While many seasoned singers have taken a break at one point or another in their career, Dayang Nurfaizah has never stopped making music throughout her 20-year music journey.
The Sarawakian songstress has had a frontrow seat to the changes in music trends and technology over the years and yet has managed to stand strong through it all.
In fact, Dayang has found more success in the past four years compared to her early days as a singer.
Beginning in 2014, Dayang won Best Vocal Performance at the Anugerah Juara Lagu for three consecutive years. On top of that, her searing ballad, Lelaki Teragung, won the grand prize, Best Song, last year.
She shares the secret to her recent successes: “For a long time I thought, since I’m the one singing, I’ll choose the type of songs I like to sing.
“So what happened was, I finally found that balance between what I like to sing and what listeners like to hear.”
For many years, Dayang’s music had a heavy R&B influence which, unfortunately, didn’t attract many listeners. These days, she has built a name for incorporating her soulful R&B roots into heart-rending power ballads.
The formula has worked once again as Dayang has not one, not two, but three songs competing at the semi-finals of Muzik Muzik this year – Dia, Layarlah Kembali and Haram, a duet with Hael Husaini.
The 37-year-old singer is well aware that the audience expects her to top her previous years’ award-winning performances.
“Yes, it’s stressful,” she admits. “I have to think what else can I do that’s different from last year. I want to make sure that I show improvement. I don’t want to stay the same.
“So that makes me feel pressured. At the same time, it fuels me to think creatively and see what else I can do.”
This applies to her choice of fashion as well. Year after year, Dayang’s performances have proven that they aren’t just a feast for the ears but the eyes as well.
“The clothes, the hair and make-up, we tailor it according to the mood of each song. These things are important because it makes the performance complete.
“With three songs, I have a bit of a headache,” she says with a laugh.
The Muzik Muzik semi-final round airs live over three separate Fridays. Thankfully, the performances of her three songs are spread out across the three weeks.
In the event that all three songs advance to the final round, Dayang will have to sing all three in one night.
Asked if she’s thought about the strategies and logistics involved in making sure each performance is a success, the singer responds: “I don’t want to think about that for now. My focus is on performing my best for the semi-finals.
“Because if I think too far ahead, I will lose my focus on the semi-finals.”
Muzik Muzik is a weekly music chart show. Viewers vote for their favourite songs to enter and remain on the chart for as long as possible.
Thirty songs that clock in the most weeks on the chart by the end of the year will advance to the semi-final round. Here, each song is performed live in front of a panel of judges who will then whittle down the 30 songs to only 12.
In the splashy finale known as Anugerah Juara Lagu (AJL), these 12 songs are performed live again to a panel of judges for a shot at the prestigious title, Best Song.
The semi-finals of Muzik Muzik airs for three Fridays, beginning Nov 9, Nov 16 and Nov 23 at 9pm on TV3. The AJL finale will take place on Feb 3.