Ritabella’s “Fiza O Collection” Launch Event…

The days and weeks have been moving a little too fast for my liking, that I did not realise that it has been three weeks since this event was held at Joo Chiat Complex on 25th February 2012. I felt extremely honoured to be invited to this event, moreso when Fiza O herself called me up personally to invite me over. When someone has made the effort to invite you over personally given the time constraints they were facing in the lead-up to the event, it is quite difficult to say “no”. You feel very much appreciated and obliged to return the support in kind. That was how I felt. On hindsight, even if Fiza did not make the call, I would have been amongst the crowd, perhaps watching from the upper levels of the shopping complex. It was the same day that Imran Ajmain was supposed to have his showcase at The Arts House, but was postponed due to technical reasons. Having him performing that day made up for the showcase miss, since I was due to go had it gone on as planned.

Other than Imran Ajmain, the other acts who graced the event were all from Singapore. They include Aryan Band, no slouches themselves and slowly gaining a positive reputation across the Causeway, dance powerhouse Styles From Beyond and two participants who have been featured on Hafeez Glamour‘s “Opening Act” segment in his daily radio show, Sufie Rashid and Siti Syakirah Noble. I thought the idea of inviting Aryan Band to perform was a good choice, given the fact that they have not made any notable live appearances on these shores since their Anugerah Planet Muzik 2011 debut, as they were busy touring in Malaysia promoting the soundtrack of the movie “Azura 2012” and making more good music. And good music was what we heard that day as the band introduced their new singles “Kasih Katakan Sesuatu” and “Tanpa Mu“, sandwiching “Azura 2012“.

Besides singing his hit song “Jika Engkau Pergi“, taken off his album “Punca Dan Tindakan“, Imran was also on hand to introduce his new single “Dikalung Kasihan“, a sappy ballad I have fallen in love with, which was composed by renowned composer Azlan Abu Hassan and lyrics written by Dato’ Dr. Fazley Yaakob, who needs no further introduction himself. I remember in one particular showcase I attended in the past, Imran said in jest that he was “sick of” singing “Seribu Tahun“, but one cannot deny that that is his signature song, especially when the audience clamoured for him to sing it again and Imran obliged by doing it twice, even if he had no accompanying music.  The strength of that song lies in its melody, the simplicity of its lyrics and the deep meanings attached to it, a potent combination which makes it one of the most beautiful love ballads and one I rank as one of my own personal favourites as well.

The two up-and-coming acts whose talents were first showcased on the “Opening Act” segment, Sufie Rashid and Siti Syakirah Noble gave good accounts of themselves. Of course there were jitters detected but that was natural to expect for newbies just starting out and having to perform to a large audience live. I was surprised to know that the latter, whose height and size belied her age, is only 12 years old!!! This particular radio segment is heaven sent for our budding local acts, as it gives them the platform for exposure and for event organisers and record producers to sit up and take notice of their potential. Since the segment was first introduced mid-2011, a number of these young upstarts who began their journey via uploading YouTube clips of themselves performing, have had the opportunity to perform at various events. This is one example whereby social and mainstream media work hand in hand to give them the opportunity to shine without having to rely on the next season of a reality show.

Forever Beauty Professionals Pte Ltd, which produces the Ritabella range of beauty, skincare and slimming products, launched the “Fiza O Collection“, belonging to the Illume Skin System set of skincare products, for those with sensitive, oily and dry skin amongst others. If I am not mistaken, a set costs about $80. I have seen the physical difference in Fiza since she became an ambassador of the Ritabella products. Normally she looks weary and tired after a hard day’s work, but since she started using them, she looks fresh and I do not see her eyebags. And what’s more, there is a certain glow about her skin, as well as Hafeez Glamour, the other ambassador of the products. Hafeez himself will be launching his own collection come 25th March 2012 at Joo Chiat Complex, as well as his second book, “Demi Adriana“, after “Diari DJ“, his first book which was produced in late 2005.

