Singer-songwriter Faizal Tahir tells Syahirah Mokhtazar his inspiration behind his latest release
WHEN singer-songwriter Faizal Tahir unveiled the cover of his fourth album titled Anatomi, fans responded with mixed reactions.
The centre of the cover features a shirtless Faizal, in two superimposed positions with his arms and legs apart just like the Vitruvian Man, a drawing by Leonardo da Vinci. He also has wings and a feather tail attached to his body. Behind him is a dreamy, wonderland-esque background decorated with animated drawings — black and white horses, a man with a rabbit head singing to kids, hot air balloons with smiley faces, the Jalur Gemilang and more colourful details.
Some praise him for his bold imagery, while others have made some negative remarks about the artwork. Many question what the cover symbolises.
“Well, the main inspiration behind the artwork is based on the Vitruvian Man, which is why I chose to appear shirtless,” says Faizal. He adds that the artwork is a representation of the songs in the album.
“The Vitruvian Man is the default drawing we study when we learn anatomy. The definition of anatomy is the dissection of the human body, but to me there’s an anatomy to everything in life, which is why this album is called Anatomi.
“The drawings also represent the things that make me who I am as an individual. For example, the black and white horses represent my favourite animal. The Jalur Gemilang represents my love for the country. The woman wearing the scarf whose face is covered in purdah symbolises how much I appreciate and respect women.
“The man with a rabbit head is how I view myself when I entertain children. The rabbit head is there to make the children happy,” he says.
Due to what was deemed as a controversial piece of artwork, Faizal says some people have even questioned his Muslim faith, but the singer views things in a positive light.
“There will always be people who think negatively, which is not a bad thing, because I believe we need balance in life.
“I’m fine with people’s interpretation because they were not with me when I was designing this album cover, which took eight months to complete. I don’t blame them in any way. I had no intentions of offending anyone in particular,” explains the singer, who was the first runner-up in the reality talent show One in A Million in 2006.
We live in an era where people have significantly slowed down on buying physical albums, and instead stream music through online music platforms like Spotify and iTunes. But this doesn’t worry Faizal too much.
“I’m not setting any expectations in terms of sales from this album. What’s more important is the positive impact my songs bring to the community. The market now is singles-driven.
“I’m proud to say that at least half of the songs in my album are singles,” says Faizal.
PRESSURE TO PERFORM
Faizal, who has been a recording artiste under Warner Music Malaysia since 2014, says that Anatomi is his first album produced under the label. (His last album, titled Faizal Tahir, was released in 2013 under Monkey Bone Records.)
“In terms of creating the songs from music to lyrics, I worked with composers like Mike Chan and Ezra Kong. To be honest, it was no smooth ride completing this album. Although Warner Music Malaysia gave me the ultimate freedom to shape this album as I saw fit, it also put lots of pressure on me to deliver something good. Before I was given the opportunity to be where I am right now, I had to work very hard.”Anatomi features seven tracks: Assalamualaikum, Suriram, Sejati, Menang, Bukan Yang Pertama, Sayang and Setia.
But there are also bonus tracks like Dirgahayu (featuring Datuk Siti Nurhaliza), Negaraku (featuring SonaOne, Joe Flizzow & Altimet) and Assalamualaikum in three other versions.
On setting a genre for this album, Faizal says: “I have never really set a specific genre for my music, so I play around with whatever works with my soul. In that sense, I think this album is more colourful.”
The singer even included his rendition of Suriram, an old Malay folk song. While Sejati is about his relationship with God, Menang is a song he wrote especially for his wife.
“Menang is also a message for my sons — to always treat women right. If you love someone, you have to treat them well. There are so many positive messages in this album,” says Faizal, adding that it took two years to make the album.
“Knowing that I still have support and fans after a decade in this industry, I figured it was my responsibility to put more effort into my work. I believe that my fans deserve this,” says the father of six.