Malaysian all-female quartet Nama has been going from strength to strength on Asia’s Got Talent (AGT).
The girls may have only gotten two out of three yeses from the judges during the auditions round (judge David Foster felt: “the singing is not good enough yet”) but netizens couldn’t get enough of the group’s performance.
The audition performance, which saw Nama singing Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance, has raked in nearly 2 million YouTube views since it was uploaded about three weeks ago. On Instagram, Nama’s initial 4,000 followers has swelled to over 30,000 followers within 24 hours.
“When we first started, the exposure we had was quite small,” group member Nur Fazrina, 28, explains the group’s decision to join the reality talent series.
“We only performed at corporate dinners and did covers on social media. It’s very hard to penetrate the music industry. There are not that many vocal groups. To capture the Malaysian market was a bit hard. So we thought maybe AGT would be a good platform.”
And it has proven to be a good move. Last Friday, Nama – comprising Fazrina, Noor Syamimi, Norfazira and Nur Farahida – received its biggest news yet: The quartet made it to the semi-finals.
Nama joins another Malaysian contestant, 15-year-old Yaashwin Sarawanan, also known as the Human Calculator, in the semi-finals.
“We first met through an arts festival organised by our university, where there were different singing styles we could compete in – like nasyid or choir,” Fazrina recalls the group’s start in 2017.
“We got very active in nasyid in particular. That’s how we got serious about singing harmonies. And from there, our vocal coach came up with the idea of forming Nama.”
Last September, the girls sang for AGT’s producers in an open audition, which set the wheels in motion.
“The biggest challenge is finding the time to meet,” says Fazrina who works full-time at an NGO and has taken leave to prepare for the competition.
“As a vocal group, it’s important to always meet and practise so that we sound good. In the initial stages of the competition, I was working and Fazira was studying. But now that we’ve made it this far, we are making it a point to practise every night,” Fazrina adds.
The group also recalls being turned down by Foster during the auditions round.
“We took it positively,” Fazrina shares. “When we first entered AGT, our aim was to impress him because he is such a big record producer. When he said no, he gave us his advice and we took it very seriously.”
The girls have also been taking criticisms from netizens with an open heart and looking at where they can improve themselves.
“Some people said what we wore during the auditions looked like Zumba outfits,” Fazira shares with a laugh.
“Before we stepped on stage, we taught we looked good, but when we watched the video later, we realised, yes, we did look like we were in Zumba outfits.
“It’s a good thing. So now we know how to better ourselves,” Fazira says.
Reflecting on the quartet’s future, Nama has plans to release a Malay single as well as an English album. “We want to penetrate into markets both in and outside of Malaysia,” Fazrina reveals.
As to whether the members have plans to forge their own solo careers, Fazira replies: “We want to have careers both as a group and as a soloist. We’ll see how things go, but no matter what, we will still be in this group.
“Nowadays, in Malaysia, there aren’t many female groups anymore and we want to bring that back.”
Asia’s Got Talent airs every Thursday at 8.30pm on AXN (Astro Ch 701).