Celebrity cousins Naim Daniel and Sissy Imann want to celebrate Raya as a family

Naim Daniel and Sissy Imann are ready to celebrate Hari Raya in their own special way. Photo: Azman Ghani/The Star; Wardrobe: Naim wears Prima Valet, Sissy wears Nona Kebaya 2.0 by Luxe Cosry

After missing out on several months’ worth of quality time with their loved ones due to work, celebrity cousins Naim Daniel and Sissy Imann are ready to make up for lost time by celebrating Hari Raya with their family.

“Hari Raya is a time for family, friends and loved ones. It’s also a time for us to take a step back from our busy schedule to recharge and focus on the people that matter,” singer- actor Naim said.

The 25-year-old, along with his cousin Sissy, were all smiles as they shared with StarLifestyle their plans for the festive occasion.

During our 30-minute conversation, Naim said that the first thing he does whenever the celebration draws closer is to return to his hometown in Seremban, Negri Sembilan.

For this year’s celebration, however, he wants to try something different.

“I want to celebrate Hari Raya together with my family, Sissy and her family this year. Growing up, the best thing about Hari Raya is cooking and eating together with my family.

“I want to share that joy with Sissy and her loved ones too, so I’m going to invite her family and my family over to my place to bake and eat lemang,” he added.

Naim earned a spot in the Malaysia Book Of Records after becoming the first singer to perform live on stage while hanging upside-down. Photo: Azman Ghani/The StarNaim earned a spot in the Malaysia Book Of Records after becoming the first singer to perform live on stage while hanging upside-down. Photo: Azman Ghani/The Star

As for singer Sissy, she described this year’s celebration as one that’s “extra special” for her.

Apart from having more quality time with her loved ones, the Autumn In Wales star is excited to share with the public, for the first time, Raya photos of her and Naim as a family.

“Before Famili Duo, no one knew we were cousins, so I never posted any Raya photos of us together.

“I’m just so excited to spend more time with my family after months of back-to-back jobs. I’m also looking forward to the food we’ll be having this Hari Raya, especially lemang which is one of my favourites,” she said.

Talking to the duo in person, it’s hard not to notice the strong familial bond they share – especially with the way they kept teasing and praising one another throughout our conversation.

That’s why it came as a surprise when Naim revealed that he never knew Sissy was his cousin until 2019.

“At the time, we were shooting a special slot for Anugerah Juara Lagu (AJL) and our parents were there. After the shoot, both our parents were having this really long conversation about each other’s personal life and things like that.

“The next thing we knew, Sissy and I were related. When we found out we were cousins, we were so happy because we’ve known each other for so long and have worked together so many times,” he said.

Sissy and Naim competed in the hit competition series Family Duo. Photos: HandoutSissy and Naim competed in the hit competition series Family Duo. Photos: Handout

Despite being related, it wasn’t until Naim and Sissy joined the second season of singing reality show, Famili Duo, in 2022 that everyone else found out they are cousins.

Sharing about his experience working with Sissy in the competition, Naim said: “When it comes to work stuff like planning our next step and preparing for our performances, the stress will always be there.

“But when you’re working with a family member, it feels different because there’s a balance in the working atmosphere. Whenever I’m working with Sissy on something, it’s always a lot more fun because we’re related and she gets me.

“For me, performing is about having fun onstage because if you’re not enjoying your own performance, chances are the audiences aren’t enjoying it either.”

To usher in the festive season, Naim and Sissy are set to perform in Famili Duo Raya – which will air this Sunday at 9pm on TV3.

While the celebrity pair didn’t disclose much about their performance, Naim did mention that it’s going to be “something huge” as another family member will be joining them on stage.

Weathering difficult moments

Naim and Sissy made headlines in January after emerging as one of the four finalists at Famili Duo. While the vocal powerhouses said they had an “enjoyable experience”, they admit that getting to the finals was a mentally challenging journey, especially for Sissy.

In January, the singer broke down in tears after her performance with Naim received harsh criticism from jury member Mas Idayu.

Disappointed in herself, Sissy confined herself to her room for days and would only come out for meals.

At one point, she also considered cancelling the release of her debut album, Sissy Imann, but quickly decided against it thanks to the support of her family members.

Sissy is the first female artiste in Malaysia to record an album at London's famed Abbey Road Studios. Photo: Azman Ghani/The StarSissy is the first female artiste in Malaysia to record an album at London's famed Abbey Road Studios. Photo: Azman Ghani/The Star

“Seeing how patient they are with my progress, I didn’t want to disappoint them by letting all my efforts go to waste. Because, if they believe in me, then I’ve got to believe in myself,” she said, adding that her decision was also influenced by her love for music.

