Thursday, January 7, 2010

(Music) Full steam ahead


DENNIS CHUA finds out what’s in store in 2010 for the past winners and finalists of Akademi Fantasia.

THE winners and finalists of Astro’s popular reality talent search Akademi Fantasia (AF) are marking their new year with fresh projects, newfound skills and plans to work with their favourite peers.

Pop phenomenon and actor Asmawi “Mawi” Ani, who won AF3, is adding another feather to his cap. The owner of MW Entertainment, a company he formed last year, is now a television producer.

MW, which stands for “Mawi World”, is best known for producing Mawi’s travelogue Langkah Mawi on Astro Ria.

MW is currently producing television movie Jiwa Kacau on Astro Prima (which stars Mawi in a cameo role).

“While I’ve always wanted to be a singer, I’m also passionate about acting. I had a great time in last year’s film Jin Notti because it was hilarious and educational,” he said.

He plans to produce a fashion programme to be hosted by his wife, actress Ekin Rahmat.

Mawi is also looking forward to the premiere of his latest film, Magika, in March.

“It’s a fantasy with a star-studded cast and is rich in mythology,” he said.

Mawi’s latest album, Idola, will be released next month. Carrying 10 songs, it has the “magical touch” of composers Aidit Alfian and one-time AF principals Ramli Sarip and M. Nasir (his mentor).

“I’m learning to be a director of TV programmes and music videos. My ‘teachers’ are producers and directors Azhari Zain and Rahila Ali of Langkah Mawi,” he said.

Mawi’s fellow champion Mila Jirin of AF5 owns a year-old business, Luvmila Corporation which produces herbal beauty products.

She is taking her business a step further and has formed Luvmila Entertainment and Productions, a joint venture with Astro Entertainment Sdn Bhd (AESB).

Luvmila Entertainment promotes the activities of AF artistes as well as notable stars on Astro.

“While it isn’t easy being a businesswoman, it’s rewarding because fans know you better. And it makes you a well-rounded entertainer,” she said, citing KRU as a success story.

Mila, who recently appeared in the musical series Kau Dan Aku on Astro Ria with her AF juniors Ika Rahim (AF6) and AF7’s Akim Ahmad and Aril Pilus, said she would “stick to acting” as it was fun.

“I’m into romantic comedies as they have happy endings and positive messages. We enjoyed ourselves on the set of Kau Dan Aku in Jakarta,” she said.

Mila is working on a new single. She looks forward to collaborating with Akim who is a talented composer and songwriter.

AF6 winner Stacy Anam is riding high with hit songs Pakai Buang (Anugerah Juara Lagu finalist) and Menggegar Dunia, a duet with hip-hop star Adam Mat Saman of AF2. The latter is also the theme song from My Spy.

She plans to collaborate with bankable graduates of reality television such as Malaysian Idol’s Nikki Palikat and Jaclyn Victor as well as One In A Million’s (OIAM) Ayu Damit and Esther Chin.

“Nikki, Ayu, Esther and Jac always inspire me. They are passionate about music and sing from the heart,” she said.

While Stacy has no plans to write and compose her own music, she always looks forward to working with composer Audi Mok, Nikki’s husband whom she describes as gifted and fun-loving.

“Audi composed my new single Cerah,” she said.

AF7 winner Hafiz Suip, whose song Masih Jelas also entered the AJL finals, is appearing in Astro sitcom Geng Bas Sekolah.

“It’s a children’s comedy. I like TV series such as this, and the historical Suatu Ketika which stars my AF contemporaries,” he said.

Currently promoting his debut album Masih Jelas, Hafiz intends to write and compose for his next album.

He dreams of collaborating with AF3 and OIAM3 singer-songwriter Amylea Azizan and his fellow AF7 star Aishah Bujang.

Encouraged by his brother Izwan Pilus of Bintang RTM, AF7 runner-up Aril is learning to write his own songs.

“I’ve got three new singles in the pipeline and I wrote one of them. The composers I’m working with are Shazzy and Audi,” he said.

Aril would love to be a radio presenter and admires Era FM’s Adi Fashla Juraimi of AF1.

“Adi is cool and street-wise. He has been giving me strong support from Day One,” he said.

Akim, whose hit song Bengang also made it to the AJL finals, wants to prove his worth as a songwriter.

“I’ve just written Inilah Cinta, and plan to compose music,” he said.

Akim would love to collaborate or write songs for his favourite reality television seniors Faizal Tahir, Shila Amir Amzah, Aizat Amdan, Nas Adila, Nadia Hasnan, Ika, Dafi and Mila.

AF7 finalists Yazid Ibrahim and Ismaliza Ismail are also dabbling in songwriting.

Yazid has just penned Aku Tidak Setanding Dia, composed by Ahmad Din.

Ismaliza is writing songs with her husband, producer and composer Zulkifli Majid of Two By Two fame. The couple recently participated in dance reality show Sehati Berdansa.

Yazid said: “I believe in writing songs about my personal experiences. Songs from the heart sell.” He would love to collaborate with rocker Aweera Noriyissham of OIAM3.

Ismaliza plans to collaborate with her brother, OIAM3 winner Tomok.

“He is the family’s natural entertainer, and my hero,” she said.

She is also a fan of her seniors Nubhan Ahamad, Zila Seeron and Farhan Azizan whom she describes as “versatile”.

“They are excellent in modern and Asli music. Nubhan and Zila act well too,” she said.

Mawi, Mila, Stacy, Hafiz, Aril, Akim, Isma and Yazid now have their chart-topping songs in a compilation album released by Era FM.

The AESB album titled Era Muzik Hits Terkini features Menggegar Dunia, Pakai Buang, Masih Jelas, Bengang, Jika Kau Ubah Fikiran (Mila), Sujud (Mawi), Sugul (Yazid), Berbicara (Ismaliza), Menatap (Aril) and Maafkan (Anita Sarawak).

The album was recently launched by Era assistant programme manager Rizal Shahimy at Laundry Bar in The Curve, Petaling Jaya.


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