Veteran singer Roy is Australian now, but Malaysia is always in his heart

  • Music
  • Wednesday, 27 Sep 2017

Royston Sta Maria is still active in the music scene. Photo: Royston Sta Maria

Singer-composer Royston Sta Maria, who made Perth his home 29 years ago, has refashioned seven of his old songs in an album titled, Songs Of Love & Inspiration, which are sung by different singers this time round.

“The album is a collection of my favourite songs that I’ve composed over the years. The songs were recorded in Malaysia, Singapore and Perth, Australia, and sung by singers and musicians from these countries.

“The album is currently being sold through several churches and organisations in Perth and all proceeds will be donated to the various charities,” said the singer, fondly known as Roy, during a phone interview from Perth.

The songs were put together and sent for re-mastering at the Gingerbread Studios in Singapore last year. An English version of Mulanya Di Sini, Roy’s most popular composition to date, has also been included. The song was performed at the closing ceremony of the recent SEA games held in Kuala Lumpur.

Songs Of Love & Inspiration will be officially launched on Oct 15 in Melaka through his former school St. Francis Institution to raise money for the school’s various charities and scholarships. The fund will be called Lift A Hand & Light A Heart charity fund.

“I am just happy to have my compositions put together on a CD. I want to share my music with a new generation of music lovers and more importantly to raise money for the less fortunate. God gave me the gift of music for which I made a wonderful career in my life,” he said.

Big break

At 19, he joined his father’s band as a bass guitarist and performed nightly at the New Straits View Hotel in Johor Baru. He left for Kuala Lumpur after two years and worked in the nightclub scene, namely Tomorrow Disco in Merlin Hotel, KL.

He used to perform with household names like composer Fauzi Marzuki, Nasser Abu Kassim, Francis Danker and Radha Krishnan. However, his big break came after he was offered a recording contract with EMI in 1982.

And it was at the hotel that Royston met the young and talented vocalist Francissca Peter and eventually formed the dynamic Roy & Fran. The duo churned many memorable hits like Siapa Dia Sebelum Daku, Tak Kenal Maka Tak Cinta and Bersama Pertemuan Ini.

Songs Of Love & Inspiration is an easy-listening album that consists of mostly love songs while the lyrics are about inspiration, believing in yourself, following your dreams and not give up in life even when things get tough. One of the songs on the album, Where Do We Go From Here is performed by Os Pombos. The song highlights the various land issues facing the Portuguese Settlement residents in Melaka. The issue raised in the song is close to their hearts.

“The development and high rise buildings are fast encroaching on the land of the Portuguese people who live nearby. The residents who are traditionally fisherman face an uphill battle to retain their land, culture and heritage. All the performers on this song grew up in the settlement too,” said Roy.

Unfulfilled dreams 

Roy now works at the Perth hotel and restaurant Miss Mauds and performs for private functions with his three-piece group called Eurasia.

“We do a lot of weddings for Malaysians who reside here and we meet a lot of tourists who come here for their holidays. I love to meet fellow Malaysians and talk about old times and keep in touch with the local scene,” said Roy who still has unfulfilled dreams.

At 65, Royston remains single.

“Yes I am still single and still hoping to meet my dream girl, except now sudah tua (already old) and getting more difficult to meet them. My other dream is to write another hit song like Mulanya Di Sini and I hope to do it before I turn 90,” he offered.

And he still misses Malaysia.

“I may be an Australian citizen now but I always tell people, ‘Hati saya masih orang Malaysia’ (deep down I’m a Malaysian). Thank God for Facebook and social media, I can keep in touch with the happenings back home. I do miss Malaysia especially when I hear our local songs, it reminds me of home,” said Roy.

Roy & Fran
Roy & Fran is best known for their hit Siapa Dia Sebelum Daku. Photo: Filepic

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