New York-based Malaysian singer goes back to her roots for first single.

FOR the past three years, Najwa Mahiaddin braved the chilly winds of Boston where she pursued a music degree at Berklee College Of Music. Now based in the no less cold New York City, the 28-year-old singer is perhaps trying to find warmth and comfort in her Malaysian heritage.

Najwa has just released the first single, Seri Mersing, off her upcoming EP, Aurora, today. Previously sung by numerous artistes, such as Datuk Sharifah Aini and Datuk Siti Nurhaliza, Seri Mersing is a popular ghazal folk song.

But Najwa puts her own spin on the song, adding contemporary beats yet sticking to the original feel. Her voice, tender and honeyed, acts like a warm blanket to the soul.

“Going to Berklee and learning about everyone’s different culture and music has made me realise that as a Malaysian, I, too, have a unique identity to share with the world. Why should I be ashamed of my heritage?

“There’s always a sense of pride when I sing my folk songs here and hearing someone who doesn’t speak the language enjoy the melody regardless,” Najwa said, on her reason for showcasing the folk song in a press statement.

The singer took the local industry by storm in 2010, winning two Anugerah Industri Muzik (AIM) titles for Best New Artiste and Best Local English Song for Got To Go.

Released under her own record label, Nada Biru Muzik, the five-track EP, Aurora, is set for digital release on March 5.

Starting today, keep an ear out for Seri Mersing on local radio stations. It is also available for sale on iTunes, Amazon mp3, as well as via streaming on Spotify.