Suki Low back with a beat after her extended hiatus.
by DANIAL FUAD
The cycle has turned and it is now my turn again to write about the latest BASKL Cover Star. If before this I wrote about someone who was not on my radar, this time I am writing about someone closer to my generation; Suki Low.
Growing up, singing reality TV was so in trend with international shows like American Idol and X Factor taking the world by storm. Locally we had our fair share including Akademi Fantasia, Malaysian Idol and Malaysia’s very own, One in A Million; the show that bestowed the winner 1 Million Ringgit, and that was the show that Suki managed to win on their very first season.
So, I do have some semblance of who Suki is, once the 16-year-old who managed to clinch that one million Ringgit beating the likes of two other Malaysian superstars, Faizal Tahir and Aliff Satar. Never have I gotten the chance to know her personally, but that day at White Studio during our shoot I got to know more about her.
Having a bad cough fit for the past few days, I let my colleague Nabila lead the interview and I chimed in whenever necessary. It was pleasant to finally meet Suki in person, she was a very bubbly person apologizing time to time due to being only half an hour late on that day. When she finally settled down on the make-up chair, our make-up artiste Shegar then started working on her beautiful face as our conversation began. We started with tales of her upbringing and what made her interested in pursuing music as a career.
“Initially, there was no plan for me to become a professional singer; my ambition back then was to become a doctor! None of my family members are directly involved in the music industry but they all love to sing. Back in my kindergarten days, whenever I would get back from school my grandma would always be singing karaoke. I would just then put down my bag and join her. My music back then was a little different. As everybody would sing nursery rhymes like twinkle, twinkle little star and other similar tunes, I was more inclined to older Mandarin songs,” Suki started.
Her growing up was quite unique, while other families would go to the beach or mall on the weekends, her family spent them with going to singing competitions . She added, “it was sort of our bonding session for the family. My mom is a crafty person so she would dress us up in clothing that she sewed on her own, and do our make-up and hair for us as well. My dad loves to listen to songs too, so that is how our family spent the weekends and how my interest in music began.”
One in A Million was not the first competition for her, but it was her first official platform into the music industry. “Getting into One A Million was actually a spur-of-the-moment for me. There was this lady i used to call ‘Kakak’ who always sponsored my clothes for competitions. She said that there were people from 8TV doing an audition and asked me to come and try-out,” Suki expressed.
Little that she knew, that was the stepping stone for her as right after she won the competition in 2006, her life totally changed. Among the recognitions she garnered included becoming the ambassador for Pepsi in 2007, and even receiving the Anugerah Industri Muzik (AIM) Most Promising Artiste Award in 2008.
All that hard work since her school days paid off. She adored the first Malaysian Idol, Jaclyn Victor at that time, “Jaclyn Victor really impressed me. Never have I thought there would be a talent like this in Malaysia and lucky for me that we are friends now.”
Following her success on One in A Million, she released her debut album, Berdiri / Akhirnya containing the iconic Berdiri song. After her streak of successes and the release of her other Malay hit Terlalu Mencintaimu followed by her 2013 album Ladies Night, she took an extended hiatus from the music industry.
She returned in 2019 with a single Suasana & Seloka Hari Raya, then Cinta Tak Kesampaian in 2020 and most recently in 2023 she released Bahagia Yang Sebentar written by Shila Amzah.
Earlier this year, she got into the limelight again through another singing reality competition; 17 years after her One in A Million debut. This time with more experience in her hand, she said it was different from being on One in A Million.
“I have grasp of what I want to do on stage every week as opposed to One in A Million. Back then, I only sang one genre which was pop rock but for Gegar Vaganza; I have performed many types of songs including irama Malaysia, hip hop and ballads to name a few. I take this as a new start for me where I got to present the grown-up version of Suki in a competition. I really had fun with the opportunity given to me.”
She has a deep passion for music so she would always carefully study every type of music that piqued her interest. “Let’s take Lady Gaga for example, she is a genuine artist that has a very deep passion in music and she is not confined by genre. She can go from pop to jazz to country to power ballads because she was always a music lover before she became a performing artist.”
“Why should we confine ourselves to one genre when even on our music streaming applications, we listen to multiple genres,” Suki mentioned.
Currently, she is working on various projects and she said, “I am still a pop singer but I haven’t done pop rock for a long time although my first album was of that genre. The pop rock genre has a lot of attitude and you need to have that rebellious angsty soul to carry it. Going through motherhood and family life, I feel that I don’t have that angst anymore in my heart so I don’t know if I can do pop rock anymore!”
“I feel freer to be able to express and make my music when I am not signed to any label. At the end of the day, doing music is still a business so I understand clashes could happen when we combine art and business. Signing on my own would make me in control for a better balance between those two. I don’t want others to concur losses due to my own experimentation,” Suki added when asked about why she is not signed to any record label.
She further stated, “For me, the most important thing to have in being an artist is soul. You can have a very good technique and voice but if there’s no soul in it, people can tell. It is not something that can be taught or edited so it is important to have soul in what you do.”
Going into 2024, she has mentioned that it would be a busy year for her, “I have set up a studio at home so I am flexible with my working arrangements. Looking forward to producing my own tracks and also working with good and talented composers to write together. 2024 would be a lively year for me!”
We look forward to what 2024 has to offer for Suki and may all her endeavours come true.
BEHIND THE SCENES OF THE BASKL
COVER STAR: Suki Low
BASKL Editor and Co-ordination: Shah Shamshiri
English Text: Danial Fuad
Stylist: Shah Shamshiri
Hair, Make-up and Accessories: Chandra Shegar
Wardrobe : Maswira Majid
Photographer & Art Director: Bustamam Mokhtar, White Studio
Behind The Scenes Photos : Danial Fuad
Location: White Studio, Sungai Lui, Hulu Langat
Digital Cover Designer: Daniel Abdul Halim
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