Music

Published: Wednesday December 18, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday December 18, 2013 MYT 9:57:24 AM

Coasting and toasting

Shining star: Singer Hafiz Suip dominated the recent Anugerah Industri Muzik with three wins, including the coveted best album for Luahan Hati Anak Seni.

Shining star: Singer Hafiz Suip dominated the recent Anugerah Industri Muzik with three wins, including the coveted best album for Luahan Hati Anak Seni.

A milestone 20th edition was reached. But the sound of treading water at the Anugerah Industri Muzik awards was deafening.

TWENTY years ago, the first Anugerah Industri Muzik (AIM) took place at a hotel ballroom in Kuala Lumpur. There were 10 awards up for grabs and the event honoured artistes like Ning Baizura (then a teenager!), Jamal Abdillah, Iklim and Feminin for their achievements in the local music industry.

What started out as a modest industry initiative has evolved into a grand scale 20th anniversary event that took place at Stadium Putra, Bukit Jalil in Kuala Lumpur last weekend.

This year’s AIM also expanded its award categories to 20 – encompassing various music genres like rock, ethnic pop, nasyid and local English songs.

Last weekend, the big winner was Kuching, Sarawak-born Hafiz Suip with Luahan Hati Anak Seni taking home the prize for best album. The 23-year-old also won best male vocal performance for the song Bahagiamu Deritaku.

The former Akademi Fantasia Season 7 winner beat other favourites like Faizal Tahir and Hazama for the award. Luahan Hati Anak Seni also earned its producers a technical award for best engineered album. The best song award was presented to Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Yuna for her composition Lelaki.

Pop darling Shila Amzah thanked her fans in Mandarin when she accepted the Anugerah Kembara award.
Pop darling Shila Amzah thanked her fans in Mandarin when she accepted the Anugerah Kembara award.

This was Yuna’s second win in this category. In 2010, she won the same award for the song Dan Sebenarnya. Hopefully, she doesn’t have to face another fiasco like the one in 2011 when AIM retracted her best song win for Penakut. Back then, the award was later presented to Edry KRU for the song Sedetik Lebih sung by Anuar Zain.

In the best female vocal performance category, Dayang Nurfaizah pulled an upset over Datuk Siti Nurhaliza, Jaclyn Victor and Najwa Mahiaddin.

The singer took home the prize for her Live At Dewan Filharmonik rendition of Seandainya Masih Ada Cinta. Interestingly enough, in 2002, she lost best female vocal performance (in an album) with the same song to Siti. Not that it’s bad for Siti as she still holds the record for eight consecutive wins for that category from 1999 to 2006.

Dayang Nurfaizah also shared a win in the best vocal duo performance with Anuar Zain with the song Sedetik Lebih.

You can tell that underwhelming album sales has affected the local music industry. Previously singers had to compete for the best vocal award based on their performance in an album. Since 2009, the category has been axed and renamed best vocal performance (in a song).

It’s scary to think that in the future, perhaps the best vocal performance award will be based on shorter singing variants like ringtone or 30-second jingle.

There used to be best album categories for various music genres. No such thing these days! The album format has been taken over by a singles-based music industry.

At the recent AIM, there was just best song categories for the varied music genres.

Reggae outfit Salammusik won best hip hop song for Aku Pelat, with pumped up verses from rapper Eyza Bahra.

No doubting Salammusik’s crossover credentials, but it looks like the hip hop community has been whitewashed yet again at AIM. The recent My Hip Hop awards, arguably, offers a clearer picture of this booming local scene.

Elsewhere, Amy (Search fame) won best rock song for Di Bawah Gerbang Skaea. In the best local English song category, club deejays/producers Goldfish & Blink and featured artist Ze! won for In The House. Yes, Goldfish & Blink were part of the headlining action at the massive Thirst 2013 event last Saturday. They were represented by Ze! at the AIM awards.

Ze! had high hopes for the AIM as she accepted the award looking like an Academy Award statue in a skintight gold outfit.

Singer Ihab Ismail accepted the award for best pop ethnic song with Pahlawan Zafana. In a poignant speech, he thanked his mentor Noraniza Idris, the undisputed ethnic music queen. Best nasyid song went to perennial favourites Rabbani for Mawar Berdarah.

When it came to the best new artiste category, it seemed like the AIM had a sense of humour. Coming into the AIM, it’s fair to say that the mainstream audience has never heard of any ofthe nominees.

The relatively unknown artistes were given a chance to talk about their music genres (from indie to post hardcore) and even sing a little bit for the audience in a visume-style presentation. In the end, the award went to rocker Alex Subryn.

The AIM also recognised the achievements of pop singer Shila Amzah with the Anugerah Kembara Award. In 2012, Shila did the country proud by winning the Asian Wave competition in Shanghai, China.

The multi-lingual daughter of famous 1980s singer ND Lala even thanked her fans in Mandarin. She also delivered a powerful performance of her single Masih Aku Cinta.

Perhaps the most exciting prospect for the AIM and the local music industry as a whole, came from Anugerah Sri Wirama winner Tan Sri Tony Fernandes. The former managing director for Warner Music Malaysia was instrumentalin changing the music scene back in 1990s. He said in his acceptance speech that “back then, nobody said nasyid (pop) could work.”

He had the last laugh when Raihan sold a staggering three million copies worldwide with its debut album Puji-Pujian in 1996. He also mentioned that: “Mas Idayu, Amelina and Sheeda were the dangdut queens back then. They all hated each other, but we made a lot of money.” In the end, he announced plans for Tune Studios and Tune Records next year.

The AIM has 20 years of experience to merit itself as a prestigious local music award event. But the challenge is on to keep raising the standards instead of merely adjusting to what’s trending right now. With Fernandes announcing plans to shake up the music industry, perhaps we can be less cynical about award shows next time.

Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle, Entertainment, Hafiz Suip, Shila Amzah, AIM, Anugerah Industri Muzik

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