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Award-winning singer-songwriter Faizal Tahir is starting a new chapter in his career

WHEN he participated in One In A Million (OIAM) Season One 14 years ago, Faizal Tahir was called a “super singer” by the reality show’s judge Datuk Syafinaz Selamat.

Syafinaz saw potential in the then 28-year-old Faizal, and even though he only finished second despite being the most consistent contestant, his entertainment career has soared since then.

Today, the Kuala Lumpur native and father of six children has five albums to his credit, and more than a dozen hit singles which include Mahakarya Cinta, Sampai Syurga, Selamat Malam, Hanyut, Dirgahayu, Bikers Kental and Ragaman.

Faizal, who began his singing career as a member of nasyid group Mirwana in 2005, is also a multiple award-winner, having bagged Best New Artiste and Best Vocal Performance in Anugerah Industri Muzik 15 (AIM 15), Best Song, Best Vocals and Best Performance for Sampai Syurga in Anugerah Juara Lagu 23 (AJL23), and Best New Male Artiste in Anugerah Planet Muzik 2008.

Faizal always brings in the cheers whenever he takes to the stage.

Despite once being banned by the Information Ministry for three months for showing off a Superman sign painted on his chest at an 8TV concert in 2008, his fan base has continued to grow.

However, shortly after turning 40 in 2018, Faizal decided to “write the next chapter” in his musical career.

He prefers to concentrate on writing and composing songs for new talents, as well as discovering the next big stars of Malaysian music these days.

In other words, he plans to follow in the footsteps of two musical “sifus” he greatly admires: Datuk Ramli Sarip and Datuk M. Nasir.

“They say life begins after 40. I fully agree,” he says at the launch of his latest collaboration with regional music streaming platform Joox in Damansara Utama, Petaling Jaya.

“Stardom on the big stage does not last forever. The music industry anywhere in the world will always bring forth fresh new talents. Therefore I must reinvent myself in order to stay relevant in the industry. I’ve decided to focus more on the other things that I like doing, that is, composing and songwriting.”

Faizal does not mind producing, composing and writing music “60 to 70 per cent of the time” and performing on stage or singing for the remainder.

“Music lovers around Malaysia already know me as a singer, and I’m happy to have won multiple awards locally and regionally.

“I’m thankful to God that I’ve been blessed with such success. Now that I have six fast-growing children, it’s better that I pay more attention and spend more quality time with them.

“The best way to do that is to work from home, composing and writing at my home studio.”

Faizal and his wife Siti Raihanim Noran have three sons and three daughters, the eldest being 15 years old while the youngest is aged five.

As the owner of music production company Faithful Music, Faizal has over the last seven years written songs for and guided promising singer-songwriters such as Elizabeth Tan, Aziz Harun, Harris Baba and Hanie Soraya.

He does not have the “itch to perform” every year and is happy as long as his works are performed well by other artistes, especially the “new kids on the block”.

“The time has come for me to take a back seat in singing.

“It’s the time for my proteges to shine,” says Faizal.

One such talent who Faizal brought to AJL34 this year is Fairuz Misran.

The Sabahan, who bears a strong resemblance to the late Tan Sri P. Ramlee, performed Faizal’s hit song Ragaman and earned a standing ovation at the annual Muzik-Muzik finals concert in Axiata Arena last Feb 9.

“I’m impressed with Fairuz. He walks, talks, sings and gestures like P. Ramlee.

“He’s actually been singing since 2012 when he won a national-level P. Ramlee song contest, but I only got to know him last year.

“Not only was I blown away by his Ramlee impersonations, he also earned my respect and admiration with his superb work ethics,” says Faizal.

When asked about his latest project, Faizal says it’s titled Joox Originals in which he writes and composes original songs for 10 artistes.

“It’s a project to support new talents. Best of all, there will be some established names so it is a good mix of old and new.

“So far, we’ve released songs for three artistes, with seven more a few months down the road.”

The three artistes are Dayang Nurfaizah who is performing Gerak Dulu, Sophia Liana Sabri of De Fam (Ngam), and R&B duo FML (Sinar).

“It’s an honour to work again with Dayang. Besides Gerak Dulu, I’ve got a duet with her titled X Missing You which is now available on YouTube,” says Faizal.

Faizal does not want to limit his role as a music producer to Malaysian artistes alone. Just as he has helped Aziz from Brunei, he plans to write and compose for new Singaporean and Indonesian talents as well.

“I fondly remember being the co-host of a regional talent search called Gang Starz in 2007 and 2008. I made friends with several talented pop groups around Southeast Asia, and this show has inspired me to help discover new talents in the region later.

On another note, Faizal has decided to be less active on social media, by taking four-month breaks from time to time.

“I just came back to social media this month, having shut myself out of it from November last year.

“Negative comments can get on my nerves, so taking a break from social media is refreshing for me.”

The second of seven siblings, Faizal graduated with a diploma in communication and media studies from Universiti Teknologi Mara in Shah Alam in 2003.

Besides owning Faithful Music, he also runs the four-year-old humanitarian non-governmental organisation I Am Faith Men, which has assisted Rohingya, Palestinian and Syrian refugees.

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