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Friday September 5, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Friday September 5, 2014 MYT 8:43:57 AM
by william k.c. kee
Nightingale: Penang-born songstress Bihzhu is blessed with a rich, soulful voice and a whole lot of heart. - Photo by Prakash Daniel Photography
With a second album on the way, Bihzhu continues to celebrate love, beauty and life’s most treasured moments.
BLESSED with a rich, soulful voice, Penang-born singer-songwriter Foo Bihzhu has a whole lot of heart.
Better known in the local music scene simply as Bihzhu, she has the ability to enchant her audience effortlessly, whether it’s an intimate acoustic concert or a music festival.
After delivering rapturous performances at Urbanscapes and Penang Island Jazz Festival, Bihzhu can be seen next at the inaugural Yayasan Sime Darby Arts Festival.
To be held on Sept 13 and 14, the festival – produced in collaboration with KLPac – is a community project that brings together artistes from the Klang Valley and beyond to showcase the breadth of the buzzing Malaysian arts scene.
What can audiences expect from her at the arts festival?
“They can definitely expect a lot of good vibes and loving energy from us on stage,” chirped Bihzhu.
“I’m also testing out arrangements for some new songs, so they will be getting previews!”
It has been a busy year for Bihzhu, who made her thespian debut in Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along in May.
“To be honest, I was initially quite intimidated,” confessed Bihzhu, who turns 31 in October.
“But Pan Productions (which staged the musical) runs a tight ship and there was genuine camaraderie between the cast and crew, so it was an incredibly enjoyable experience.
“Many people have told me I am fortunate to be making my debut in a Sondheim musical and I can’t say they’re wrong. It was so fun I think I might be open to doing more musicals in the future!
Bihzhu’s accolades include Song of the Year winner at the 2013 Voice Independent Music Awards in Kuala Lumpur and Vox-Pop Winner in the Cabaret Song category at the United States-based 12th Independent Music Awards.
In July 2011, Bihzhu was selected as one of the featured artists in Julie’s Biscuit’s nationwide Share The Love campaign.
Her contribution was the infectious and smile-inducing folk-pop gem, The Heart Way. It was chosen for a Penang Global Tourism ad featuring famed shoe couturier Datuk Jimmy Choo on the Asian Food Channel, that aired for 14 weeks in 10 different countries.
In October the same year, she released her debut album Nightingale Tales.
Combining elements of jazz, soul, reggae and pop, the album sees Bihzhu celebrating love, beauty and life’s most treasured moments.
“There were so many great responses to the music, and I am grateful for every one of them! I’ve felt very proud sharing the album with a worldwide audience.
“People have said that the music is uplifting and makes them feel good. As a musician, I guess you can’t ask for more than that!”
Last year, she initiated the #CribConcert series, a monthly show that paired the intimacy of a house concert with the technology of live streaming.
It saw Bihzhu pairing with different guest artistes, and they would stage a private concert from the homes of popular radio deejays Kavin Jay, PM Wang and others.
In regard to her ongoing projects, Bihzhu enthused: “I am really excited about my upcoming performance at the Jarasum International Jazz Festival in South Korea in early October.
“Hopefully that will be the beginning of greater things to come!”
She is also hard at work on a new single, which will be released by end of the year. It is part of her second album, due out next year.
“It is currently in the early pre-production stage. I am very excited to be working with my trusty partners, Alex Tan of Starmount Studio and Savy Ho of Bluebee Tunes again. As for the genre, I’ve always been an advocate of ‘heart music’, no matter what it sounds like. So this will be me continuing on that journey.”
Bihzhu can next be seen at Yayasan Sime Darby Arts Festival, to be held at KLPac, Kuala Lumpur on Sept 13 and 14. She plays on both days at Pentas 2 stage. Admission is free. For more info about the festival, visit www.yayasansimedarby.com or www.klpac.org.
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