I’m working on this audio podcast series called #PuisiTakBerlagu taken from my song “Di Kalung Kasihan”. Let me introduce to you, young poet, Taufiq Azhar, enthusiastic about peeling off the poetic layers of my songs, even the songs I didn’t write but chose to record for my 3 albums. It’s being supported by Merpati Jingga, a publication movement, LaguBestBest, a lyric portal, Radio MyUFM, UITM Dungun’s online radio, and Mangkuk.my, a brand new information/technology website. Lotsa work! Hope you will be a part of it!

XX

Imran

Praise Allah for 33 healthy years, all its ups and downs, ins and outs, good and bad, happy and sad. Thank you too.

In 1 week, last week, I went to Singapore three times from Kuala Lumpur in a bid to take care of the venue, sponsors, and reception for the album launch event that took place last Saturday. I don’t think I’ve ever been this hands-on and so involved in my own event before. I think the last time this took place was during Beats Society times 2005-2006, but then again, during that time, I had a lot of full-time help within Singapore. Times have changed! I brought my Mak, who is a trusted interior decorator in her own right, to come along with me to one of the sponsors.

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Second Charm has a brilliant collection of custom-made retro furniture that looked like they came out of “Growing Up” set, except that they don’t have the “Kerusi Pak Awang”. These are fine Scandinavian and modern European pieces that were very popular during the Mod era. I particularly liked this one. I’m not sure what it is called, but it’s not enough for two, but just nice for me! LOL. I picked a few more, thanks to Mdm Sharifah who let me use it for staging at the Arts House! You can visit Second Charm at secondcharm.net. Shout out to Suhanah Hanipah for helping me out pick out some pieces albeit you were en route to Umrah!

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And then I went shopping. I can’t tell you where else I could get such a good bargain on bottled sodas like these. I had ransacked the Thai supermarket at Golden Mile Complex (no, we didn’t go to Thailand). I was rather shocked to hear the lady, who struggled to speak in English, that “no mo’ Fanta because Songkran”, but she said she’ll give me whatever she has, which was more than enough. Two Rayas ago, I served these babies at my Mak’s house with fancy straws, no less, to everyone’s delight. Thanks to Suzey for reminding me about these classic drinks! Thanks to Anne for helping out as well. More updates to come later!

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Baru saja semalam saya bincang tentang topik ni. Tiba-tiba hari ini dapat DM di Twitter seorang anak muda minta tolong nak jadi seorang penyanyi. Kalau lengkap dengan link YouTube atau SoundCloud, atau minta email untuk hantar demo pun masih OK lagi tapi dia teruskan permintaannya dengan 3 lagi mesej menceritakan dia ingin menjadi penyanyi kerana nak membantu keluarga dia yang susah. Rasa kasihan ada, rasa marah juga ada. Mungkin media dah menggambarkan kehidupan artis sebagai sangat ‘glamourous’ dan usually leave out the dirty work involved, so it is easy for one to think they can be successful as an artiste. My reply to the boy was quite matter-of-fact, there’s no two ways about it: “maaf ya. nak jadi penyanyi tu tak boleh membantu keluarga tanpa usaha sendiri. lebih keluarkan duit dari dapat duit.” Can you say otherwise?

Ok, let me share a little bit of the process.

You have a talent, whether it is extraordinary or mediocre, itu lain cerita. But, yang penting, you have a decent singing voice. So what do you do next? If you can play any instruments, namely the guitar or the piano, or even better, you can compose your own music, then you’re off to an OK start, I didn’t say good start, I said OK start. I think you should be recording on YouTube frequently, that’s what most kids are doing these days. So for someone to NOT know what to do, where to go, I think that’s just sad. When I was younger, I used to follow the likes of Diddy (Puff Daddy a.k.a Sean Combs), Jay Z, Robbie Williams, Maxwell and Erykah Badu. I found out which labels they are from, where do they record, who are the musicians that tour with them, what magazine covers they are on, what it takes to be like them, etc etc etc. These days, people don’t even know who wrote the hit songs of their favourite artistes.

I think you should find one true artiste that you like, love and/or adore. Find out what it took them to get to where they are, their record label and other representations. Senang je. Boleh Google, atau baca dalam artwork sleeve CD album. Who distributes their ringtones? Who distributes their digital music? Who gets the shows for them? Where do they record? You think you can do that tak? Well, SEO is cerita lain hari. But I think with what information you can get hold of, it will set a fundamental who can really prepare a demo for and send it to. Do it. Kalau tunggu orang panggil kita, nak bagi your family makan, sampai tua lapar, bro.

