DENNIS CHUA talks to four former Akademi Fantasia graduates who are the pioneer artistes of a new record label
She sees Mok as the “magical touch” behind the recent album of her favourite singer-songwriter Amylea Azizan of AF3 and One In A Million 3. Aishah is also set to appear in an RTM programme to mark Hari Gawai. “Since AF7 ended, I’ve been in Astro’s entertainment programmes, including Gempak Selebriti.
While singing is my No.
1 passion, I’m all for acting too,” she says. She says Hafiz is her “pillar of strength”.
“I love him for his positive outlook on life.
He always cheers me up and I’m so proud of his achievements,” she says, describing him as the best AF champion.
She also names her cousin Saiful Bakeri, who finished fifth in Malaysian Idol 1 six years ago, as an inspiration. “Saiful is disciplined and determined.
Since graduating, he's got two albums.
He showed me that to succeed in show business I must be true to myself,” says Aishah, who also thanks AF2 seniors, actress Nurullah Abdul Hamid and award-winning singer-cum-television personality Farah Anuar. And Nadia has been going places since graduating from AF6.
The 20-year-old Taiping lass recorded Dia, Aku Dan Kamu, a song composed by Eddie Hamid, with Indonesian rock group Red Peanut and performed in Holland at a dinner show organised by the Malaysian Embassy. She’s also an actress, best known for appearing in RTM sitcom Angguk-Angguk, Geleng-Geleng with veteran comedians Sabri Yunus and Khatijah Tan. “My first single with Dream Music is Kita Sama, composed by Amir of Bengang fame and written by myself,” she says, adding that she’s all for writing her own music because “artistes who create their own music sell better”. Nadia hopes to star in musicals too.
“Musicals challenge you to be an all-round entertainer,” she says, citing AF’s first female champion, Mila Jirin, as her favourite musical star. “Mila’s been my strong supporter from day one and she’s guided me since I graduated.
I love her, AF8’s Akim Ahmad and fellow AF6 grad Ika Rahim in Kau Dan Aku.” Hosting TV progammes and entertainment events also appeals to Nadia. “I hosted a programme on Rakan Muda last year and loved it, she says, citing AF5’s Dafi Ismail Sabri and Ika as her mentors. Her label-mate, Claudia, 25, also from Kuching, is busy promoting her new single, Rasakan, composed by Shazzy Ishak and written by Nur Fatima. The single mother of a three-year-old describes the song as “life’s fundamental lessons”.
“It’s an easy-listening song with the message that what one gives, one gets in return,” she says. Claudia cites Jaclyn Victor, AF3 graduate Marsha Londoh and AF6 champion Stacy Anam as her inspirations.
She describes them as entertainers who can sing and act well. “If opportunity knocks, I’d love to be in musicals.
Tony Eusoff is my favourite theatre and TV star — he was brilliant in Broken Bridges,” she says. Rina, 26, of Kajang, joined AF7 and OIAM3 last year with her elder twin Zuzafrini, or Rini.
But only Rini made it to the Top 12 of AF7. “We’ve been singing since our days in Sekolah Menengah Convent Kajang.
We both love pop and rock music,” says Rina who released the single, Mana Satu, recently. “It’s a catchy song about the choices we make.
I aspire to write my own songs and my biggest inspirations are my childhood experiences,” she says, adding that she’d love to record a pop rock song with Rini in the future. Arm, 21, of Teluk Intan, recently starred in the Istana Budaya musical, Gamat.
He has a hit single, Cinta Tak Pasti, composed by Amir and written by Lawrence. Arm, who studied radiography at Universiti Malaya and works in UM Medical Centre, won entertainment magazine Mangga’s Star Search last year.
“I was active in singing and theatre in university, so I decided to be a recording artiste.
But my involvement in show business will be part-time as I’m committed to being a radiographer.” Hoping to someday compose and write his own songs, he sees singer-songwriters Ikhwal Hafiz Ismail, Aizat Amdan and Faizal Tahir as his inspirations.
“Writing and composing your own music makes fans appreciate you more," Arm says. Sheila, 21, was discovered by Adnan when she won a contest he organised four years ago.
The Johor Baru lass is an event management student at Management Science University in Shah Alam. Last year, she recorded Semuanya Keranamu, the theme song of Adnan’s upcoming film, Bunian. The youngest of three siblings, she has an album to her credit and one of her songs, Lepaskanlah, composed by Adnan, became the theme song for the film Cinta Yang Satu. “I’m currently writing and composing a new single.
It’ll be my first under Dream Music,” she says, adding that she was an EMI artiste before.
As much as she wants to excel in music, Sheila is determined to complete her studies first.
“My parents have always encouraged me to excel in my studies because while it’s good to be an entertainer, it’s best to be an educated entertainer,” she says, citing Aizat, Faizal and Dafi as role models.