Moving to a Beat of Her Own

May 6, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Many often think that it is easy to describe a person or a matter using the least amount of words. For those of you who have tried it, you may agree when I say that it is actually a big challenge to come up with a precise description in the shortest form possible. So when I sat down to think of the things that best describes Malaysia’s singer songwriter Amirah Ali, it was hard to just narrow it down to a mere few words.

When you talk to Amirah Ali about her music, you can’t help but feel the love and passion she has for her work emanating from her very core. One of the things that prompted Amirah to create her own blend of music was the reoccurring comments that her songs may not be commercially viable. Disappointed that people were more interested in making music for commercial purposes and not for the sake of making music, Amirah began to look into recording some of her own music. When her producer encouraged her to sing, she took vocal lessons to help with her singing.

Amirah welcomes the challenge of finding a common point between two very different works of music to create one harmonious piece. The combination of music from traditional instruments with modern pop music, complemented with Amirah’s sultry singing voice sets her apart from her other counterparts. The recording of her song ‘Malaysia’ presented her with her greatest challenge – to find the similarities as well as the differences of the three traditional music, to analyse and embrace it all before bringing it all together to make it into a song. True to the spirit of 1Malaysia, this song is made up of an eclectic mix of traditional Malay, Chinese and Indian music fused with modern pop music. This unique blend of music proved to be a hit with the United States crowd when it was performed there.

Amirah Ali

Though her love affair with composing songs started when she was 11 years old, it was only in the last 4 to 5 years ago that Amirah decided to start taking song-writing seriously. Singing was never part of the picture until she was encouraged by her producer. Most of the songs that are written by Amirah Ali are inspired by the things that happen in and around her life. Many of her songs like ‘Tell Me’, ‘Alone Again’ and ‘Queen of My Heart’ are windows into her own life. Her début single ‘Katakanlah’ is an example of her passionate belief in freedom, equality and love. In this song, she poses the question of what is it that truly makes us who we are, whether it is our cultural and religious beliefs, or our actions and intentions. When she first released this song, she found herself coming to a crossroad – the song could either make or break her career as a singer songwriter. As it turned out, ‘Katakanlah’ was well received by the audience and this spurred her on even more. Her song ‘Tell Me’ is about a relationship that cannot go on because of cultural or religious obstacles, an experience that Amirah herself observed as well as went through.

Despite having very strong views on issues regarding freedom and equality, Amirah is as fun and jovial as any person her age could be. She loves spending time alone, walking or doing activities as she thinks of new ways to make her music. When her début single ‘Katakanlah’ was chosen as the Finalist of The ISC International Songwriting Competition 2011 and the Finalist of The John Lennon Songwriting Competition 2010, it gave her the encouragement to continue on making her beautiful music, in hopes that many would see the appeal of traditional music to the youth today. She also hopes that by fusing these two worlds of music together, the older and more traditional communities would come to know that pop music is too considered as ‘real music’, and not just noise.

Amirah Ali will be performing at the FEYST 2011 Indie Youth Festival and Sweden Malaysia Innovation Days that will be happening from the 6th till 10th at the Pavilion Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur. Do not miss out on her performance live on the 8th May at 4.00 pm! See you there!!

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