7FM to promote his recently-released album, the fourth in his solo career dating back to 1998. As I had given away my Pesta Raya 2011 tickets, where Anuar teamed up with his sister Ziana in a sold-out concert at Esplanade Theatre, I thought it was an opportunity to see him up close and personal once again, since I had also missed out on the high-tea session at Hyatt Hotel‘s Grand Ballroom back in 2009. Some fan I am, even this latest album, I have not even bought it. That shows how detached I am from the scene, especially the one across the Causeway. Maybe as I age, I am slowly letting go of some things that used to interest me in the past.

What was scheduled to start at 8pm ended up beginning close to 9pm, no thanks to the man’s busy schedule on these shores. When the missus and myself reached the event venue at about 7:45pm, we were surprised to see a long queue had already formed on the staircase leading up to the Java Room of Lagun Sari Restaurant. We were made to wait for more than half an hour and it was not quite a pleasant experience, with very little ventilation. I pitied some of the ladies who were dressed to the nines, some using whatever paraphernalia on their hands to fan themselves. I personally thought it would have been nice if someone had gone down to inform us why there was a delay in waiting. At least, it would more or less appease us. Waiting for a long time and having to perspire due to the limited ventilation is not a good combination. Thankfully nobody kicked up a fuss about it.

The session was hosted by RIA 89.7FM‘s Aura Shai and one of the radio station’s new kids-on-the-block, Dzar Ismail. Some of you might remember him from the Anugerah Skrin competition held last year. Known in our local Dikir Barat scene as a member of Durbar Dua and currently teaching full-time, Dzar has joined RIA 89.7FM as one of their part-time recruits. Personally I’m very happy that he has made this step up. I remember very well that during last year’s competition, I had said back then, with his fluency speaking in our mother tongue and his confidence during conversing, he would do well to expand his horizons and repertoire and seek a career in radio. Look where he is now. A humble, charming and friendly chap, he has also done his fair share of acting stint on television. He was also part of the Mediacorp Suria team that won this year’s Piala Dollah Kassim 2011 tournament playing at rightback.

RIA 89.7FM‘s Aura Shai and Dzar Ismail hosted the session…

The hosts did well to kill time by playing a game and letting the attendees of the session fill their stomachs, while awaiting for Anuar Zain‘s arrival. The game that was played, required one of the fans to come forward and sing a song by Anuar. I thought of joining in as well, since my wedding anniversary is coming up in a few days, and it would have been nice to sing to the wife the song I sang during our wedding dinner, “Keabadian Cinta“, albeit just the chorus. But then again, the session was about the fans and for the fans. Me seated at the table along with the invited media brigade, meant going forward did not seem right and would have appeared as though the hosts and I were in cahoots, so it was best that someone else more deserving came forward and the guy who came forward did not disappoint, as he sang “Sedetik Lebih” to his partner.

The man himself soon appeared. All the waiting, the beads of perspiration trickling down our backs and the grumbling stomachs prior to sitting down at the event venue were soon forgotten by the majority of those who attended. Singing a total of six songs in an otherwise pre-planned three initially, the man himself was in his class and element, moving from table to table to croon and leave the ladies in a state of daze and stupor. It was amusing to see the dreamy looks and puppy eyes of the ladies when Anuar was at their tables, charming them with his soulful voice, looking into everyone’s eyes and holding the hands of a few lucky ones. Photographs and video recordings from their smart phones and iPads were taken. I am sure the exclusive event lived up to their expectations, as the 80-odd fans literally had Anuar to themselves.

A fan sharing a voicenote with Anuar when he went to her table… 

The event went smoothly and there was no wild jostling to get his signature or photograph until sometime towards the end. My only grumble about the fans was that even though Anuar had visited every table and taken photographs with quite a number of them, towards the end when he called for those who had not taken a photograph with him to come forward, many of those who already did, joined in as well. I think a sense of consideration needed to be exercised. Yes I know what it means to be a die-hard fan of a particular artiste, I have been there and done that before, but it would be nice if they had allowed others to have that opportunity as well. It’s not that literally they can cut him up and bring a piece of him home. How many photographs do they need to take as mementos anyway??? From initially queueing up to take a photograph with him, I ended up going back to my seat and just observing the proceedings, consoling myself with the fact that I’ve taken a photograph with him before in the past.

