A last minute decision to hold a concert led to Datuk Siti Nurhaliza's Best Album win at the recent Anugerah Industri Muzik (AIM).
Siti says she briskly put together the Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza Unplugged concert in April last year after her prior commitments fell through.
“We only had two weeks to prepare,” Siti said, looking back in amazement while speaking to reporters after the awards show. “But working with a team of professionals, they didn’t compromise on quality.”
Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza Unplugged, which is a live recording of her two-hour concert at Istana Budaya in Kuala Lumpur, won Siti her seventh Best Album award. But there’s something special about holding the trophy this time.
“Winning Best Album for a live recording is very meaningful to me. A live album challenges your credibility more. For a studio album, you can keep recording and recording until you get things right,” shared the pop diva, who also won the award for 2014’s Fragmen.
“It truly tests your vocal abilities. You sing for two hours straight, you have to keep hitting the high notes and the (music) arrangements are different.”
Siti was the biggest winner of the 22nd AIM awards, nabbing four other trophies including Best Nasyid Song for Mikraj Cinta, Best Musical Arrangement In A Song and Best Vocal Performance In A Song (Female) for Menatap Dalam Mimpi and the fan-voted Choice Malaysian Singer.
Commenting on her best vocal performance win – her 13th one, mind you – she admitted to feeling the pressure to always do well in the category: “There is a big responsibility on my shoulders. To win is one thing, but then to defend your win again and again is not easy. You can’t think, ‘OK, I’ve won, I can relax now, I don’t have to improve anymore.’ I’m always practising.”
Siti's vocals were on full display that night too, as she delivered the stirring ballad Dirgahayu with Faizal Tahir.
Her duet partner was another big winner of the night, taking home Best Pop Song and Best Song for Sejati.
“It was really unexpected,” said Faizal. “With all due respect to the awards, I left after the performance as I still had some work to do in the office. Then I got a call and I had to make a U-turn.”
This year's Best Pop Song category was a highly competitive one, receiving some 17O submissions of the 720 overall submissions across all 16 categories.
Asked about the inspiration behind the spiritual anthem, Faizal said: “When I came up with the melody, I just imagined the lyrics having to do with the relationship between God and I.”
Meanwhile, US-based Malaysian singer Yuna, who has had a big year with her new album Chapters, was also recognised with the Anugerah Kembara for her international achievements.
“Local musicians can go far. There isn’t anyone like us out there. We are special. I hope (this award) inspires other people to have the courage to venture overseas in whatever they do,” said the Crush hitmaker who was previously given the same award in 2011.
Malaysian jazz queen Datuk Sheila Majid was also touched by AIM’s gesture. She was honoured with the Anugerah Sri Wirama or lifetime achievement award for her 32-year career.
“The toughest moment was when I was out of Roslan Aziz Productions and I was on my own. I had to learn to swim fast,” she recounted. “Ku Mohon was an album that I did on my own for the very first time. There was a lot of talk that the album would be terrible even before it came out. It made me feel so insecure.”
She proved her critics wrong when Ku Mohon clinched the Best Pop Album trophy while the self-penned title track won Best Song at AIM in 2000.
Besides honouring established acts, it was also a good night for first-time AIM nominees such as Reena Nicky who won Best Pop Ethnic Song for Joget Sulam Sakti, girl group DeFam who snagged Best Vocal Performance In A Song (Group) for #Supergirls and Akademi Fantasia 2015 runner-up Syamel who was named Best New Artiste.
Known as the Malaysian Grammys, AIM was held at Dewan Merdeka at Putra World Trade Centre.
List of winners:
Best New Artiste: Syamel
Best Vocal Performance In A Song (Male): Akim & The Majistret (Potret)
Best Vocal Performance In A Song (Female): Siti Nurhaliza
Best Vocal Performance In A Song (Group): DeFam (#Supergirls)
Best Duo/Collaboration In A Song: Misha Omar dan Hafiz Suip (Terimaku Seadanya)
Best Album Cover: Bahtera (Sekumpulan Orang Gila)
Best Album Recording: Panic Bird (Froya)
Best Musical Arrangement In A Song: Menatap Dalam Mimpi (Siti Nurhaliza)
Best Music Video: Not For Sale (Stacy)
Best Pop Ethnic Song: Joget Sulam Sakti (Reena Nicky)
Best Nasyid Song: Mikraj Cinta (Siti Nurhaliza)
Best Pop Song: Sejati (Faizal Tahir)
Best Rock Song: Mata Hati (Azlan & The Typewriter)
Best Hip-Hop Song: Janji (Altimet & Takahara Suiko)
Best Local English Song: Firefly (SonaOne)
Best Song: Sejati (Faizal Tahir)
Best Album: Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza Unplugged (Siti Nurhaliza)
Anugerah Kembara: Yuna
Anugerah Sri Wirama: Sheila Majid
Choice Malaysian Singer: Siti Nurhaliza