Headline: The star will sing for you
Publication: NSUNT
Date of publication: Sep 20, 2009
Section heading: Main Section
Page number: 012
Byline / Author: By Shuib Taib

IT'S the festive season and you are throwing a dinner party for your friends and family. Being in a generous and expansive mood, you want top entertainment. SHUIB TAIB goes undercover to "book" the big names for your party.


* RM45,000 for a 30-minute show

* RM70,000 for a one-hour show

SINCE winning the Bintang HMI more than a decade ago, Siti has remained as one of the strongest, most versatile and richest artistes the industry has ever known. Her vocal prowess is legendary. Her awards speak for themselves. Her influence is huge.

Her popularity is not only felt in Malaysia, but also in Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei. She is also the first Southeast Asian artiste to have held a solo concert at the Royal Albert Hall, London.

Siti's career defies showbiz logic, if we could call it that. Married artistes have a tough time keeping their fans but not in the case of Siti.

Siti does not accept many single singing engagements now that she is married, but when she was single, she was known to have five shows a week.

"That is how I get my vocal practice because I do serious singing almost every day," she once said.

Having released her latest album Tahajjud Cinta, Siti - who is also adept at tackling irama Malaysia, pop, soft rock, pop rock, R&B and dance-pop as well as English numbers - is expected to dominate the airwaves, too.

She has released 14 studio albums, nine video albums, seven concert albums, DVDs, compilations (both solo and otherwise) and live albums, making her the most active and saleable local artiste.


* RM35,000 for a 30-minute show

* RM55,000 for a one-hour show

WITH her trademark pop music mixed with jazz and R&B, Sheila is among the few who broke into the impenetrable Indonesian market.

The release of her album Emosi in Indonesia only further endeared her to the fans there.

Her popularity in Indonesia was boosted when she went on a nationwide tour there in 1988 that received overwhelming response.

From Indonesia Sheila spread her wings to Japan where she performed at the Tokyo Music Festival in 1989.

She left such an impression at the Okinawa Music Pageant in 1990 that she was invited back to perform in Japan by popular demand that very same year.

Sheila can also look back on her successful stint at London's Ronnie Scotts, where her idols like Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder had performed.

On the home front, Sheila, who is married to musician Acis (of Gersang fame), performed before packed audiences in Kuala Lumpur three times, the first in 1990.


* RM25,000 for a 30-minute show

* RM55,000 for a one-hour show

ANUAR, 39, began singing when he was in school. Fans would remember him as one half of the "Kain Pelikat" duo with Elina.

After years of silence, Anuar made a comeback when he released his eponymous album in 1998. Things have been looking up since then.

In 2000, Anuar was named Best New Artiste at the Anugerah Industri Muzik (AIM) awards.

Keabadian Cinta, the hit song from his second album won Best Song at the AIM again the following year. Anuar began to get more accolades.

He has somewhat "arrived". Anuar now has his own Secretaries' Day show, and people pay hundreds to see him perform live.

The string of awards that he has won has only strengthened his position as one of the top male singers in the country.


* RM16,000 for a 30-minute show

* RM35,000 for a one-hour show

KUCHING-BORN Dayang, 28, released her first eponymous album in May 1999 and by the time her second album, Seandainya Masih Ada Cinta was released in 2001, she had quite a following.

While most other ballads had failed, Dayang's Seandainya Masih Ada Cinta put an end to Siti Nurhaliza's domination on television and radio.

Seandainya Masih Ada Cinta won hearts and eventually was named Best Song at the AIM awards in 2001. At the 2001 Anugerah Planet Muzik, it won the Most Popular Song award and the win was duplicated when it was announced winner in the ballad category at TV3's Anugerah Juara Lagu 2001, beating Siti's Percayalah .

That Dayang managed to beat Siti spoke volumes.

Dayang is also one of the few artistes constantly invited to perform at Planet Hollywood Kuala Lumpur.

These days, the singer, who had also entered 8TV's One In A Million in 2006 and released eight studio albums, is still one of the most sought-after artistes.


* RM18,500 for a 30-minute show

* RM28,000 for a one-hour show

TO begin with this singer is exotic. That both her parents are a mix of Arab, Malay, Dutch, Chinese, Indian and Javanese makes her unique. True to her roots, she has also recorded songs in Bahasa Malaysia, English, Japanese, Italian, French, Mandarin and Cantonese.

Ning was only 17 when she burst onto the scene with her trademark vocals. Her debut, Dekat Padamu released under Sony Music then, was well received.

Her discography includes 10 full studio albums, three of which are full English albums. Ning's singing stints have taken her to Britain, Italy, France, China, Indonesia, Korea, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Pakistan, Monte Carlo (Monaco), Switzerland and United States.

Ning is also an adept actress, having worked on several movies. They include Gemilang, Maria Mariana 2, Bara, Mimpi Moon, Malaikat Di Jendela, Lady Boss, Diva and Yasmin Ahmad's Muallaf.

Like most local stars who have survived the test of time and economic recession, Ning has also won many awards.

Due to her versatility, Ning, who is the new face of Olay Regenerist, is also highly in demand at corporate events.


