Time on his side

Aizat Am­dan may be young, but he has mu­si­cal smarts and sub­stance be­yond his years.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FRONT PAGE - by AZHARiAH KAMiN en­ter­tain­ment@thes­tar.com.my

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.”

Soul search­ing:

‘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,

Uru­sanAiza­tAm­dan.

‘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.

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