Time on his side
Aizat Amdan may be young, but he has musical smarts and substance beyond his years.
With creative savvy and a broader sonic palette on his new album, Aizat Amdan, 21, is a young force in the music scene.
THERE is no stopping the young and talented singersongwriter Aizat Amdan these days.
For someone who started from humble beginnings as one of the students of Akademi Fantasia 5 in 2007, Aizat, as he is popularly known, has acquired recognition as a solo artiste.
The 21-year-old lad, if you look at his monthly schedule, is a much sought-after performer. He has also established himself as an independent recording artiste with credibility and a growing fan-base.
Ironically, Aizat was eliminated towards the end of the Akademi Fantasia 5 show. However, by looking at how strongly he’s going in his career at the moment, Aizat didn’t need to win the show after all.
Granted, he was introduced to the masses through the Akademi Fantasia franchise but it was his substantial talent and songwriting pedigree that propelled him further ahead in the industry.
Compared to his peers, Aizat has that extra edge in the music scene. Not only does he sing well, his skills in composing and writing lyrics have further helped elevate him in the public eye.
Earlier in January, Aizat’s rendition of Pergi, composed and penned by Pete Teo and Amran Omar was named Best Song of the Year at TV3’s Juara Lagu Ke-24 and his own composition Kau Dan Aku took the Best Performance award at the same event.
If that’s not enough, pop songstress Datuk Siti Nurhaliza even included Aizat in her Konsert Satu Suara held at Istana Budaya in February. And seriously, how many young performers have been given the honour of performing at Istana Budaya?
And in the first week of the Hari Raya celebrations last month, this young man appeared and entertained with his brand of music on various TV programmes such as Akustika alongside Yuna and Noh of Hujan on TV3, Geng Aizat on TV9 and Konsert Satu Suara on Astro – just to mention a few.
“I’ve been so blessed. And I’m grateful for all the support given to me,” said the affable Aizat in an interview at his office in Kuala Lumpur recently.
“It has been good so far and I’m really grateful for everything.”
He is casual and comfortable in conversation, always eager to talk about music and the firm belief he has in the Malaysian scene. He might be a relative newcomer to the music scene, but this lad has big plans.
“At the moment, my priority is to ensure my fans enjoy my latest album, Urusan Aizat Amdan,” said Aizat, referring to his sophomore album which was launched in July.
What makes this album extra special for him was the fact that he was involved in the production and recording process every step of the way.
“With my brother Anas, I composed the songs and produced the album, under my own label Kasi Gegar Entertainment.”
Understandably, Aizat is over the moon as this is his first full CD that is produced by his own company Kasi Gegar. His debut effort, Percubaan Pertama in 2008, was a Kasi Gegar/Universal Music Malaysia collaboration.
The album spawned hits like Hanya Kau Yang Mampu and Sahabat. As a career start, Aizat found his songwriting feet by composing three out of eight songs on the debut (Lagu Kita, Cintai Diriku and Selamat Tinggal Akhirnya).
“My debut was produced by Mujahid Abdul Wahab and also had songs written by Indonesian composer Taufik. But my second album is my very own and it is totally different compared to the debut. The whole process (of recording and producing) has taken me more than a year but I’m pleased with the outcome.”
Urusan Aizat Amdan was recorded at both The Ark Studios and Greenhouse Studios in the Klang Valley.
“The songs on this album represent the journey we went through and we try to tell how we feel about certain things and issues. Each song has its own story to tell. If my debut album told love stories, this time it’s about positive messages and also finding one’s true self,” he explained.
“I also realised that some listeners may relate more to love songs and ballads. But I do want to evolve musically. I guess that’s the risk I’m willing to take with this album.”
Far from naïve, this album is as much about soul-searching as it is a musical statement. With seven sublime tunes delivered in an understated yet accomplished manner, Aizat sounds like an artiste on top of his game.
Backed by imaginative arrange- ments from a rock outfit and stringladen support, the new material is mature beyond the singer’s years.
“ Urusan Aizat Amdan is an album with a message. Since the first album, I have always wanted to write songs about humanity, issues such as social illness and abandoned babies and not forgetting your roots.”