* RM18,000 for a 30-minute show

* RM30,000 for a one-hour show

THE singer-actress popularly known as Jac won the inaugural Malaysian Idol and Ikon Malaysia. As winner of Malaysian Idol, she won a recording contract with Sony BMG Entertainment. This high-octave singer represented Malaysia in the first Asian Idol and Ikon Asean.

Jac was 9 when her father died. To help support her three younger siblings, Jac started singing at clubs and hotel lounges when she turned 18.

It was Malaysian Idol that made her a household name. Jac impressed judges and viewers week after week with her renditions of Alicia Keys' If I Ain't Got You, Chaka Khan's I Feel For You and Karyn White's Superwoman.

By the time she entered the finals, it was obvious that she was the clear winner. In the finals, Jac performed the ballad Gemilang (Glory), the song written for the winner of Malaysian Idol, which would appear on her debut album Gemilang.

Gemilang brought more glory to Jac when it won Best Song and Best Performance awards at RTM's Hits 1 in 2006. At TV3's Juara Lagu the same year, Gemilang was Best Ballad and Song Of The Year.

At the Anugerah Planet Muzik (Singapore) in 2006, Jac was named Best Female Artiste. And, at the 13th Anugerah Industri Muzik also in 2006, Jac was Best New Artiste, won Best Arrangement in a Song, Best Pop Album and Album of the Year awards.

She also emerged champion at the Asian Music Festival in Shanghai in 2005, again with Gemilang.


* RM20,000 for a 30-minute show

* RM45,000 for a one-hour show

SINGER, actress, master of ceremonies and advertising talent Adibah Noor has been in the business for 13 years and is one of the most laku artistes around.

After winning the Suara 90-an Nescafe in 1994, the singer, who has had a tough time finding a record label, proved that size doesn't matter.

A favourite of Yasmin Ahmad who cast Adibah in most of her movies as well as TV commercials, Adibah is slated to appear in Cokodok Monster, a Hari Raya advertisement.

Adibah will also be in Cuci The Musical at Istana Budaya Kuala Lumpur from Oct 23 to Nov 8, alongside Hans Isaac, AC Mizal, Vanidah Imran, Awie and Afdlin Shauki. You can also check her out in Jin Notti, which opens at cinemas nationwide today.

She has also acted in two movies which will be screened soon, Hooperz and Magika.


* RM18,000 for a show

HE may be known more as a director, stage and screen actor, comedian and presenter but Afdlin also sings and writes songs. Together with his band Acid Iz, Afdlin released his debut album titled FUUYO! in 2003. The album has an acid jazz, funk and R&B feel to it.

Although he has released more movies than albums, Afdlin has had a successful singing career.

In 1992, he performed for an audience of 50,000 in the "Ikhlas Concert" alongside Zainal Abidin, Sheila Majid, Amir Yussof, Zubir Ali and Datuk S.M. Salim.

Ten years ago, as host on the late night talk-show Bila Larut Malam on Astro, Afdlin received the award for Best Presenter in an Entertainment Programme during the prestigious 1999 Asian Television Awards.

He has hosted the Malaysian music industry awards night (AIM Awards) for six years running. Among his many celluloid works, Afdlin must have felt good having landed the role of `interpreter" in Anna & The King, directed by Andy Tennant featuring Jodie Foster.

The songs may be hits but the money is in the shows

FOR an artiste, it is vital to have a hit album.

Your songs get played on the radio, you get invited to perform on television, and you get royalty from album sales. It's life changing.

Imagine having one hit album in a huge market like America. Your life will transform overnight. You can even retire early.

Sadly, that is not possible in a country with a proliferation of pirated CDs. Here in Malaysia, album sales have never touched the one million mark. Therefore, artistes need to secure singing engagements.

But the situation isn't all that bad. Once your song becomes a hit, you will most likely be invited to perform at big events and corporate functions and that is where you make money.

For the late Sudirman Arshad, a top entertainer during his heyday, the weekends were almost always reserved for shows.

Sudir performed almost everywhere and earned good money.

But he worked very hard too. When he performed for American Express, Sudir not only prepared the right songs, he even prepared jokes suited for the event.

"No wonder I see dollar signs in your eyes," he once told an American Express staff at one of his shows.

Indeed, an entertainer extraordinaire like him could earn a lot from one show.

Between the late 1980s and early 1990s, Sudir was making between RM25,000 and RM30,000 from one corporate dinner performance.

On special occasions like the Merdeka celebrations or New Year, his fees would double or triple.

But what about "lesser" artistes?

I recall a singer, Wann, who was famous in the late 1980s.

Wann had a different singing style - she had a tendency to sound "constipated" - yet, she was a saleable artiste.

Wann averaged between 20 and 25 shows per month, with payments between RM2,000 and RM3,000 per show.

That translated into more than RM60,000 per month.

Then again, not all artistes enjoy a long career. Some are a flash in the pan, which is why it makes sense for them to charge high fees while they are popular.

Also, as public figures, artistes need to always look their best. They need to be seen in expensive clothes, chauffeur-driven in big cars, and live in mansions. In short, their lifestyle reflects their popularity.

When our country enjoyed economic growth in the 1990s, so did our artistes.


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