Before blogger Dalilah Tamrin lost her life to cancer in 2010, one of the dreams she had was for popular Malaysian singer Anuar Zain to sing a song she penned.
It was a special request Anuar honoured in his self-titled album slated for release next year. The heartrending track is called Kembali PadaMu Ilahi.
When asked about the song, written by the late Malaysian blogger better known as Raden Galoh, Anuar said: "It is about dealing with pain, but bears the positive message that there will be relief at the end of the suffering.
"Hopefully, it will benefit her family and those who are suffering from anything at all - sickness, like her, heartbreak or other personal matters," the 44-year-old told M when he was in town on Monday.
Dalilah, 42, was a friend of a composer with whom Anuar collaborated often.
Although he did not get the chance to see Dalilah in her last days, Anuar, the younger brother of singer Ziana Zain, said he will always remember her for her bright smile that was evident in photographs.
Dalilah's song, like many of those from his last four albums, has an encouraging message.
It was an important reason for Anuar choosing to include the emotional track in the album, his fifth. The album will have up to 10 songs.
Fans in Singapore will have a chance to hear to it when the charming singer performs at a concert here in February to celebrate his 30-year career.
His first and only show here was held at the Esplanade in 2008.
"I hope fans will let their hair down, sing along with me and chat with me. Be a little crazy just this once," he said.
On whether there will be any special appearances by his artist friends, Anuar said he wants to be "selfish just this once".
"I want to have a moment with just me and my fans," he said, adding that fans can expect to hear him perform many of his older songs.
Anuar also reflected on his career, revealing that it has had its fair share of ups and downs.
One of his lowest points came at the start of his career, when he was making the transition from flight steward to full-time singer.
"It was difficult for me financially, but I wanted to suffer alone. I've got my own pride like that and I refused to ask for help because I don't want to trouble other people.
"Those few months were quite a struggle, but I thank God for the experience because it made me more careful," he said.
When asked to name his career highlights, he does not bring up his wins at music awards like Anugerah Planet Muzik and Anugerah Industri Muzik.
Instead, he surprises this reporter by saying that loyal fans are the highlights of his career.
"It's when my fans relate to and sing along to my songs that I think, 'wow, I'm a successful guy.' What more can you ask for?" he said.
But fans will be disappointed to find out that unlike in his previous albums, there will not be any songs hinting at his love life, which few know about.
"I am a very private person and would like to keep those experiences to myself.
"But like everyone else, I share the same emotions when it comes to pain, love or happiness," he said.
What's the secret to lasting in the cut-throat entertainment industry? Always give, and always stay happy, he said.
It seems that happiness has also been key to preserving his ageless appearance.
"I'm just really happy with what I do. It has always been a pleasure, I have never felt like dragging my feet to work."
This article was first published on Dec 17, 2014.
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