Whether folk-based invention or jazzy twists and turns, his Malay tunes such as Mana Oh Mana, Sungai Lui, Susun Silang Kata, Senyum and Erti Hari Ini offer subtle and beautiful contrasts throughout.
Credit his songwriting, they never sound trapped in a tired formula.
“I know that love songs will stand out and get attention from the listeners but I really wanted to do something different with my music and I really hope the message gets across. I know that I’m not going to change the world but at least I did my part.”
Kuala Lumpur-born Aizat also
added that initially, they planned to record 10 songs for the album but decided to keep it at seven tracks for many reasons.
“The band and I spent more time on the seven songs and kept trying to make them as perfect as they could be.
“Basically, for each song, my brother Anas and I worked on each of them before we jammed with the band members (Miz on guitars, Pito on bass, Ruvi on drums and Anas on rhythm guitars). But at the end of the day, Anas and I called the shots.”
That’s not all. Urusan Aizat Amdan also features Aizat’s first attempt at composing English songs – Years
From Now and Emotions. As a bold move, the album also opens with Years From Now – a Radiohead-ish tune muscled up with matinee movie strings. It is quite a head-turner, to say the least.
“This is my first attempt at writing English songs ... Years From Now is about how we look too far ahead that we forget about being in the moment while Emotions is a deep song which talks about love and how it makes you take the good with the bad,” explained Aizat.
“Guess I’m just a guy who loves music and will try to sell my music to the masses,” he noted about the crossover appeal of such tunes.
Lyrically, Aizat is a fine tunesmith himself but he readily admits he admires works by local talents such as Noh of Hujan and Malique formerly of Too Phat. Both are arguably the country’s best contemporary songwriters – from the indie and hip hop scene respectively.
“I admire Noh and Malique a lot because not only are they really talented but they are both also daring enough to be different in making their music.”
Aizat also lent his talents in composing a theme song for a new animated movie, Firefly. But Malay tunes are never far from his heart.
“Like my past album, the theme of this album is about love, only a deeper form of love,” he added.
Be it relationships, the human condition or fragments of his youth, Aizat captures them in his songs.
He was also inspired to write a tune dedicated to Sungai Lui (Hulu Langat in Selangor) after being there several times. The dreamy number with an epic build up closes out his new album.
“ Sungai Lui is currently my favourite song from the labum,” admitted Aizat adding that as a city boy, he never had the chance to live the kampung life. But after a few visits to Sungai Lui, he was amazed by the simplicity of life and the beautiful environment there.
In Mana Oh Mana, Aizat touches on the topic of best friends and the opposite sex while in Senyum, he writes about getting up and being stronger each time we fall. Another catchy folk-driven song,
Susun Silang Kata, takes a swipe at those who do not appreciate what they have.
Now that Urusan Aizat Amdan has gained favourable reviews and radio support, Aizat also plans to have an album tour. Should everything go well, Aizat will be travelling around Malaysia to promote his album starting with Sabah and Sarawak.
“It has always been my dream to have a tour.”
Aizat, who constantly enjoys making music with his band, recorded four English songs during the recent fasting month.
“Who knows, we might be able to use it for my next project. We did a lot of experimenting with the songwriting and composing ... they were more psychedelic in sound.”
He laughed at the prospect of playing up the rock star image with his band. Instead he said: “It is team work. I didn’t do anything alone. I have always had people by my side.”
He also added that in the future, fans will see him more with his band on stage rather than as a solo act. “I love the idea of performing with a live band. I’m a band singer.”
“My music is not about me alone but also about my band members as well,” said Aizat who is into Morrissey, Johnny Cash, Paul McCartney and Richard Ashcroft.
Aizat winds down the interview by chatting fondly about his love for Britpop and his plans to further his studies in music at Thames Valley University in England by the middle of next year.
He also mentions venturing more into composing film scores and eventually building a recording studio in his office in Ampang, Selangor. He gets lost in the long “to do” list, but recovers just in time to remind us to “take one day at a time, just enjoy the moment.”
‘If my debut album told love stories, this time it’s about positive messages and also finding one’s true self,’ says Aizat Amdan on his new album,
‘Music for me is not about being selfish and I don’t want to go on stage on my own at any time,’ insists Aizat.