Headline: In tune with YouTube
Publication: NST
Date of publication: Feb 5, 2013
Section heading: Life & Times
Page number: 014
Byline / Author: By Nur Aqidah Azizi

EVERGREEN tune Apo Kono Eh Jang is a big hit on the video-sharing website, writes Nur Aqidah Azizi.

THE world wouldn't have known PSY if not for YouTube. His phenomenal tune, Gangnam Style, is a worldwide success, with more than a billion viewers since July last year, the most hits ever received by any video ever.

Closer to home, the local music scene too has seen musical talents being unearthed from the video-sharing website.

Although still far behind PSY's phenomenal record, names such as Zee Avi, Ainan Tasneem and Najwa Latif are among the local YouTube sensations, who have not only had their music heard, but also generated interest from various recording labels to help boost their music career commercially.

The latest, Stellar Band, an independent music group which comprises four young talents, is also jumping on the bandwagon. Together with actress Fida Ibrahim and music veteran Datuk AC Mizal, who is also a member of popular rap group 4U2C, it launched Apo Kono Eh Jang, and the response has been an eye-opener.

The evergreen tune, sung in Negeri Sembilan dialect, was originally rendered by Ally Nor and Mastura during the 1980s.

The new version has a more pop-ish sound and AC Mizal's touch on the rapping parts adds more colour to it.

Complemented with an interesting music video, the modern sound and look of Apo Kono Eh Jang has been quite a hit on YouTube, with more than two million viewers in just two months after its release in November last year. The song also climbed to the Top 10 most downloaded local songs on iTunes.

AC Mizal says it was Fida who asked him to come onboard the project. He said yes immediately after listening to the new version.

"It was refreshing. Since I hadn't been in touch with music for quite some time, I thought it would be fun to do it with them," he says.

The rapping part, which he wrote, took only one take to record. "Right from the start, I wanted it to be more lively and energetic," he says. "I didn't expect the song to get more than two million viewers in just two months. It is an achievement for the team and I'm truly honoured to be a part of it," says the 41-year-old singer, actor and popular television host.

"A lot of things could have contributed to the success of the song but I guess music lovers want something different and new. By injecting a more modern sound to the song, I think it appealed to fans who, perhaps, find the song a breath of fresh air."

Produced by Sheikh Qalam, the making of the music video was not without challenges, but AC Mizal says he's glad that the final product delivered what he had in mind.

"We shot the music video in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. It was raining and the traffic was bad. But we decided to make the best of it. What I liked about it was that everyone was given the freedom to be creative with their characters. I'm satisfied with the final look of the video," he says.

The collaboration has helped rejuvenate his name in the music scene. "After the song became a hit, so many people praised me for my rapping ability. Some said they didn't know I had hidden talent as a rapper. I find it funny because I was with 4U2C, a rap group and we did a lot of rapping in our songs, "says AC Mizal, laughing.

Nevertheless, he is grateful for the positive response and is looking forward to doing more in the future.

"I love music. I always have. But I haven't thought about coming out with a full album. Perhaps I will consider more projects like this," he says.

"I'm open to working with anyone. My aim is to deliver the best and to enjoy what I do. Whether it will be a success or not, I leave that to fate."

For Fida, the success of the song has paved the way for her singing career.

She says: "Initially, the plan was for me to sing the song alone. Then the producer said it would be better to have Stellar in it and later I thought of including AC Mizal too. I'm very happy that the collaboration is a success," she says.

She is looking forward to recording another cover version, featuring a new band, Qalam.

"I'm still in discussion to bring AC Mizal into the new project. I really hope it will materialise," says Fida.

More than a million

OTHER local entertainers too have found success on YouTube. From newcomers to more heavyweight players, all have had their fair share of success on the video-sharing website. They include:

Untuk Dia (Sleeq & Najwa Latif)

YouTube sensation Najwa Latif collaborated with Singaporean hip hop group Sleeq on this catchy tune. It garnered huge success and made headlines with 11,208,196 viewers recorded so far.

Teman Pengganti (Black & Malique)

Published in September last year, the video has generated 4,174,616 viewers (Press time). The song also made it to the recent Anugerah Juara Lagu 27 finals and bagged the Best Performance Award.

Muara Hati (Hafiz & Datuk Siti Nurhaliza)

The theme song for the Astro hit drama series, Adam Dan Hawa, which ended recently, attracted over four million viewers since its launch in August last year.

Anak Kampung (Jimmy Palikat)

He's been active in Sabah's music scene since early 2000 but it was only recently that fans took notice him, thanks to his hit song, Anak Kampung. Sung originally in Dusun dialect, the new version went viral on YouTube with 4.7 million viewers. The song also made it to the Anugerah Juara Lagu 27 finals.

Terukir Di Bintang (Yuna)

The unofficial music video of this song was released on YouTube, featuring Yuna with her then boyfriend, Qi. Some 3,719,951 viewers watched the video and the song bagged the Best Song in the recent Anugerah Juara Lagu 27.

Aku Suka Dia (Ainan Tasneem)

Not long after Najwa Latif's massive success on YouTube, Ainan Tasneem stole the limelight with her self-composed Aku Suka Dia. The music video garnered 4,039,169 viewers and Ainan has been signed up under Music Valley Production (MVM).

Bawa Daku Pergi (Zizan & Kaka)

Composed by Malique, the music video was released on YouTube in June last year. It recorded more than three million viewership.

Kosong (Najwa Latif)

Ever since she entered the music scene by storm after her massive YouTube hit, Cinta Muka Buku, Najwa hasn't looked back. Her subsequent unofficial music video for Kosong earned four million hits.

Andai Aku Bercinta Lagi (Mojo)

Fully composed and written by Edry of KRU, this song attracted 1,778,716 million viewers. The song also made it as one of the 12 finalists of Anugerah Juara Lagu 27.

Shila Amzah Asian Wave 2012

She performed Grenade/ Zheng Fu

at the final of Asian Wave 2012. Four months after the video was uploaded on YouTube, it has attracted 1,487,593 million viewers.

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