Waves of en­cour­age­ment

Get a be­hind-the-scenes look at how the up­lift­ing SEA Games theme song, Bangkit Ber­sama, was cre­ated.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Music - By KEN­NETH CHAW en­ter­tain­ment@thes­tar.com.my is a song for ev­ery­one, not just ath­letes. — Pho­tos: Hand­outs

DID you know Dayang Nur­faizah used to play ten­nis?

“I come from an ac­tive fam­ily. My fa­ther used to teach chil­dren to play ten­nis. As a kid, every week­end, he would take me to play ten­nis but some­how (I never caught on),” the 36-year-old singer re­calls.

“Look­ing back, I do re­gret not learn­ing prop­erly. If I had just stuck on, I would be able to play to­day.”

What did stick on, in­stead, was her love for singing. The Sarawak-na­tive took her first step into the mu­sic in­dus­try when she par­tic­i­pated in a singing com­pe­ti­tion in 1996 at age 15, and has never looked back ever since. “Singing is my sport,” she says with a laugh.

The Separuh Mati Ku Bercinta hit­maker is field­ing ques­tions from Star2 about her lat­est project – per­form­ing the theme song for the up­com­ing 29th South-East Asian Games (SEA Games), Bangkit Ber­sama (which is also the slo­gan for the sport­ing event). The SEA Games will take place be­gin­ning Aug 19.

While Dayang isn’t a sports per­son, as a singer, she can re­late to some of the sac­ri­fices ath­letes go through ... some­thing she keeps in mind when singing Bangkit Ber­sama.

“I re­mem­ber how my friends could go and hang out af­ter school but I had to sac­ri­fice that time (for my mu­sic). I felt (frus­trated) at the time, but I’m happy I chose this path to­day,” she shares.

“It’s the same with ath­letes. They have to sac­ri­fice their time, es­pe­cially time away from their fam­ily, and do their coun­try proud.”

And like the life of an ath­lete, Dayang has had her share of ca­reer highs and lows. For many years, af­ter the suc­cess of smash hit Se­andainya Masih Ada Cinta in 2001, Dayang couldn’t find an equally suc­cess­ful fol­low-up. But the pow­er­house vo­cal­ist never gave up. In­stead she churned out al­bum af­ter al­bum.

Her hard work fi­nally paid off when she earned three back-to-back Best Vo­cal Per­for­mance tro­phies at the Anugerah Juara Lagu (AJL) for bal­lads Di Pintu Syurga, Tak Per­nah Meny­erah and Le­laki Ter­a­gung be­tween 2015 and 2017. Le­laki Ter­a­gung also picked up the high­est award of the night, Best Song.

“When I was record­ing Bangkit Ber­sama, I thought to my­self what I have achieved to­day, and how I got my start slowly,” she says.

She adds the op­por­tu­nity to sing the SEA Games theme song is a huge hon­our and a once-in-a-life­time op­por­tu­nity.

Datuk Ramli MS, who com­posed the song, shares how Dayang was cho­sen to sing: “I rec­om­mended a few artistes to the Min­istry Of Youth and Sports and Dayang was one of them. The min­istry even­tu­ally chose her.

“Although I’ve never worked with Dayang in the stu­dio be­fore, I rec­om­mended her be­cause I’ve worked with her on live per­for­mances.

“She’s one of the best singers in the coun­try and I needed some­one ca­pa­ble to de­liver the song.”

Ramli only had good things to say about his ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing with the singer on the project.

“I don’t have any is­sues work­ing with Dayang. It was a smooth process. I just guided her a lit­tle in terms of the de­liv­ery of the lyrics, which re­quires her to sound fierce at times and soft at other times.”

Dayang says Ramli helped her in get­ting her emo­tions to shine through the song: “I wanted to make sure every word and melody of the song can be felt. I don’t want to just sing for the sake of singing. I want to draw lis­ten­ers in and mo­ti­vate them.”

It is in­ter­est­ing to note that Ramli used an ana­logue ap­proach when record­ing Bangkit Ber­sama. “Tech­nol­ogy, like your smart­phone, changes every few years, and then they’re gone. But the vi­o­lin has been around for 400 years and peo­ple are still us­ing it. I wanted to record the song with live in­stru­ments be­cause it gives it more warmth.”

An­other unique as­pect about the song is that the lyrics are made up of sub­mis­sions from ev­ery­day Malaysians.

Back in May, Youth and Sports Min­is­ter Khairy Ja­malud­din en­cour­aged Malaysians to con­trib­ute lyr­me­dia. ics for the song via so­cial

“It’s a sto­ry­board of ideas. We wanted to see what views and ideas peo­ple have and we picked the best ones, com­piled them and made it into this song,” Ramli shares.

Be­sides be­ing a mo­ti­va­tional an­them about achiev­ing one’s dreams, the song talks about re­mem­ber­ing the con­tri­bu­tions the peo­ple in your life have made for you along the way, Ramli ex­plains.

“If you’re an ath­lete, it could be the con­tri­bu­tions your coaches or par­ents made for you. If you ap­pre­ci­ate and re­mem­ber that, you’ll de­liver and you’ll be de­ter­mined to win.”

Dayang be­lieves Bangkit Ber­sama is a song for ev­ery­one, not just ath­letes.

“Au­gust is a month rich in his­tory. Be­sides the SEA Games, the song is a way of ap­pre­ci­at­ing all those who have come be­fore us. What we have to­day is be­cause of their sac­ri­fices.”

Ramli, who com­posed the theme song, is full of praise for Dayang.

Dayang was cho­sen to sing Bangkit Ber­sama, the theme song for the 29th South-East Asian Games. — LOW LAY PHON/The Star

Dayang be­lieves Bangkit Ber­sama

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