Local online star turns karaoke king

He has gone from singing "with" Jessie J to being crowned an international singing champion.

It has been almost a week since Mr Muhammad Fairus Adam won this year's Karaoke World Championships (KWC) men's title, but he still cannot believe the good news.

The 32-year-old, who teaches Malay and music at Wellington Primary School, told The New Paper: "I was shocked when they announced (on Sunday) that I had won. I didn't expect it."

Ironically, he was not even supposed to be at the competition.

"I came in third in the Singapore Finals and went to the Asian Championships in Bali, where I finished second.

"But one of the two Singapore winners dropped out of the World Championships and I took his place.

"I'm still in disbelief, really."

On its Facebook page, the KWC is described as the world's largest international amateur singing contest.

Mr Fairus is the first Singaporean to win it since it started in 2003.

This year's finals took place from Nov 20 to 22 at the Asian Boutique club in Orchard Plaza, the first time the contest was held in Singapore.

In previous years, countries such as Ireland, Russia, Sweden and Finland had played host.

This year's 59 contestants came from more than 30 countries. There were four rounds of competition to determine a male and female champion.

Mr Fairus admitted he had felt under-prepared, but his fellow contestants helped put him at ease and were very "friendly and approachable".

Singaporeans first got to know Mr Fairus in May when he uploaded a video of himself belting out a virtual duet with British singer Jessie J using the Sing! Karaoke app.

Via the app, Jessie J had asked fans to perform her song Flashlight with her. Mr Fairus took up the challenge and within a few days, the clip had gone viral. It has chalked up more than 800,000 views on YouTube.

LYRICS

When it comes to live karaoke performances, Mr Fairus prefers to memorise the lyrics.

"Even though it is a karaoke competition, I prefer not to look at the screen to get a better feel of the song," he said.

For the finale on Sunday, he sang Michael Bolton's How Am I Supposed To Live Without You to clinch the title.

He won US$5,000 (S$7,000) and an all-expenses paid trip to perform at next year's championships in Canada. He will also be producing a single early next year with the help of contest organisers KWC Asia and the Asia Pacific Innovation Centre.

Mr Fairus hits the karaoke lounge with his friends about once a month. He picked up his love for singing in primary school when his parents bought a karaoke system.

"My parents always sang duets together, so I would partner my mum whenever my dad was not home," he said.

"Singing means so much to me - it's a way to express myself, to tell a story and for me to let go."


This article was first published on Nov 28, 2015.
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