Juara Lagu Unearths Another New Star.

“18-year-old newcomer Siti Nurhaliza is going into showbusiness and music observers predict 1997 will be her year.

DUBBED the voice of the ’90s by veteran singers and music critics in Malaysia, Siti Nurhaliza has her future mapped out.

The 18-year-old newcomer is going into showbusiness although her initial ambition was to become a police officer, just like her father.

“”I had my future all planned out then,”” she said. “”Although I love singing, I wanted to be a police officer, like my father. But now that I’ve won this trophy, I’m definitely going into singing.””

She was speaking to the Malaysian media after winning the top prize in Juara Lagu 1996 (1996 Hit Songs), an award which many thought would have gone to award-winning Ziana Zain, who last year alone had almost 10 awards to her name.

Juara Lagu 1996 was held in Kuala Lumpur last month. And barely one month before that, on Dec 24, Siti won the first Popular New Artiste award, organised for the Malay music industry.

Music observers and fans predict 1997 will be Siti’s award-winning year, like 1996 was Ziana’s.

Born in Kuala Lipis, Pahang, Siti, who completed her Form Five at Hugh Clifford Secondary School last year, received numerous recording offers after winning a singing contest in Malaysia, called Bintang HMI 1995.

She decided on Suria Records and her first album bearing her name, Siti Nurhaliza, received rave reviews and sold more than 50,000 copies.

Touted as a vocalist with loads of talent, she is also endowed with an excellent vocal range and control.

With that first album, Siti is set to join the league of talentime winners who have made good in the music industry, such as Rohana Jalil, Ramlah Ram and the late Sudirman.

“”When I took part in the competition, I was very nervous. But at present I feel that I am ready to establish a name for myself,”” said Siti, who sang Aishah’s hit song Camar Yang Pulang (The Tern Which Returned) in the competition held in 1995.

The shot at stardom has not turned Siti’s head. Weeks before her examination towards the end of last year, she rejected all offers of interviews and photo sessions to immerse herself in her books. And now that the ordeal is over, Siti, who is confident of getting good grades, is ready to put more effort into her singing.

“”It is a heavy responsibility,”” said Siti, who is aware that the music industry is banking on her to bring Malay music to greater heights.

“”I’ve got to work even harder, not just for myself, but for those in the industry. I would also not want to fail my fans,”” said the petite singer, who is fast becoming a media darling, with her charming disposition and irresistible smile.

Going into singing is a natural choice for the young talent, who grew up on a diet of traditional Malay songs and whose parents have a strong interest in Malay music.

“”I believe that if you can sing Malay traditional songs well, singing other songs would be no problem at all,”” said Siti, who hopes to revive interest in such songs among her younger listeners. Young singers today are more into pop and alternative music, she added, so that, very often, traditional songs were left on the shelf.

“”If I can contribute towards raising interest in Malay traditional songs, then I should,”” she said. — Translated from Berita Harian

Source: Life! Singapore Straits Times