Long road ahead

Breaking into the Malay music market is the way to go, but it will be tough for Asian Idol Hady Mirza to make it big in Malaysia and Indonesia.

NOW that he’s won the Asian Idol crown, Hady Mirza can bask in the glory and celebrate – but he’s got a lot of work waiting for him if he wants to be a regional singing star, say music industry players.

The Singaporean beat five other contestants from India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam to win the televised singing contest held last weekend.

Hady Mirza, the newly-crowned Asian Idol.
But the win will not necessarily translate into popularity and album sales.

The pop music world is notoriously overcrowded and fickle, what more with new stars born from reality TV competitions that are a dime a dozen these days.

Hady, 27, has to quickly capitalise on the publicity that the win has brought him throughout the region before the public forgets about him.

Ken Lim, his boss at record label Hype, described the victory as a “big stepping stone” for the singer, who has performed in pubs and at corporate events.

“He has to be ready to compete with the other international acts as well.”

Paul Moss, general manager of Media Prima’s network media portal and one of the Asian Idol judges said: “This kind of popularity does translate into something valuable in the real commercial world.

“Any record company would value the feedback that’s been gained from it. The fact that he’s regionally popular... it’s been proven, so it would seem to be a bit of a no-brainer to at least try and capitalise on the win.”

Lim said that one of the most important things is to work on Hady carving out his identity in the regional market.

But it won’t be easy as he needs to compete with the local recording artistes in each territory he hopes to conquer.

“Hady has to start somewhere, so he has to focus on his target, his strength and how it works for him,” he said.

Lim believes Hady’s rendition of Taufik Batisah’s Berserah (Surrender), a Malay R&B ballad, went a long way in helping him garner votes.

Hence, it would be logical to steer him in that direction.

“He has to start off with a Malay album,” said Lim.

Hady released an eponymous debut album a few months after his Singapore Idol win last year.

The album, which had English songs except for two Malay ones, went platinum, which in Singapore, means it sold more than 16,000 copies.

The Malay music market in Singapore, however, is small compared to its neighbours, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Singaporean singer Imran Ajmain noted that the first Singapore Idol Taufik Batisah’s Malay album sold very well in Singapore, so Hady should be able to do the same.

The next most immediate Malay music market for Hady would probably be Malaysia, but it won’t be a cakewalk for him.

Adlin Rosli, editor of Junk, a music magazine based in Malaysia, said that it is generally tough for new artistes – even Malaysians – to break into that market.

“Local Malay acts seem to be battling Indonesian acts. So, for Hady to crack Malaysia’s Malay music market, he’s facing the same challenge as new local artistes,” he said.

Music veterans said, breaking into the Indonesian market will be an even harder task given the proliferation of talent there.

In any case, Hady’s win has certainly helped increase his visibility and fan base. His official website and forum has seen a surge in the number of new fans, from Indonesia, Malaysia and even India.

source: The Straits Times, Singapore/ Asia News Network


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