Siti Zahidah’s “Ethereal” EP Launch…

I did say in my last entry that I would be blogging past events that I attended but have not had the time to post till now. Well, this momentous event is just one of them, a memorable one I attended with my wife and savouring for the very first time, Zahidah‘s live performance. For those of you who might not know who she is, well for starters, she won 987FM‘s “The Next Big Thing” competition last year. She has had hits on both English and Malay radio stations the past two years like “The Make-Up Song“, “First Love“, “Malam Ini” and won an award at last year’s Anugerah Planet Muzik (Lagu Terbaik SingapuraBest Singapore Song) for her duet with The Lion Story, “Lagu Teman“.

With gradual and progressive successes like that, it was only natural that an album was recorded to further enhance and showcase her repertoire of talent in songwriting, composing and performing. And so, “Ethereal” was born and launched successfully on 7 July 2012 with a showcase by Zahidah and her merry bandmates. The launch, attended by about 150 fans, supporters, friends and family members, was held at The Gallery @ *SCAPE. Singing a total of eleven songs, it felt more like a mini concert, an apt celebration to commemorate how far this talented musician has come since she first introduced herself to the local independent music scene in 2009. And there’s always something intriguing and mystical when a lady is able to sing and play a musical instrument at the same time.

Backed by Aidil Muhaimin, Muhammad Nuridham and Imran Bustamam, her bandmates, they spent about an hour entertaining the audience with a feel-good factor that reminded me of those old-school gigs back in polytechnic. The audience it has to be said, were definitely a sporting bunch. There was even a surprise birthday celebration after the third song was performed, for Zahidah and guitarist Aidil, who celebrated and shares the same birthday (5 July). Even though it was a happy atmosphere for most parts of the showcase, a sense of sadness was felt when Zahidah performed her Malay single “Rindu“. She broke down a few times whilst performing, as I found out later on that the song is actually dedicated to her late grandfather. Her family members, notably her mother, were seen dabbing their eyes as well.

It was nice to see a good turnout for such a humble showcase, with the audience exchanging banter with not only Zahidah but her bandmates as well. Local celebrities currently based in MalaysiaTengku Adil and Elfaeza Ul-Haq were the standout attendees, and not to be forgotten, the joint producers of the “EtherealEP album as well, Haramain Osman and Judah Lyne from The Lion Story. The five singles in the EP album are definitely worth listening to, with my personal favourite being “First Love“. A job well done to Zahidah and the team behind the making of not only her album, but also the ones behind her music video “Malam Ini” (Flashforward Films), as well as the ones who were responsible for the success of the launch (*SCAPE, Heyday Streetwear, Built From Skratch, Fact3 Productions & Hamyza Halek). Here’s wishing Zahidah more success in her music journey!!!

Snapshots of “Ethereal” EP launch

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!!!