This event, along with two other public appearances (at Singapore Expo and City Square Mall) that Anuar Zain did on 26 December 2011, was something rare and never done before by him. All the three events he appeared in were not paid events. Regular goers to his previous showcases and concerts would know that seeing him in action live meant we had to pay, and this unprecedented change was quite a welcome one for a change. Some quarters might feel that it could drop his commercial and exclusive values somewhat, but he was afterall on a promotional tour of his album. A slight change in approach did not hurt a bit and as the newspaper article revealed in Berita Harian yesterday, he actually helped to rake in $11,000 in proceeds in aid for charity at the event held at Singapore Expo. A showcase next month is currently in the works, hopefully details will be announced soon. The event the other night felt more like a teaser of what’s to come very soon…

Highlights of the Meet-&-Greet Session

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

Maher Zain Concert Review…

I believe this has been one of the most anticipated concerts on our shores for quite some time. For the past year, rave reviews on his music and inspirational songs have filled our ears and injected a newfound love for the Nasyid genre, especially to those who were initially not inclined or have never gotten themselves acquainted. With the emergence of Maher Zain in the international music scene, Nasyid songs have suddenly become hip again, like the time the likes of Raihan and Rabbani amongst others, have successfully found their ways into our hearts back in the late 90s and early 2000s. His rise in the international scene has been nothing short of meteoric and dare I say, phenomenal as his music has transcended upon different lands and cultures across the globe. Stopping short of calling him a Messiah, I believe his music and songs have the ability to unite Muslims together as well as inspire us to better ourselves as servants of Allah and followers of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Along with positive response to his music and humble character, the clamour for his presence on our shores for a concert grew louder as the days in 2011 went by. Finally on the ninth day of March 2011, the news was confirmed that Maher Zain would be coming to town for his first solo concert. Such was the fervoured anticipation of his maiden concert here that when the day of ticket sales began on 1st April 2011, the SISTIC website slowed down and a lot of people found it hard to book the best seats possible, yours truly included. I had heard a lot of good things prior to the concert, on his previous performances around our region, and I had hoped that Singapore would also be able to witness it first-hand. The anticipation heightened further when the official radio station of the concert, RIA 89.7FM, did a stellar job in promoting it and by playing songs from his album on a regular basis, an initial move which caught me pleasantly by surprise, as radio have not played songs of an outright religious nature for quite some time due to Media Development Authority‘s strict guidelines.

Irfan Makki from Canada… 

And so when the day came (Saturday 18th June 2011), I attended my first concert with my kids in tow, when normally it’s just the wife and myself. It is not uncommon for children to be heard singing songs by Maher Zain these days and my kids are no different. They always pester us to play his songs every day, so it was only natural that we brought them along for their very first concert. We were one of the early birds to enter the concert venue (Singapore Expo Hall 3) at around 7:40pm. It was heart-warming to see people of all ages entering the event venue all wanting to savour the soulful voice that has captured our imagination and perhaps brought us closer to appreciate the beauty of God and HIS creations. It was even more heartening to note that no matter how early some of the concert-goers were, they were seen at quiet spots on the second level of the Singapore Expo building performing their obligatory responsibilities.

Just to sidetrack a bit. Out of courtesy, I had applied for media accreditation for this concert, mainly to use my own camera to snap photographs but my request was turned down by the organisers, Offshore Entertainment Production. I was told to use the photographs taken by their official photographers and to credit them once they are up on their official website. I thought it was no big deal as I have had to experience this kind of arrangement when I covered the Pesta Raya showcases involving Hujan and The Fabulous Cats at the Esplanade – Theatres By The Bay back in October 2010. The positive point was not having to lug my camera bag along with two active kids in tow. However, a concert which was supposed to begin at 8:00pm ended up starting only at 9:05pm. I dunno what was the cause of the delay but I had heard and seen from various complaints online that quite a number of people had to queue up a long time just to get into the event venue.

