Siti wants to connect with fans

In her early days as a singer, you might have described Siti Nurhaliza as "vanilla".

The public has always known Siti as a sweet, humble star of great talent but little else when it comes to her personality.

Nearly two decades on, the Malaysian diva offers a stark contrast.

One would not imagine the younger Siti being game or bold enough to take on Jennifer Lopez's and Pitbull's club hit On The Floor like she did at the Celebrate 2012 countdown show and the 18th Asian Television Awards last year.

Perhaps, fans can see this side of Siti for themselves when she performs here on April 12 at The Star Theatre, The Star Performing Arts Centre.

Her long-awaited show will be her first solo concert here after six years.

Fans are also celebrating the fact that in recent years, Malaysia's pop darling has given them opportunities to get to know her better.

These days, the 35-year-old treats adoring fans to glimpses of her daily life on Twitter and Instagram.

"I want to connect better with my fans so that they don't only hear about me when a newspaper article comes out," she told The New Paper in a telephone interview from Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Siti, who rose to fame after emerging the champion of Malaysia's reality show Bintang HMI in 1995, frequently shares "selfies" as well as photos of her husband, her family, work and food online.

"My main intention is to share my life with my fans - it's all for them. It's a good way for me to interact with them, for me to personally respond to them and I think it's great. I want them to know I'm a regular person, too. Maybe they want to know, 'What is Siti cooking today?' or 'What is Siti up to today?'," she said in Malay.

But sharing on such a public platform has also landed Siti in trouble. Last year, she posted a photo of her husband's bare shoulder with the caption "Dato K is 'back'!!" as he was recovering from a motorcycle accident in New Zealand in 2012.

Datuk Seri Khalid Mohamad Jiwa, or Datuk K, 55, sustained injuries on his shoulder, neck and hand after he lost control of his Harley Davidson motorcycle.

Naysayers criticised the photo, calling it inappropriate. But that has not stopped her from continuing to post photos of her husband whom she married in 2006 in an affair dubbed "Wedding of the Year".

Most recently, she had posted photos of his birthday celebration and one of him in a protective body suit with the caption, "Dia 'ironman' saya" (He's my Ironman in Malay). "People will always have an opinion when it comes to the online platform. But I remind myself to never react without thinking, never take it to heart and never get angry. Sometimes they just want a reaction," she said.

Siti also shares a slice of her personal experience in her upcoming album, slated for release before June.

She has released 15 studio albums to date, including one in English in 2011.

The new one is a highly personal album that has a "modern pop" sound influenced by current trends.

"It will include songs that tap on my personal experiences so that fans can learn of the challenges I have faced in life and perhaps, learn or be inspired by them," she said.

An example is her latest single Jaga Dia Untuk Ku, written to capture her emotions after her husband's motorcycle crash.

During the trying time, the loving wife dropped everything to care for him, even cancelling a concert in Indonesia.

"It's about the emotions and experiences involved and I want fans to know what I went through and what motivated me and spurred me on. No matter what everyone else's challenges are, I'm sure people can relate," she said of the song.

COPYCAT?

Unfortunately, Jaga Dia Untuk Ku was recently slammed for "copying" Rihanna's single, Russian Roulette, off her 2009 album Rated R .

Siti has denied the allegation.

"They are two different songs. I listened to Russian Roulette for the first time after I heard the news - it's not the same. Maybe the beats are similar but the melody is entirely different," she said.

"I choose to look at this incident in a positive light - at least it gets people listening to my song," she said, laughing.

Jaga Dia Untuk Ku is part of the set list for her upcoming concert here.

Asked if she has any surprises up her sleeves, she teased: "I might collaborate with Singapore's very own artist.

"I will also sing a medley of songs by legendary Singapore musicians, but with my own spin on them, of course. (Rock bands) Sweet Charity, Black Dog Bone, maybe... we'll see!.

Book it:

DATO' SITI NURHALIZA LIVE IN SINGAPORE 2014

Where: The Star Theatre, The Star Performing Arts Centre

When: April 12, 8pm

Admission: Tickets are available at $88, $128, $158, $178 and $198 from Sistic at www.sistic.com.sg or call 6348-5555

ashikinr@sph.com.sg

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