Backstage with… Sheila Majid
By Kong Wai Yeng
Datuk Sheila Majid has an unbridled zest when singing and during this October concert, her mellifluous voice will be accompanied by a full-blown orchestra at DFP. Expect new arrangements in her songs while she rekindles some of the most nostalgic tunes of all time.
You’ve done jazz and a little bit of R&B. Would you like to try a different genre?
My music is actually pop with a hint of jazz and R&B but it’s essentially pop. When I sing, it comes from my heart and soul. Whatever I do, I perform whole heartedly so the genre consideration is secondary. But honestly, can you imagine me doing hip-hop or rock?
Many local jazz vocalists perform at bars such as Alexis or No Black Tie. Would you consider performing a jazz circuit at these venues?
Sure. As a matter of fact, I have performed at NBT recently.
Are you worried that you’ll only be known as the singer who sung the P. Ramlee classics?
If that was the only thing I was known for, I would be truly honoured. When ‘Legenda’ album first came out two decades ago, some critics panned me for ‘destroying’ P. Ramlee’s legacy. But the album became my best selling album in Malaysia and Indonesia. In my opinion, the album was instrumental in bridging the gap between the old and the new. Some young listeners might be familiar with ‘Getaran Jiwa’ and ‘Bila Larut Malam’ but P. Ramlee was a prolific writer. There were many more hits from his catalogue that I felt should be brought to light. In its own way, Legenda keeps the genius of P. Ramlee’s music and artistry alive and current. The album ‘Legenda’ became my own legacy. Hopefully in the future, someone might want to do the same for me.
Choose a song (from all your albums) that aptly describes yourself.
I would say, ‘Dia’.
Would you like to do a mother-and-daughter singing duet someday?
Khaleda rapped in ‘Kisah Rumah Tangga’. I guess that qualifies as a collaboration if not a full blown duet.
All your albums are recorded in Malay. Any intention to do an English album?
Intention is always there. Financing is another matter.
Your song ‘Melodi’ with Chinese singer Lin Yu Zhong was a bit unusual. Would you do something like this again in the future?
Bring it on.
Sheila Majid performed with the MPO at Dewan Filharmonik Petronas on Oct 1 in celebration of her 25th anniversary in the music arena.