Back in 2016, singing hopeful Daniesh Suffian was looking forward to audition for reality singing series Akademi Fantasia.
“I posted my audition tape on social media and I got called back for the final rounds of audition,” the Kota Kinabalu native remembers.
“Unfortunately, the audition fell on the same day as my sister’s engagement ceremony.”
Daniesh, then 17, decided to pass up the chance.
But his efforts didn’t go to waste. A week later, that same audition tape he posted landed him a record deal.
He went on to release two singles, I’m Okay and Hingga Kau Terlupa, receiving modest numbers on YouTube but Daniesh couldn’t quite crack into the music industry just yet.
After his contract ended, Daniesh supported himself by singing at weddings and corporate events.
“I’ve been stalking this live band, Hardy & The Crazy Bunch, for a while and I asked if I could sing with them. As the lead vocalist, Hardy, also emcees, I get the chance to sing solo often. We also perform duets together.”
Daniesh, who had little knowledge performing on stage (singing mostly on YouTube), says the experience serves as a good training ground and taught him what it means to be an entertainer.
One of those performances made its way to executives at World Peace Entertainment, a local record label responsible for churning out popular artistes like Ismail Izzani and Naim Daniel.
“They saw a video of me singing at a wedding and reached out to me. I’ve been an artiste under them for about two months now.”
Despite the initial missed opportunity, Daniesh, now 20, never gave up and found his way into the local music industry.
1. How did you passion for the arts start? Were you always into music?
Back in secondary school, I was a sprinter and used to represent Sabah. The furthest I got was when I represented my state at the South-East Asia Youth Athletics Championships for the 4X100m relay.
As for music, I’ve always loved it. Maybe it had to do with the fact that my mother used to sing and my father used to play the drums for RTM in Sabah. So I would spend my time recording YouTube covers at home.
2. What was it like going from performing on YouTube to performing live at events?
I remember one of the first few times I sang at corporate events. As the band that I perform with gets invited to sing at events with high-profile personalities, I got quite nervous. Once, I remember being so nervous that my voice went out of tune.
I thought my band members weren’t going to ask me to sing with them anymore. But they didn’t give up on me. They knew I was just nervous.
I’ve been singing with the band for more than a year now. Thankfully, that has never happened to me again.
When you perform on YouTube, if you make a mistake, you can re-record as many times as you want. So I’ve learned a lot singing at events.
I’m also a shy person. So performing live has helped me open up a lot, as I’m forced to interact with the audience.
3. Despite being relatively new, you’ve gotten the chance to sing with Datuk Seri Siti Nurhaliza and Indonesia’s Bunga Citra Lestari (BCL). What was that like?
Datuk Seri Siti heard our band play at an event and she decided to invite us to play at her wedding anniversary.
During the performance, I got the chance to sing Jason Mraz’s I’m Yours with her. When I first got to know that I’d be duetting with her, I was really nervous, I couldn’t sleep at night. But as I’ve gotten the chance to sing with a few artistes before, I’m used to that feeling.
As for BCL, she organised a contest on Instagram and I won the chance to sing with her at her concert last year at Plenary Hall, Kuala Lumpur. I didn’t expect to win at all. We sang her hit, Aku Dan Dirimu.
4. You’ve just signed with a new record label. Are you working on new material?
I’ve recorded two new songs – Rambang and Sukar. Then recently, I got my followers to help decide which song they’d like me to release as a single on Oct 1.
I posted a snippet of both songs on my Instagram Stories and they seemed to like Sukar more. It has a pop, R&B feel and a motivational message, encouraging listeners when the going gets tough.
5. Netizens have commented that you bear a striking resemblance to Cristiano Ronaldo. Do you see the similarities?
First things first, I’m actually a kaki bangku (bad at playing football). I’m into badminton and athletics. I’ve tried playing football in school and got kicked out of the team (laughs). I have no talent in that at all.
Yes, I do get a lot of people on social media telling me I look like Cristiano Ronaldo. My friends and my management team also tell me that. I don’t think I look like him at all, but I take it as a compliment.