Just my 2 sen.

10 days to my album launch in Singapore. Pre-order of my album on iTunes. 

p/s Came out in the papers today with an unacceptable photograph gracing the page, that’s why I didn’t promote it. LOL!

 

 

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Semalam dapat peluang untuk bersama Chad dan Deen di conti HotFM untuk segmen mereka Zon30 HotFM. Rasa dah lama sangat tak appear di stesen radio tersebut. Rasanya, the last time muncul masa segmen Rock bersama Leya circa “Dikalung Kasihan” promo. It was a particularly good session. Mostly sebab dapat bercakap banyak tentang proses pembikinan album terbaharu “Setulus Kasih” yang bakal keluar hujung bulan ini.

Most of the time, the argument about artistes being “hard-working” adalah mereka yang datang awal, jaga badan (bina badan, for some) and selalu bertampil kemas. I think it is largely overlooked that there are many artistes like me. Walaupun muzik kami adalah ber-genre Pop, kita sepenuhnya berpendirian “indie”. That means, kita bertanggung-jawab untuk artwork album, berurusan dengan printers, partners, dan lain-lain lagi. I’m considered lucky I still have a management company in this day and age of Malay music (that’s another story) but on a general note, I think those yang nak jadi artis still think that “someone will offer you a bulk of money, get you great songs to sing, and all media will unconditionally support you, and you will be loved by thousands when you perform on stage”. That’s not true, not true at all. I think the process is so long and tiresome that most people don’t even go through the entire motion, and give up halfway sebab “tak tahu macam mana nak buat”.

Had a great chat about this yesterday with my PR folks from Indigital Music whom I’m now signed to. They distribute my ‘new media’ and service the radio stations. That’s Wati and Ejam. I think kalau artis itu tak tahu apa dia nak dan tak yakin untuk mendapatkannya dengan usaha sendiri, tak mungkin boleh diminta orang lain untuk keluar dan mencari untuk kita. At the end of the day, kita semua “indie” in some way. Sedangkan juara pertandingan nyanyian pun tidak dijamin cahaya bintangnya, apa lagi kita..? Fikirkan, geng!

You can now pre-order my album on iTunes.

p/s Saya bukan artis jaga badan. Semalam pekena Kanna Curry House, Petaling Jaya, 2 kali tambah! Heh

Flew to Brunei in a hurry and was back after a day. Got to meet some kind fans who came to the hotel with gifts! Sorry to those who I couldn’t respond to. Got to love Brunei. Will be back soon.

Know what you’re getting yourself into.

1. Putting your song on SoundCloud or YouTube doesn’t make it a single. It requires you to get press mentions, be it traditional media or online media, for it to be called a “single”. Better if you can get radio air-play, then it becomes a “radio single”. If it’s just YouTube with no actual sale or promotion, then it’s just “one of my songs”, not a single.

2. You want some spotlight, why private Instagram account? When people start looking you up for your work, they are probably going to find you first on the popular social networks that they prefer, and when your account is a locked up harem of personal party pictures that you have to carefully select who you allow in your club, then you’re not going to be a star, in any manner. You want to show off your crazy lifestyle, go ahead, but not in a private account. It turns people off.

3. If you’re a singer, don’t turn up at the film and TV drama events. If you’re an actor, you also don’t have business at the music award shows strutting your local-designer goods. No matter what people say “Oh we’re here to support each other”, it doesn’t really work that way. Come for events where people know who you are, and where you (believe you can) add value to it.

4. Know that Facebook allows only 5000 friends in your personal Facebook account and nobody actually has 5000 friends. It gets messy, trust me. Have a Facebook Page and share only the good stuff; sync your Instagram with it.

5. Diplomacy can be overrated. People who like you for your craft will squeeze what they have out of you in the guise that it is good for you and your career, and people who don’t like you might later learn the gems you have to offer if you last long in this career. Always remind yourself and also the ugly people that you happen to work with that “only God offers you rezeki” and don’t be afraid to say No. Don’t be afraid to say Yes also, because it’s the dark experiences that makes you who you are when you reach a big milestone later.

Love,
Someone Who Cares!

