Who you meet at an event can change your life. Just ask teenager Aziz Harun.
Three years ago, the Bruneian singer-songwriter met musician Amir Jahari at an event in Bandung, Indonesia, who then introduced him to music producer Anas Amdan.
Aziz must have made a good impression on Anas that he was recommended to Mike Chan, another music producer. Aziz said he flew to Kuala Lumpur to meet Chan over coffee to talk about writing songs together.
“But I had a milkshake,” the 17-year-old boy recalled with a laugh during an interview in Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
After the meeting, Aziz received an e-mail from Chan asking him to come up with a verse to complete a song. Aziz did his part.
One month later, Aziz got the surprise of his life. He went “berserk” when he saw Faizal Tahir’s name CC-ed in a new e-mail reply.
“It turned out that Faizal was looking for a new young talent to work with and Chan told him about me. He checked out one of my videos on YouTube. He asked Chan to send me that e-mail just to see if I could come up with anything catchy,” Aziz explained.
The song which Aziz co-wrote with Faizal and Chan turned out to be Senyum. A huge fan of Faizal’s, he then travelled to KL to record the song.
“Of course, I was nervous. There I was working with someone I really look up to. I knew I had to do everything I can to get the recording right. I was up for the challenge.”
Aziz released Senyum earlier this year and the infectious song propelled the teenager to instant fame. It was a regular fixture on the local radio charts and was reportedly downloaded as a ringback tone over 200,000 times in Malaysia.
Aziz also earned himself a nomination for Best New Male Artiste at the 2015 Anugerah Planet Muzik.
Despite his success, Aziz – who is a student at Jerudong International School in Brunei – insisted that nothing has changed for him personally.
“I think one of the misconceptions about having this sort of success is that girls would chase after you (laughs). But really, nothing has changed for me. I guess it’s cause I’m not that famous? Maybe when I’m Faizal Tahir-famous then I can tell you if anything feels different,” he said.
He would also like to go on the record and let his schoolmates know that he is not surrounded by bodyguards all the time.
“I don’t get driven around in a Ferrari either and that’s awesome as I want to lead a down-to-earth and humbling life.”
But with one hit single comes the pressure to follow it up with another memorable song and Aziz hopes to escape the dreaded one-hit wonder curse with the release of Beautiful. His new song is breezy pop track which a message about believing in oneself.
“There are too many stories of young musicians who disappear after the success of one hit single. I love what Senyum has done for me. I got to perform the song live at various events and meet people to talk about my career.
“But I realised that if I want to continue being in the music business for a long time, I can’t depend on the success of one song. I was really scared of being a one-hit wonder. So I have to keep writing and releasing new, better songs.”
When Aziz is not working to promote his music in KL, he’s a regular student who plays football for the school team. He also made a pact with his parents to complete his studies before he pursues music full-time.
“In Brunei, I keep my fans here updated via social media. I will post one update per day just to tell everyone how I’m doing. They can see that sometimes I’m just playing around at school or performing at events like weddings.”
Aziz’s heart is set on making music and the chatty teenager is determined to make it work.
“When I met Faizal, he advised me to ‘jangan main-main (don’t fool around)’. I understand where is he coming from. I have to be professional because it is a job.”