PETALING JAYA: Throughout her 12-year-long music career, Shila Amzah had always been second best until she won the inaugural Asian Wave reality TV singing contest in Shanghai.
“I have been doing the same thing since I was 10 and it seemed like I was going nowhere.
“I started thinking, What is wrong with me?'” said Shila in an interview.
In 2008, the then 18-year-old fell just short of the championship title in the reality singing competition One In A Million.
Her song, Beribu Sesalan, a collaboration with singers Ning Baizura and Jaclyn Victor, came in second at last year's Anugerah Juara Lagu.
In May, Shila competed in Mania, another singing contest, only to be eliminated along with three others, a week before the final concert.
The daughter of famous 80s era singer and actor ND Lala said that while she worked tirelessly at perfecting her singing, friends her age were making it big by performing in huge concerts and shows.
“I felt that I had not achieved that level of success that I wanted.
“I kept wondering when my time would come,” said Shila, whose real name is Nur Shahila Amir Amzah.
The chatty lass said that following her string of losses, she decided to stop chasing after popularity and instead chose to nurture her talent by delving into different genres and languages.
She also took to composing and producing her own songs.
“When I entered the Asian Wave reality contest, I did it for the experience without thinking of winning.
“So, when I actually won, my whole world just turned upside down!” said Shila, who serenaded the Chinese audience with songs like Forever Love by Wang Leehom and Zheng Fu by Na Ying.
The 22-year-old won a grand prize of RM5mil from Shanghai Entertainment Team Media Group, which would be used to develop her into a popular Asian act.
It had been announced that Shila would be the opening act for Malaysian singer Eric Moo during his Beijing tour in November. Wang, a Mandopop heartthrob, had also expressed interest in collaborating with Shila.
Shila, who learned Mandarin from preschool until Year Three, said her managers were still going over the details of her contracts but promised to drop a new single by the year-end.
“Wow! Oh my God, this is all really happening!” Shila said as she updated reporters on her music career. “Now, I am grateful that I didn't get my chance then because I don't think I would have been ready for it. It is all God's timing, I guess.”