Malaysian singer-actress: "My conservative image does not mean the end of my career"

Popular Malaysian singer-actress Ziana Zain started wearing the hijab earlier this year.

But her two rooms - yes, rooms, not wardrobes - full of her glitzy and glamorous old outfits are still intact.

"Sentimental value! My hubby keeps asking me what I would do with them and I simply told him, 'One day you will understand,'" she said with a laugh.

His concern is valid. Ziana revealed that her clothes, bags and shoes have taken over two rooms in her home while her husband of 16 years makes do with just one corner of a shared wardrobe.

"In future, I can just ask my daughter, 'What colour and design would you like?' and ask her to take her pick," said Ziana, who has three sons and a daughter, who are aged between five and 14.

There were some who feared that her move to a more conservative image would affect her career.

Ziana, 46, who has been in the industry for more than two decades, asked herself: "Should I be?"

Among the highlights of her successful career include her Voice of Asia Best Singer win in Kazakhstan in 1995, accolades, six hit studio albums and roles in successful films like Sembilu (1994), Sembilu II (1995), Maria Mariana (1996) and Maria Mariana II (1998).

Months on, she has not regretted her decision to wear the hijab.

Ziana told The New Paper in a telephone interview from Kuala Lumpur: "Everything comes from Him and I have faith in that. Now, I finally feel complete and this feels right.

"I'm still me, Ziana is still Ziana. But I'm growing older and at a phase in life where I'm very comfortable with my age and where I am."

The pop singer, known for her impressive vocal range, admitted that she is now selective about the musical projects and jobs she takes on so that she can focus on her children.

Fans here can catch a glimpse of Ziana on Nov 21, when she performs at the annual Suria-Tabung Amal Aidilfitri Trust Fund charity show Sinaran Hati - Bersamamu Selalu.

Apart from meeting her fans, Ziana is looking forward to eating her favourite sup tulang (mutton bone marrow soup) from Beach Road.

"Just talking about it is making me drool," she said, adding that she eats the dish each time she visits.

She also hopes to get to know local artists like Iskandar Ismail, Sufie Rashid, Sarah Aqilah, Maiya Rahman and Didicazli, who will also perform at the event.

"I feel very motivated by the younger ones in the industry. How nice it would be to share our experiences with each other," she said.

NEW SINGLE

These days, Ziana is involved in selecting a single off her first album in 13 years, which she hopes to release by the end of this year.

"I have not finalised the composers and songwriters, but I look forward to working with (Malaysian singer-songwriter) Faizal Tahir and (Singaporean singer-songwriter) Awi Rafael."

"Sometimes, when you work with the younger ones, they have fresh ideas and you can try something new."

"I've heard many good things about Awi so I'm looking forward to meeting him," she said of the artist who has been making a name for himself in Malaysia.

For Ziana, it's all about finding the right songs and trying something different.

"There are countless songs out there, but I want something that just hits me."

"And then I can put my own touch to it," she said.

WHAT: Sinaran Hati - Bersamamu Selalu

WHEN: Nov 21, 8.30pm

WHERE: MediaCorp TV Theatre

TICKETS: $20 from First Lady at Tanjong Katong Complex or Home-Fix The D.I.Y. Store outlets at Causeway Point, #B1-41, and Bukit Panjang Plaza, #01-32. All proceeds will go to the Suria-Tabung Amal Aidilfitri Trust Fund.

ashikinr@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Oct 22, 2014.
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