Malaysian veteran singer D.J. Dave has been active in the entertainment scene for the last four decades and he has not changed much since then - not physically, at least.
"I can still fit into the clothes that I used to wear on stage back in the 1970s. I've grown old gracefully," the 66-year-old says with a laugh in a telephone interview from Sabah, where he has a house.
In fact, at a series of three sold-out concerts at Kuala Lumpur's Istana Budaya in 2012, he did pull out some of his old clothes from the 1970s to the 1990s and wore them to perform several songs.
Fans in Singapore will be able to see for themselves his well-preserved physique when he performs here tonight at the Esplanade Recital Studio.
He credits his sporty lifestyle for winning the battle of the bulge. A keen badminton player, he won two silver medals in his first appearance at the World Morning Cup, a badminton tournament for veterans, in Taiwan last year.
"Winning or losing is not important to me, I just want to be active in badminton because it helps me keep my adrenaline going," says the grandfather of four, whose real name is Dhammi Jagjit Sukhdev.
The man behind evergreen Malay pop hits such as Ingin Bersua (Want To Meet), Maafkanlah (Forgive) and Ku Tak Ingin Menangis (I Don't Want To Cry) first came to fame with the release of his 1972 debut album.
Known also for his Malay renditions of Bollywood hit songs such as Ye Kya Hua, renamed Ingin Bersua, and Dil Kya Kare Jab Kisi Se, renamed Seruling Kasih (Love Flute), he has released 40 albums.
D.J. Dave, who is also known by his Muslim name Irwan Shah Abdullah and holds the honorific title of Datuk, says that the Esplanade concert will be special. It is his first major show here since performing at the Esplanade Concert Hall back in 2006 in a double-bill show with fellow Malaysian veteran musician Ahmad Nawab.
While he has done private performances and brief appearances at events for his fans here, he says that the show tonight will be highly "intimate".
"I want my die-hard fans to be up close with me because I want them to sing along and I want to have a lot of interaction with them. There'll be a question-and-answer segment, this is more of a two-way programme rather than a show where I just sing," says Dave, who is married to a former flight attendant, with whom he has three children.
Having recorded a lot of his songs in the past at the now-defunct EMI recording studio in Orchard Road, he has fond memories of Singapore, not to mention the city's food.
While he is here, he plans to head for Newton Food Centre.
"If my fans see me there, I'm very happy to meet them and shake their hands, I'm a normal human being like everyone else. I'm still the same kampung boy at heart. It's the fans and my parents who have made me who I am today."
UP CLOSE WITH D.J. DAVE – GREATEST HITS
Where: Esplanade Recital Studio
When: Today, 8pm
Admission: Limited tickets priced at $68.
Call Green Media on 9825-3570 to book
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