Till this day I am still struggling to find a particular product which is named after a local Malay personality in our entertainment industry. Back in the 90s when the Malaysia Cup was so popular, two of our national players, Hasnim Haron and Zulkifli Kartoyoho had boots named after them and produced by Umbro, the sports manufacturer which sponsored them. But that was in the arena of sports. Correct me please if I am wrong, but I believe Fiza O has made a history of sorts by being the first Malay personality in our local entertainment industry to have her name embedded to a particular product. And that itself is cause for joy and pride for the bubbly radio presenter and television host, whose daily radio show has one of the highest ratings. Congratulations to Fiza O once again on the launch of her own beauty and skincare product!!!

Launch of Hyrul Anuar’s “Mata” Music Video…

Music videos (MVs) are part and parcel of the entertainment industry. Normally the ones in the West and those with very established music industries would come out with quality MVs, with amazing props, technicolour and CGI effects thrown into the mix. Closer to home, not many are able to say the quality of MVs are closer to or on par with the others outside our South-East Asia region. There is a saying that with big money comes better quality MVs and the fact remains, we do not have this luxury in our small industry. But I personally feel that in recent times, with Revalina‘s “Menanti Cintamu” and Awi Rafael‘s “Pulanglah” being prime examples, we are able to see that quality MVs can be produced with perhaps limited budget and very creative people working behind the scenes to make it happen. In summary, it can be done.

Hence I had the same hope that Hyrul Anuar‘s music video for his single “Mata“, taken off his album “Sesebuah Perubahan“, would be of a respectable standard when I first received the invitation to attend its launch. Truth be told, I have never heard of a music video launch before this, especially in our local context. Correct me for my probable ignorance, but this was perhaps the first in our local Malay music industry to have such an event. Positive memories of Hyrul‘s album launch last year are still fresh in my head till this day, from how it was planned and executed, to the number of local personalities who turned up to support the event. Even though the venue of the MV launch (The Arts House @ Old Parliament Building) is considered much smaller than the ballroom at Hotel Re!, I was still looking forward to a memorable event.

The day of the event (23rd September 2011) was a special day and landmark for Hyrul Anuar. Not only was it the day he launched his MV, he also celebrated his 26th birthday on the same day. I had initial fears when I realised the event was held during the Formula One Race competition right smack next to the racing track. Walking along the road leading towards The Arts House only heightened my fears as the sounds from the race cars were terribly deafening and I was afraid that they would spoil Hyrul‘s event. But thankfully, the building is soundproof and those who attended enjoyed an F1-free event in the Screening Room of The Arts House. It also helped that Hyrul‘s event was during the break between the first and second practice sessions for the F1 drivers.

The MV launch was hosted by Imran Ajmain, the man who helped produced Hyrul‘s album. I will not delve much on what happened during the MV launch as you are able to watch it in the video that I have uploaded. But just to give you a quick information on the MV. It was shot in NTU and Tuas in the space of five days by a group of students from Nanyang Technological University’s School of Arts, Design and Media who call themselves “ShadowPlay Studio“, under the astute direction of Ridwan Madon. The K-Pop inspired MV has an angsty theme to it and with choreography by Fantastic Crew, make-up by Daen A. Ali and costumes sponsored by ATZU and Dress Sense, the blend and mix was simply perfect. Even though I will not upload the actual video in this entry due to respecting its exclusivity, you can view it when it’s up on Singtel‘s website in the coming future as Hyrul is a Mio Singtel ambassador. Hyrul had also stated that the MV will not be uploaded on YouTube.

On a day Hyrul Anuar celebrated the launch of his music video and creating a milestone of sorts on his birthday, it was also launched and aired on Suria, Sensasi and Astro Ria that night. Personally I feel that the music video has raised the standards of local MVs. At first glance, it reminded me of some of KRU‘s music videos and the group were known for being technologically advanced in creating their own MVs even way back in the late 90s. Let’s hope that more local acts will be inspired to produce their own quality videos and lift the standards of our local industry to a new level. If Hyrul Anuar can do it through his own perseverance and hard work, I think anything is possible if we were to put our hearts, minds and soul into it. Congratulations to Hyrul Anuar on the launch of his “Mata” music video!!!