The multi-lingual Mesut Kurtis who hails from Macedonia. He speaks as many as five languages fluently…

I dunno if this was due to the various exhibitions happening at the same time last weekend, but I had anticipated the place itself would have been swarmed by about 10,000 odd people attending various events in the area. That was the reason why we chose to come earlier to get good parking spots and also because we were informed that prayer areas would be provided. But I certainly did not expect the wait to be so long. Even when it was 8:30pm, the concert venue was only about half full. I’m not sure who is to blame for this delay, the organisers or the people who came to watch the concert. I just feel that the organisers should have just started the concert right on the dot or at the very latest, half an hour after the stipulated timing printed on our tickets. This is afterall a concert of an Islamic nature and our religion certainly did not teach us about flawed promises.

It was slightly after 9:00pm that the host of the night’s event, none other than RIA 89.7FM‘s Hafeez Glamour, came on stage dressed just like Maher Zain himself and began to warm up the audience. He had three passes to give away and asked for three members of the audience to come on stage to claim it but somehow, the instructions got lost along the way and about twenty people of all ages ended up on stage. Each took turns singing Maher Zain‘s songs and those justifiably eliminated missed out on their chance either because they couldn’t sing as well as those who ended up getting the passes, they were impatient and rowdy or they were not able to pronounce simple words like “Allah” properly. Yes, it was a surprise to me and perhaps those seated watching the proceedings as well. I will reserve further comments henceforth regarding the matter and hope that we take the time to perfect our pronunciation on words found in our Holy Qur’an, as reciting them wrongly would give rise to different meanings.

Maher Zain – An image of serenity and tranquility…

Irfan Makki from Canada came on stage to open the concert with four songs (or was it five??? I lost count). Though I like the songs he sang that night namely “Mama“, “Waiting For The Call“, “I’m Sorry“, and “Mabrook“, I could not help feeling a little shortchanged as I had a feeling that Irfan did not perform live. I was seated near the speakers and I could hear the stark difference in the clarity of his voice as compared to when Mesut Kurtis, the second act of the night, and Maher Zain himself came on stage later on. I could be wrong about the part on singing live, as Irfan sang without the accompanying live band, relying instead on minus one / recorded tracks, while the other two singers of the night performed with the band. Due to the poor sound system, the music emanating from the accompanying live band drowned the richness of Mesut Kurtis and Maher Zain‘s voices throughout the night.

A song that left an indelible impression on me during Irfan Makki‘s set was “Waiting For The Call“. The song was accompanied by a video montage of scenes from the two holy cities of Madinah Al-Munawwarah and Makkah Al-Mukarramah. I felt a lump in my throat seeing the footages and clips of people performing the Umrah and Hajj rituals. Though I did not cry like some in the audience, I felt tears welling up in my eyes as I recalled the times spent in the two holy cities during my honeymoon back in June 2006. I did not enjoy Mesut Kurtis‘ performance, not because it was not good, but I was already feeling bored that the main concert itself was late and it was close to 10:00pm, almost two hours of wait for Maher Zain to come on stage. But I have to say I like the old classic “Thala Al-Badr” sung by Mesut. Though the concert had its shortcomings, I tried to find positives out of it and listening to evergreen songs in praises of the Almighty and also to our beloved Prophet more or less made up for it. I felt that it was not a bad decision afterall to bring my kids as they were exposed to these kind of songs, which for Syahindah is like a refresher course as some of the songs or zikir found in the songs have been taught to her in school.

I will not describe Maher Zain‘s performances per se as I am sure you would have viewed them via YouTube. All I can say is that the boredom, the impatience and anger I felt earlier at having to wait for his arrival on stage disappeared when he came on. And what a way to start his concert with the blast of pyrotechnics. I certainly did not expect it even though I saw the nozzels being lined up on stage. I thought they would shoot confetti instead. Maher Zain is a phenomenon that no matter what he does on stage, the audience would love it. Just that I felt the audience was kinda dead when the man himself asked us to sing and clap along. Actually it was not a surprise at all to me as Singaporean audience in general are known to be dead watchers of most concerts anyway. It was just unfair to the man that a 7000 strong crowd, a sell-out one for added measure, failed to display why his first concert here was an anticipated one.