“I believe that when you truly put passion into something, even if you get sidetracked because of a bump in the road, you will always find a way back to the right path.”

Sissy’s debut album was a success. Within two hours of its release, all 1,000 copies of the album were snapped up.

With the help of local record producer AG Coco, who currently resides in London, Sissy recorded her album at the city’s famed Abbey Road Studios, which is synonymous with the legendary work of The Beatles, who recorded 190 of its 210 songs at the studio.

This marks the first time a female artiste from Malaysia has recorded there.

When asked about her experience working in London, the singer couldn’t contain her excitement as she praised the work ethics of the sound engineers there.

“Something that surprised me when I first stepped into the studio was how well-prepared the sound engineers were.

“Before I arrived, they had already done their research, so they knew who I was and what to expect during recording sessions.

“This helped speed up the recording process because whenever I step into the studio, everything is already arranged in accordance with my vocal capabilities.

“I’m just so impressed by how thorough their research is and how it’s such a common practice there,” she said.

During our chat, the Benar Ku Tak Bohong hitmaker also reiterated that she’s on good terms with Mas Idayu, and that she bears no hard feelings towards her despite the harsh comments.

“Contrary to what people think, Naim and I consider Mas Idayu to be like a mum to us throughout the whole journey in Famili Duo.

“I learned from her that every good thing comes with its challenges. If you want to improve, you need to go through various struggles to find what you’re lacking in and work on that.

“Keeping this mindset has helped me become more patient with my work these days,” she said.

A risk taker

Just like his cousin, Naim is showcasing his versatility as an artiste through his bold and creative performances.

Last month, he earned a spot in the Malaysia Book Of Records after becoming the first singer to perform live on stage while hanging upside-down – a groundbreaking but also risky move.

The Lecturerku Oppa actor told us that taking risks is just who he is.

“For this particular performance, I was supervised by a team of professionals.

“I did consider backpedalling at one point but then I remembered that when it comes to art, you can’t be stagnant. If you want to be remembered, you must step out of your comfort zone and do something extraordinary.

“I hope through my performances, I can inspire the youth to be brave to express themselves and try new things in whatever they do,” he said.

Speaking of freely expressing oneself, Naim has been very vocal about his stance on several subject matters on social media.

In August 2021, the singer called out insurance agents who were using the death of Malaysian artiste Siti Sarah – who passed away from Covid-19 – to talk about the importance of having insurance.

The same month also saw him denouncing anti-vaxxers as being “shameless” for wanting to enjoy the privileges of those who are vaccinated.

Naim said that as someone with a large following on social media, he feels a sense of responsibility to speak up on important matters regarding politics and other social causes.

“I believe that in life, we need to have a stand. Sometimes, staying silent just adds fuel to the fire.

“Of course, whatever we say online comes with a price. Some will agree and some will disagree.

“I too have my flaws and have been criticised for it. In situations like these, I just try my best to take it as a test in life and move on,” he added.

 Naim and Sissy are set to perform in 'Famili Duo Raya' – which will air April 23 at 9pm on TV3. Photo: HandoutNaim and Sissy are set to perform in 'Famili Duo Raya' – which will air April 23 at 9pm on TV3. Photo: Handout

On his own terms

Since kickstarting his acting career in the 2008 web drama, Jelma, Naim has come a long way.

In 2013, he was nominated for Best Child Actor at the 25th Malaysian Film Festival for his performance in the fantasy movie, 29 Februari.

The multi-faceted star later launched his music career in 2018 with his debut single, Sekali Lagi, and made a name for himself in 2020 after emerging as the champion of AJL34 with his song, Sumpah.

Naim’s acting career hit new heights this year following the success of the 10-episode series, Projek: High Council.

Reflecting on his journey since entering the entertainment industry 15 years ago, the artiste is proud of how much he has developed as a person.

“When I first started out, I always found it difficult to adjust between my celebrity and personal life.

“I was always been a people-pleaser growing up... always struggling to express different sides of myself to different people.

“Now that I’m 25, I have met and worked with so many incredible people from all walks of life.

“These experiences shaped me into the person I am today. Thanks to these experiences, both positive and negative, I learned to be more fair with my emotions.

“I started focusing on the little yet meaningful things around me and thought about what I really want in life... to say ‘no’ to certain things and to do things on my terms without the pressure of constantly pleasing others,” he said.

Sissy Imann and Naim Daniel will appear in Famili Duo Raya on April 23 at 9pm on TV3. You can also catch Naim on Melodi on April 23 and 30 at 12.30pm on TV3.

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