Snapshots of Hyrul Anuar’s “Mata” Music Video Launch

Guests were encouraged to hold these props up and take a photograph… 

Host of the event, Imran Ajmain

The man himself, Hyrul Anuar

Hyrul with local actress Shasha Ya’kob

RIA 89.7FM‘s Aura Shai was in attendance…

So too was television personality, Rilla Melati Bahri

The beautiful model in the music video, Noor Artika…

Introducing Hyrul Anuar‘s proud parents…

Some of the guests in attendance…

Local singers Roze Kasmani and Hydir Idris were also in attendance, as well as talented lyricist Fadly Ahmad (right)…

Surprise birthday celebration for the birthday boy…

Imran Ajmain 100 Hari Acoustic Tour Reminisced…

(Graphics poster courtesy of imranajmain.com)

I did say in one of my previous entries that this blog will be on hiatus during the blessed month of Ramadhan. As in years past, it has been that way, as I normally do not attend any functions or events related to the entertainment scene during this month. But I know I owe the readers of my blog this particular entry, which is why I decided to dust the three-week old cobwebs away and return for a short update. We are already halfway into the fasting month and we’re left with another two weeks. I hope that each and everyone of you are doing well, in the pink of health and grabbing every possible opportunity that Almighty Allah have bestowed upon us this month. Such is the beauty of Ramadhan, that I wish it could be a daily occurrence.

Anyway back to the event that I attended a few days after Anugerah Planet Muzik 2011 was held here in Singapore. Imran Ajmain‘s “100 Hari Acoustic Tour“, was a celebration to commemorate him quitting smoking for good. It all began with him doing the countdown to 100 days on social networking sites Twitter and Facebook back in February 2011, without telling anyone what he was counting down for. By the end of it, he achieved his mission and the acoustic tour was one that he wanted to share with his ardent followers. The last I attended Imran‘s showcase was back on 26 February 2008 at the Arts House @ Old Parliament Building. I did attend the launch of his second album “Punca Dan Tindakan” a year and a half after that at Rendezvous Hotel, but it did not quite count as a showcase, even though he sang a majority of the songs found in the album that night.

This showcase featured the likes of Dr. Fazley Yaakob, eternally remembered for the hit “Asmara Ini” and Hydir Idris, a semi-finalist of Anugerah 2009, who in my opinion was one of the favourites to win in that year’s competition. I dunno if it was secretly planned or was it impromptu, but our talented local act, Roze Kasmani, who was in the audience was also roped in to sing with Dr. Fazley and Imran himself. This was a feel good (and not to mention, sold-out) event shared by everyone who came. This was evident from the smiling faces that left the venue, Badoque Cafe, feeling extremely satisfied. With good company, excellent service, great entertainment and of course the tantalising menu, what more could we have asked for??? It was a night to be remembered and even if Dr. Fazley did not sing some of my personal favourites like “Cerita Asmara“, “Hujan” and “Sesaat Kau Tiada“, I have no complaints and went home a happy man…

Snapshots of Imran Ajmain’s 100 Hari Acoustic Tour in Singapore

Imran welcoming us to the showcase…

Hydir Idris opened the show with three songs…

He surprised yours truly for having the gift to play the guitar…

Most importantly, Hydir is more composed and at ease performing as compared to two years ago…

I last watched Dr. Fazley performing live at Anugerah Planet Muzik 2002…

He has lost none of his charisma and stage presence… The trademark moustache is gone though… Hahahah…

An Imran Ajmain showcase is never complete without his interesting anecdotes…

I guess that’s what the fans missed, besides his presence on stage to entertain us with his soulful voice…

The night’s performers with their accompanying sessionists, Ucop (left) and Syazwan (right)…

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 Pre-Show & Red Carpet Segment…

Nope this is not a review of Anugerah Planet Muzik 2011. Not so soon and definitely not my style. Cos I would love to take my time to read what the foreign media and entertainment bloggers would have to say before I come out with my own thoughts and also to agree with them or to defend the organisers and production team as and when I deem fit to do so. But I know most of you entering this domain would want to see photographs or clips I took during the event. Fret not, cos I have planned to split up my entry into several parts so it does not have to come out as too long-winded for you to digest. For starters, I’ll begin with the Red Carpet event as well as several photos I snapped of our local acts already seated amongst the audience, which most of you did not get to see at home. Enjoy viewing the pics and clip!!!