Maher sang all but one of his songs from his debut album “Thank You Allah“. Not quite a surprise as the song could possibly have political implications attached to it and seeing that we’re not an Islamic country to begin with. But in any concert, you don’t expect the artiste to sing every single song in his / her album anyway. What he did not sing, he made up for it by singing twice for “Insya-Allah” and “For The Rest of My Life“, both songs he sang in English and Malay. It was impressive that he managed to sing the Malay versions without any promptings, especially “Sepanjang Hidup” which was released as a single quite recently,  a mark of professionalism on his part. It was also heartening to note that he addressed the audience by throwing in basic vocabulary from our language. He did not have to win the audience that way, but it truly showed his utmost sincerity, humility and honesty in sharing his happiness at performing for us and we were all satisfied with it. What was dissatisfying was of course the bad sound system. It was difficult to appreciate his voice and performances as a whole because of that.

After the concert ended, I joined several lucky winners from the Singtel and radio contests in meeting him backstage but my dissatisfaction returned once again when from being one of the earlier batches of people queueing in the line to meet the man himself, myself along with several others were whisked away by security to another side and we ended up being the very last to go in. Even though I tried reasoning with the security guys that we were all part of the Singtel and radio contest winners, they said that since we were wearing VIP passes, the instructions they received were for VIP Pass holders to join in the other queue outside the event venue, when we were all already queueing up backstage. Major cock-up on the organisers part and it is no surprise that I see quite a few people already venting their frustrations with them online, some going as far as saying they were treated like dogs. Though I would not go as far as to say I was treated like a mutt, the whole system itself was a major catastrophe which had no standardised uniformity.

I appreciate the fact that the organisers have done all they could to allow as many people as possible to meet and take photographs with Maher Zain, but the way we had to queue and wait and then queue again and ending up being the last was a bad experience as a whole as a lot of time was wasted. Even when we met him in person, we were not allowed to take photographs with him using our cameras and instead take as a group with complete strangers via the official photographers on standby. Being the last, I thought I could at least make small talk with the guy, but we were rushed through by his minders and I ended up just greeting him with the salam, shook his hands and taking that last photograph. But take nothing away from the guy, just by that few seconds of looking into his tired eyes, he was a picture of calm and serenity, his sincerity and aura of tranquility just shoots right through you. The anger I felt at being pushed down to the very last in the line disappeared when I saw his patience at entertaining his ardent fans, even when he was clearly tired.

Those who got to meet Maher Zain in person received these premiums as mementos…

True, there were hits and misses at the concert. Me being my natural self, my patience was severely tested that night as I am naturally a stickler for time. I felt a lot of time was wasted that night on waiting and waiting. But the concert itself, if you were to take away the waiting time, the bad sound system and the “dead” audience aside, was what I came to see and expected from a man who has been quite the music phenomenon in the Islamic world. I know some of you reading this entry might say that I am being ungrateful with my complaints when I had the opportunity to meet him in person in the end, while most could only wish they were in my shoes. I paid for the most expensive seats for myself and my whole family, it is only natural I expected the best out of the experience. I’m sure for those who paid less, they too would have complained on how far they sat from the stage etc. To some extent, I did enjoy the concert but I’m sure it could have been much better had what I listed above been realised. Hopefully the organisers could learn in kind and take in all the feedbacks received and make it a better one the next time. Still, thank you Offshore Entertainment Production for bringing in Maher Zain for his maiden concert in Singapore.

P.S. The photographs featured in this entry belong to a renowned caricature artist, the original “Mat Tocang“, who has been contributing his art works for a long time in our local Malay papers. He has strictly given the instructions that his photographs are not to be downloaded. So I hope you guys would respect his decision. Thank you brother for letting me share the photos you have taken that night in my blog entry. Appreciate it much. I simply love the caricature you made and gave personally to Maher Zain. What a stroke of genius!!! Thank you also to bro Hafeez Glamour for giving me the opportunity to meet Maher Zain in person via your radio contest.

This is the caricature that Mat Tocang had made for Maher Zain. Beautiful isn’t it???

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..