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Sunday September 15, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Monday September 16, 2013 MYT 11:40:36 AM
by azhariah kamin
Still rocking on: Singer Ella has a lot going for herself, including a concert with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra and a new album in the offing.
With back-to-back music projects, Ella is raring to go.
THREE years ago, I was among her die-hard fans who filled up Panggung Sari at Istana Budaya to the brim for her two-night Ella & the National Symphony Orchestra concert.
Since then, apart from her much talked-about marriage last year, there was hardly any news on Malaysia’s rock queen Ella.
But for me, her song, Permata Biru is always played in the car when I am driving my five-year-old niece as it is her favourite song. It is just amazing to see that three decades later, her songs can still have a strong impact on young and old minds alike.
Ella’s appeal transcends ages.
So, how many of us can still relate to Ella? Many, I bet. At one time, some of us might have even tried to emulate her style ... long flowing hair, her trademark white T-shirt and blue jeans ... she was the epitome of femininity and rock chic.
Now at 47, the happily married Ella, who just celebrated her first wedding anniversary to Firefly pilot Azhar Ghazali in July, has a lot going for herself.
If that’s not enough to keep the lovable singer on cloud nine, Ella has also signed up with Universal Music and is in the midst of compiling materials for her upcoming album.
And on top of that, on Sept 21, Ella is set to rock the Dewan Filharmonik Petronas (DFP) as she is slated to perform alongside Mus of May and guitarist Man Kidal, together with Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra in the MPO Rocks concert as part of its DFP Seni Festivals.
Known for her trademark giggles, Ella was in her blissful mood when contacted by Star2 on Wednesday for a chat. Despite under house rest after undergoing an appendicitis surgery only a couple of weeks back, Ella’s mind is on overdrive with so many projects lined up. “Yes, I’m really excited now that things have been finalised between my management team and Universal Music. So, I can share this good news with my fans,” said Ella.
In the past three decades, Ella has been with two record companies – Warner Music and EMI. So, she’s excited for a change of scenery, so to speak. Ella also added that her team has been in discussion with Universal for the past few months.
“We (Universal and herself) haven’t actually sat down together to discuss my upcoming album or plans for my singing career with the new company.” However, Ella would like to offer something different for her fans this time around.
“I would love to give something fresh and new to my fans who have been with me for more than 30 years.” She also said that she has a long list of composers and songwriters in mind whom she would like to work with.
“But I’m taking my time in trimming down the list as I can’t possibly work with all of them,” said the singer who has performed in Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, China, Hong Kong and United States throughout her career.
During the peak of her career, Ella was the bestselling female artiste, who was able to shift more than 350,000 copies of her album.
Her first solo album, Pengemis Cinta, released in 1988, went platinum and made her one of the most popular female artistes in Malaysia.
After that successful album, Ella was signed up by EMI Records in 1992. Soon after, Ella released her fourth solo album, ELLA 30110, which became an instant success (giving us hits like Sembilu and Layar Impian).
The success of ELLA 30110 enabled Ella to employ the expertise of Americans for her fifth album. She became the first Malaysian artiste to record a full album in the United States. Titled Ella USA, 350,000 units were sold when released, making it Malaysia’s highest selling album for a female artiste.
Her last solo album was Rama-Rama (Butterfly) in 2007. Last year, Ella released a new single, Menyanyilah La La La composed by Taja from Meet Uncle Hussain.
With almost 30 albums to her credit and decades of singing experience, Ella really wants her new album to be worth waiting for. And now with a new record label, Ella, whose real name is Norzila Aminuddin, is raring to go.
Touching on her personal life, Ella said that her life is not much different now that she is married, except that she feels contented and more at peace.
“My husband has been very supportive of my singing career. But whenever he sees me stressed out or worried, he would say, ‘Chill baby...chill!’,” said Ella before bursting into a giggle.
And whenever Azhar is not flying, the couple spends time by jamming together as he plays a bit of drums and guitar.
“We love playing music together. In fact, I have been thinking about getting my husband to play on my new record. The track can be a special bonus for my fans. But I have to persuade him as he is very shy,” said Ella laughing.
But first, Ella has her mind on the upcoming performance at DFP.
“I haven’t done much in terms of training my vocals as I’m still recorvering from my surgery. But this weekend, I will be getting my musical notes and arrangements, so I can start rehearsing.
“I have to say I am nervous but excited at the same time.
“This is going to be my first time performing with a 75-piece orchestra. It’s going to be an exciting experience,” said Ella.
“I want Malaysian rock fans to have a great time during the concert and I know for sure that Mus, Man Kidal and I will give our best on the night. With a 75-piece ensemble and five top-notch sessionists backing us up, it’ll be a blast!” she added.
Ella, together with Mus and Man Kidal, are set to perform in the MPO Rocks concert at Dewan Filharmonik Petronas on Sept 21. Tickets are priced at RM150, RM200, RM250 and RM300 and can be purchased via telephone booking at 03-2051 7007, fax at 03-2051 7077 and e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more details, visit www.mpo.com.my
Ella through the years
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Entertainment, Ella, Rock, Singer, Album, Universal Music, MPO Rocks
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