Sheila’s going strong after 28 years

For her concert here, Sheila Majid (far right) will sing her duet with Indonesian jazz singer Harvey Malaihollo.

SINGAPORE - What with her regular gigs, business ventures and four children, veteran jazz and R&B songbird Sheila Majid is one busy star.

But she will be the first to tell you that she is no superwoman.

"It's not easy, but I think time management is important. I don't like to leave things until tomorrow. I'm not a person who procrastinates. What I can do today I try to finish today because I don't know what's going to happen tomorrow," she says in a telephone interview from Kuala Lumpur.

The 48-year-old also credits the people around her for helping her get through each day.

"I have a lot of support system. I have my management, I have my maids at home, I delegate a lot, lah. I'm only human."

She will be back in Singapore to perform with Indonesian singer Harvey Malaihollo at the Esplanade Concert Hall, having last sung here at the Celebrate 2013 New Year's Eve countdown show at the Marina Bay Floating Stage.

The gig is a follow-up to a similar, sold-out show the pair did at Kuala Lumpur's Dewan Filharmonik Petronas concert hall in October.

Both singers will do their own set of songs, as well as duet together.

"I've always known his music even before I became a professional singer. I'm definitely a fan of his," Sheila says of Malaihollo, 51, one Indonesia's best-known jazz singers.

The two have sung together at many multi-act concerts in Indonesia and Malaysia over the years, but their first collaboration was when they recorded a duet, Begitulah Cinta (That's Love), for Malaihollo's album of the same name released in 2000.

"We have never performed it live until last October at the Kuala Lumpur show. We're going to sing it again in Singapore, of course," says the consummate entertainer.

"I think the fans will be waiting for that one song, it's our one and only duet together. It would be great if the fans would sing along with us. After all, the song is already 13 years old."

Like in most of her concerts, Sheila's band of musicians will be led by her husband of 10 years, music director Hasridz Murshim Hashim Abdullah, 43, better known as Acis. They have two children together, aged nine and six, while she has two older children, 22 and 19, from a previous marriage to music producer Roslan Abdul Aziz.

Her own set at the Esplanade will comprise her best-known songs, evergreen Malay radio hits such as Warna, Memori and Antara Anyer Dan Jakarta culled from the eight albums that she has released in the last 28 years.

"I always feel that as an audience, they want to hear the familiar songs because they can relate to them and enjoy the show more," she says, sounding friendly over the phone.

A third show with Malaihollo, this time in Jakarta, is in the works although no dates have been confirmed. A household name in the regional Malay music scene, Sheila is one of the rare Malaysian singers who have found success in Indonesia, alongside Siti Nurhaliza.

In 1987, she was the first non-Indonesian singer to be named Best Female R&B Artist in Indonesia's music awards show BASF, two years after she released her debut album Dimensi Baru, which went gold in Malaysia.

She is still the only Malaysian singer to date who has her albums sold in Japan. And she has performed there at events such as the Tokyo Music Festival in 1989 and the Okinawa Music Pageant in 1990.

Having won a string of accolades throughout her career, she most recently took home the Anugerah Khas Planet Muzik (Planet Muzik's Special Award) at regional Malay music awards ceremony Anugerah Planet Muzik in Singapore last year.

The entrepreneur also runs businesses, including a spa, Jentayu Spa, located in the posh Kuala Lumpur neighbourhood of Sri Hartamas; as well as music studio Akarkarya, located in a suburb of Selangor.

She is looking forward to celebrating her third decade in the music industry in 2015.

She says: "That will be one of the big projects that I will be busy with next year, to prepare for my 30th anniversary as a singer. It's still in the planning stages but I'll be sure to announce what I have in store when the time is right."

dinohadi@sph.com.sg

Book it

AN EVENING WITH SHEILA MAJID & HARVEY MALAIHOLLO Where: Esplanade Concert Hall When: Jan 14, 8pm Admission: $40, $70, $110 and $150 from Sistic (call 6348-5555 or go to www.sistic.com.sg)


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