Roze Kasmani (right), with manager Raudha Ismail and Shah Shamshiri, the lyricist to her debut single “Harum“… 

Revalina looking spiffy in their outfits…

Mediacorp AMU artistes Komrad and Yanie from the girl group EVE

Warna 94.2FM‘s AB Shaik and RIA 89.7FM‘s Nity Baizura were the hosts for the Red Carpet segment…

First up on the red carpet were SleeQ and Sezairi Sezali, Singapore‘s 3rd Idol

Sarah Aqilah making her debut at APM 2011

Anugerah 2011 winner Rahayu Ridwan also made her debut fresh from her win a fortnight ago…

Surprised to see Hady Mirza in this new style, breaking away from the boy-next-door image we’ve been so used to seeing, but it was fresh nonetheless…

Love this shot of Taufik Batisah and Rossa

Good looks, soulful voice, no wonder the gals go gaga over Afgan Syah Reza

Stunning outfit worn by Winnie K that night. I initially thought a bride was on the loose…

Our very own Huda Ali wearing an Ashley Isham creation…

He might be a Dato’, but AC Mizal (with wife Emilia Rosnaida), is still the spunky and sporty fellow that we know…

Dato M. Nasir (with wife Datin Marlia Musa) is still very popular and well respected on these shores judging by the cheers he received…

Prolific composer Ajai, walked the carpet with Aisya Hasnaa, one of the nominees for Vokal Terbaik (Artis Baru Wanita)

Atilia flanked by MonoLoQue

Aryan Band, one of our local acts signed by Luncai Emas Sdn Bhd

Hafiz, Akademi Fantasia 7 winner was a crowd pleaser not only with his voice, but his infectious smile and not forgetting, the hair…

Suria FM‘s Halim Othman with Nora Danish, who was a hot favourite with fans clamouring to take photographs with her…

The gorgeous and tall Amanda Imani. She could easily be a supermodel with the height she has…

An example of a local act who has flown the flag high across the shores, Ady Putra

Farah Asyikin, winner of Vokal Terbaik (Artis Baru Wanita) back at APM 2008

The gal with the trademark baju kurung / kebaya, Ana Raffali

Sandhy Sondoro looked glum throughout, but his voice has made the region take note of his abilities…

Shylla Amzah looked as though she was loving every minute on the red carpet…

One word to describe Ning Baizura: Stunning!!!

Jaclyn Victor, a vocal powerhouse in her own right…

No surprises to see so many people clamouring to take photographs of Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza by the side…

Always a pleasure to see Linda Onn back at the place where she spent her childhood. Am sure she felt the same way too…

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

Konsert Ramuan Reminisced…

I know that most of you entering this site would expect to read something on the Anugerah 2011 Grand Finals this past Tuesday night. While it is tempting to type on something which is still so fresh in my head, it is not something that I do immediately after a show on a regular basis. Yes I was at the show live, but I always make it a point to watch it again via the Catchup site to listen to the contestants’ vocals once again for clarity sake. So you guys coming in here would have to wait till at least the end of the week before I put up my entry and share what I feel, with regards to the Grand Finals. First up is Konsert Ramuan, which was  successfully held at Goodman Arts Centre on 19th June 2011. The concert, as was mentioned in my promo a couple of weeks ago, was a fundraising affair in support of “Ramuan Rahasia“, a locally-produced film directed by award-winning director, Sanif Olek.

Hosts for the day – Junaidi Sali & Effandy Idris

It has been quite awhile since I last attended an event of such magnitude, which brought together an array of local acts to grace the stage with their different sets of styles, genres and ensembles. I think the last one I had attended was RIA‘s Birthday Bash in February 2010 where a cast of strictly local acts had graced the Republic Polytechnic’s Convention Centre stage. Even then the number of acts were not as many as this one. Here, all the acts, a total of twenty-five of them according to Sanif himself via his Twitter, came together for a common cause, a bond that unites them, a shared vision to see through a mission of realising the dreams of finally seeing our first true local Malay film on the silver screens. Oh how heartening it was to see everyone, from the mainstream to the indies, joining forces for one goal – To raise funds for the making and completion of Ramuan Rahasia.

