M'sian singer Shila Amzah: Hijab can be my selling point

M'sian singer Shila Amzah: Hijab can be my selling point
Shila made headway in China after she emerged champion in Chinese reality singing competition Asian Wave two years ago.



WHEN: Saturday, 4-11pm

WHERE: Marina Promenade (next to the Singapore Flyer)

TICKETS: $118 and $138 from www.sundownfestival.sg

She is famous in Malaysia and China for being a multilingual singer with a unique voice.

Now, the Malaysian artist has set her sights on breaking into a different Asian market.

Her next stop? South Korea.

Shila Amzah, 24, told The New Paper that her game plan involves tapping on the power of the Internet.

"First, I have to work really hard on my pronunciation. Then maybe I'll record a video of me singing in Korean and hope that it will go viral. (Breaking into the Korean music industry) is not going to be easy, but I will do my best," she said over the phone from Kuala Lumpur.

Shila, who sings in Malay, Mandarin and English, will be in town on Saturday to perform at the Skechers Sundown Festival alongside Asian acts like Singapore's Olivia Ong, South Korea's Cross Gene, Hong Kong's Kate Tsui and Indonesia's S.O.S.Local rapper Shigga Shay and rising star Jeremy Teng will make guest appearances.

She acknowledged that making it in South Korea will be a big challenge that involves hard work.

"I'm not a native speaker. But currently, there aren't any singers there who wear the hijab, so that can be my selling point," said Shila, who shuttles between Malaysia and China for work.

It also helps that Shila, daughter of 80s Malaysian singer ND Lala, is a big K-pop and K-drama fan.

The crooner learnt a smattering of Korean through songs and drama serials.

Her favourite K-pop act? Boy band Exo, specifically their subgroup Exo-M that sing in Mandarin.

It was Exo that kick-started her love for K-pop.

"I met them at a New Year countdown concert earlier this year in Shanghai. I thought they were amazing and saw that they put everything into what they do when they were practising. I think their music is really cool and something new for me. That was when I became a fan," said Shila, who prefers South Korean boy bands to girl groups.

Shila, who writes songs in Malay and Mandarin, hopes to pen her first Korean song in the coming months.


But before that, fans can look forward to a Mandarin song titled A Secret Of The Sand, which will appear in her debut Mandarin album.

The single, slated for release next month, is dedicated to her loyal fans.

Shila made headway in China after she emerged champion in Chinese reality singing competition Asian Wave two years ago.

She also pitted her vocals against other professional singers in another Chinese reality singing competition I Am A Singer 2 earlier this year and came in third.

Since then, Shila has staged solo concerts in China and Malaysia in August and September respectively. She also recorded a duet with Singapore Idol winner Taufik Batisah called Cinta Tak Bernyawa on his latest album, Fique.

For now, her career and family remain the top priority in her life - boys will have to take a back seat.

"There is too much limelight right now, and I want to try and keep my life as normal as possible and focus on my career," she said.

But if the right one comes along, Shila said she is not picky. @He can be Malay, Korean or Chinese... I don't have a preference, and I don't look out for a particular quality. As long as he is supportive of my work and respectful of my family - I think that's important," she said.

"It'll be a bonus if he has a voice like Chen (of Exo-M)!" she added, laughing.

This article was first published on November 18, 2014.
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