Becoming a YouTube sensation is a dream for many teens and Najwa Latiff has managed just that with her rendition of songs that garner millions of hits
Who would have thought uploading videos on YouTube could make one famous? Well, Najwa Latiff certainly did not. Two years ago, she started posting videos to update her father on her guitar playing skills, singing popular songs before posting the songs she wrote. It must have been talent and the catchy beat of Cinta Mukabuku that she ended up building dedicated followers on her YouTube channel page. Here she talks to us about her music career and the new single.
You were discovered on YouTube. Do you think you would have made a name for yourself if there weren’t any online connections?
NL: For me, YouTube is one of the easiest ways to show the world your talent. If there is no MySpace or YouTube, we can still show our talent, but it is a bit more difficult. But I believe if there‘s a will, there‘s a way.
At what time are you most inspired to write music? Is it when you are having your breakfast or when you’re in bed?
NL: There is no specific time for me to get inspired. When I feel like creating music or a new melody, I do it spontaneously.
The inspiration for Kosong — is it based on a true story?
NL: I don‘t really have the right to explain the song, because my sister, Ika, is the one who wrote the lyrics. But to me, Kosong is inspirational. I listen to Kosong whenever I am down or feel like giving up.
The songs you compose and sing are mostly in Malay. Do you have any intention of singing in English?
NL: I am comfortable with singing in both languages. But as far as the lyrics go, maybe my sister and I are more comfortable with writing in Malay instead of in English. We do have one English song, which is called Only Yours, and InshaAllah, we‘ll record it soon. You can search for it on YouTube to hear the acoustic version of the song.
As a tudung-clad female singer, tell us a bit about fitting in with the music industry?
NL: It is not hard for me to fit in with the music industry because nowadays, people are more open. They care about the music more than the appearance of the singer, which I think is a good thing for the music industry.
Everyone has a shower song. What’s yours?
NL: My shower song for now is Justin Bieber’s Boyfriend, and yes, I‘m a proud Belieber. Hee!
Since you are still in school, how do you cope with life as a student as well as that of a singer?
NL: I am so grateful to have NAR Records as my recording company. They are really understanding and work within my schedule. I don‘t do shows on weekdays. I only do shows and photo shoots on weekends and school holidays. So my weekdays are filled with school-related stuff and attending tuition classes. The weekend is my working time and, of course, my show time.
How old were you when you actually decided to take up music?
NL: I‘ve started singing since I was five years old. Back then, it was just me and my voice. I started to play guitar when I was in Form 2 and uploaded a video of my performance on YouTube when I was 15. When my video got a good response from the public, I decided to keep on singing and to get more serious about it.
What did you grow up listening to?
I grew up listening to Siti Nurhaliza. And my mom sings keroncong. Hahaha!
Share with us your experience while performing in Anugerah Juara Lagu (AJL).
NL: There are no words to describe how happy I am to be performing and competing in AJL. I am so blessed to be in the finale. As one of the newbies in the industry, with my first single out at the age of 16 and competing in the AJL Finals, what more can I ask for? Alhamdulillah, I am so grateful!
How are you preparing yourself for the upcoming SPM?
NL: I am currently busy with tuition and additional classes. I chose to take a break from music for a while, so I can concentrate on my studies.
Who influences your music?
NL: Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift.
Which one of your songs holds the record for ‘most viewed’?
NL: Cinta Muka Buku with 6,299,067 viewers.
Last question: What music do you recommend?
NL: Anything that is pleasant to the ears, catchy and something I can sing along to.