Sanif Olek, the film director of  “Ramuan Rahasia” addressing the audience…

The timing of the event (11:00am) till evening (I had left at around 4:45pm not to know what time the whole thing ended) felt like a Malay wedding event. Besides being entertained by stellar acts, the event became a reunion of sorts amongst people who have not met in ages, just like a Malay wedding scenario. A lot of happy faces were seen, tired but satisfied looks by the organisers and people who had worked hard behind the scenes to make this event a success. Though the turnout could have been better, it was still a good start and I sincerely hope that it would have gone some way to ease the funding burdens. The event reminded me of the local music festival “Melayu Ada“, which was also organised by Cokelat Events & Production. This time round, they joined forces with Sanif‘s “Reeljuice” company and a number of good friends in the local industry.

Due to family and other commitments, I could not be at the event throughout and only reached the venue slightly before 3:00pm. By then, I had missed out on the performances of several artistes like Anugerah Planet Muzik nominee SleeQ, Projek Rentak 2010 winner X-Clusive, former Bhumiband vocalist Adha, and acts like Tujuh, Revolusi, Yunos Erksan and Asnida Daud amongst others. As I had planned to join up with the rest of my family members who were at City Square Mall for the Anugerah Finals Roadshow, it meant I missed out on watching acts I’ve not seen in a long while, most notably Roze Kasmani, Imran Ajmain, Klutz and Kraton. But I’m sure everyone who came enjoyed themselves and I was no exception. I enjoyed watching Dinodi making a rare live appearance and belting their haunting hit “Cinta Tragika“, but most people forget / do not know that they did record an album with excellent tracks other than that hit.

For $10 / $12 entrance fees, and watching so many acts performing under one roof, it was certainly value for money and proved that Singapore do not lack quality talents. They just lack the support from locals who are more in tune with what is across our shores and beyond. Or from my personal observations, the regular monthly wedding / halal food exhibitions at Singapore Expo have somewhat contributed to the decline in interest of watching paid concerts / shows / gigs amongst local entertainment lovers because they can watch them for free at these events. The only way for our local music industry to grow is if we make the time and effort to come down and watch them, regardless of entrance fees or buying their singles / albums and not downloading them illegally. It was heartening to see local acts, singers, bands, actors coming together and show their solidarity. It certainly bodes well for the local industry to have people fighting for one another. I leave you with a song specially composed and written for this fundraising effort and performed live during the concert by Anugerah 2004 winner, Aqmal. A lovely song for a noble effort. I hope you would help to contribute too as efforts are still ongoing. For more information, do drop by www.ramuanrahasia.com

Snapshots of Konsert Ramuan

One half of the wacky hosts – Junaidi Sali

 The other half – Effandy Idris

The supporters of local music…

Some of the items being sold at the flea market outside the event hall…

A new face on television thanks to the Kopi Bujang series – Raimi Liandy Safari (right) – manning the ticketing booth…

This hip-hop duo who call themselves “A-Phat“, reminds me of 90s group Nico from their dress sense and having a group member’s moniker as the name of the group…

Anugerah 2004 winner, Aqmal, never fail to wow me with his voice…

I did not understand a single word that the lead vocalist of A.U.M. sang that day (or should that be screaming???), but their music is infectious, I felt like headbanging along…

A comeback long-awaited – Dinodi

Shafyre‘s showmanship is top-notch. Like a true rocker…

Izzat Yusoff, lead vocalist of Shine, was another who did not disappoint. Another group that made me want to dance along to their reggae beats…

Zaibaktian came on stage to join Dinodi in performing the former’s hit “Dunia Yang Fana“. This song collaboration was made into a soundtrack for the “Mimpi Mekah” programme which aired on Suria last year…

Zax entered the earlier rounds of this year’s Anugerah 2011 competition. Though he was quite decent with his delivery, I just felt his rendition of “Seroja” was too similar to how Ace had performed during the recent semi-final rounds…

Sanif with Sani Hussin and Aidli “Alin” Mosbit, two actors who are part of the “Ramuan Rahasia” film…

Konsert Ramuan Rahasia Promo…

KONSERT RAMUAN is a music festival that brings together various Singaporean artistes, performing in solidarity to raise funds for Sanif Olek’s yet-to-be-completed feature film, RAMUAN RAHASIA. A total of 24 bands and solo acts will be sharing stage on Sunday, 19 June 2011 from 11am to 6pm at the Goodman Arts Centre (90, Goodman Road, S439053). Together, fascinating flea market with vendors selling eclectic products will add colour to the event!

KONSERT RAMUAN is only the first of a fundraising project series that hopes to create awareness about the film appeal for funds. Following this concert, a monologue ensemble, entitled MONOLOG RAHASIA, featuring established theatre/TV actors is already in the pipeline.

KONSERT RAMUAN tickets are already on sale @ $10 via Paypal (sanif.olek@gmail.com) and Zax (81137883). Tickets will also be available at the door on the event day at $12. Free entry for children aged 12 years and below.

For those interested to rent a table at the flea market, they may contact Zio at 90214934.

All proceeds from the concert will be channeled to the RAMUAN RAHASIA fund appeal.

ABOUT THE FILM

RAMUAN RAHASIA is a feature film, directed by Sanif Olek that has abruptly stalled since late 2009 due to insufficient funds. To date, only 60% of its filming has been achieved.  The project is now racing to be completed.

 It is an endearing tale of hope blending spicy food, classic Nusantara Malay songs and love into a digestible contemporary platter. It boasts a stellar cast from Dato’ Rahim Razali to Aidli ‘Alin’ Mosbit, Rafaat Haji Hamzah, Keagan Kang, Aaron Aziz, Sani Hussin, J A Halim and many more.

Principal Cast:

  • Dato’ Rahim Razali
  • Aidli ‘Alin’ Mosbit
  • Rafaat Hj Hamzah
  • Asnida Daud
  • Keagan Kang

Supporting Cast:

  • Aaron Aziz
  • Marina Yusoff
  • J A Halim
  • Sani Hussin
  • Keatar H M
  • Shah Iskandar
  • Khalid Baboo
  • Aryati Tyeb Papar
  • Nina Halim
  • Aminah Ahmad
  • Hashimah Hamidon
  • Norsiah Ramly
  • Dalina Jaapar
  • Roslan Kemat
  • Abdullah Ahmad
  • Nurul Aini

Original story by Sanif Olek

Screenplay by Gene Sha Rudyn and Sanif Olek

For further details on the concert, please contact Azizah Zakaria at 94248514.

[For more details about the film, please visit www.ramuanrahasia.com]

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..

Huda Ali & Den Sabari’s Wedding Dinner…

Continuing where I left off from the previous entry, this was the second-part of a three-day celebration for the newly-weds. Held at the main multi-purpose hall at the Bottle Tree Park situated at Lorong Chencharu on the evening of Saturday 17th July 2010, this was an event which was close to a Pesta Perdana affair, with local celebrities and personalities gracing the occasion, dressed in their nines.  Not even the humid weather could dampen the mood as everyone was seen smiling and grinning away, catching up with each other and of course to celebrate the union of the newly-betrothed.

This was also an event that was unforgettable on a personal level as I had experienced a “wardrobe mulfunction” and had to rush home to change my clothes. Due to this unexpected turn of events, I had to miss Sleeq performing “Terima Kasih Sayang” as well as the grand entrance made by Huda & Den, who were serenaded to the tunes of Afgan‘s “Bukan Cinta Biasa” by guest violinist Adliana Supiani. A big thank you goes out to bro Izarr of Izone.sg for being kind enough to take over photo-taking duties when I had to go off for awhile. Appreciate the kind help there.

The event was excellently hosted by none other than Shahrin Azhar and what is a wedding dinner without love songs being serenaded??? Hyrul Anuar‘s version of “Dealova” had my hairs standing on its end, and Sleeq had the guests bobbing their heads when they performed their current hit single on the airwaves “Untuk Dia” slightly later. Roze Kasmani rounded off the performing cast singing her hit single “Harum“, which literally summed up the fragrance emanating from the blossoming love of the newly-wedded couple. It was indeed a beautiful event for a beautiful couple and attended by beautiful people. Enjoy the video!!!

Thank you also to Netty Fiona, the mastermind behind this event, as well as Huda Ali and family for extending their kind invitation to us…