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I had the great privilege of owning a premium WeChat account where our login is not via the mobile app, but via desktop/web. With this function, I’m allowed to broadcast messages including audio and video files to my followers. What started out as a humble 400 following for quite sometime had skyrocketed to 1700 followers in the past week. I’ve been promoting for people to “follow” me to have a sneak peak at the ‘Setulus Kasih’ song that I was going to share to only my WeChat followers. Based on my previous experience, it might take up to 2 hours for everyone to receive my message(s). I had uploaded the 30 second clip at 8pm and even though I said I’d start chatting at 10pm to 11pm, I started at 6pm right through til 1am! Thank you WeChat Malaysia for believing in me wanting to try something new with my music.

Terima kasih juga kepada semua yang download WeChat hanya semata-mata nak dengar lagu ‘Setulus Kasih’. Ada yang dah memang terror dah, dia yang mengajar kita gambar dan audio yang saya hantar boleh share ke Moments untuk tatapan contacts yang lain. Ada yang banyak pulak soalan tanya macam-macam semasa sesi chat tapi saya OK jer. Maaf kepada mereka yang “follow” akaun saya selepas pukul 8malam, tak dapatlah dengar previu lagu tu! Next time ya. Terima kasih memberi sokongan kepada lagu baru saya ya. Insya-Allah, kita chatting lagi! Thank you semua!

Today, in Singapore, I got to meet the talented illustrator, Izwandy, who used only coloured pencils to draw a portrait of me. He had passed me the original, and I had signed a copy for himself. Masya-Allah, I cannot possibly draw like he can; such an amazing gift. Thank you again!

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Received this piece of art from ArtPortraits. Baik per?? It does look like me, but maybe a little skinny than I actually am. Can I use this for the new album cover artwork? The moment I received this, I obsessively changed all the avatars in all my social media networks. Did I miss out anything?

My passion for technology news, and all things apps and gadgets, was paused for a second when I realized that such literature is hardly available in Malay. There’s Amanz.my but they don’t cover the stuff I like, for example, YouTube monetization tutorials for artistes (in Malay), or how to get onto Spotify (in Malay), and perhaps, how does free audio streaming really work, (in Malay)? So guess what I did?

Look out for THIS when it becomes a clickable link soon.

I think I have spent too much time on social media, consuming and contributing on a daily basis and have come to a point where it is not exciting as before. I like routines. I wake up, check for missed messages and calls, check Twitter first, then browse through Instagram, skim through Facebook a bit while waiting for the unread messages to load, and the occasional Tumblr-ing. Oh ya, how can I forget? Even trying to see what’s up on Google+. How long can one do this? Just because you’re a fan of fried chicken, doesn’t mean you would eat it everyday right? Ok, some would, bad example. My point is that: As a social media enthusiast, the longer you’re online, the more you do, the more you have to do. The more you consume, the more you contribute. I even asked if it was a good idea to get off it, everyone says they could do without going online for 24 hours maximum. Can you? Erm, can I?

I have decided to blog again, like I did throughout the 90s and early 2000s where it was a joy to read and write online journals, and chronicle the daily doings and opinion to purposefully find a voice. At the Singapore Writers Festival, I was surrounded by readers and writers. I told Rauzan that “most of these talks start off really slow, and when it picks up and gets intense, it’s already finishing”. I was right. It just ended while we were right on course with the discussions. There must be a way for me to say more, to give more, to absorb and learn more at the same time. Botched writing deal, kiss my a**! I know what I can do.

Thanks to my fanclub, #imtiaz100, for encouraging me. They even remember that my old blog was called “Diari Seekor Kumbang” (Diary of a Bug). Oh, those days were fun. They call it long-reads now because everyone is on Twitter for short and quick rants. Twitter is just too quick. Facebook is just too crowded. But here, here on my own blog, is a sort of peaceful garden where you come only for me, only to see me, (how syiok sendiri that sounds). But it is via my blog too, let me remind you, that I did say too much at one time, and unintentionally offended some people with my idealistic opinions. You know what they say, the pen (or keyboard) is mightier than the sword! Not that I’m going to purposely ruffle some feathers, but if this is the only way to be heard, I will try not to be careless. I will tweet less, post less on Facebook, and write here more often. You will simply have to start paying attention.

Here we go. Digital decrease, self-help/self-upgrade/spiritual-healing/Alzheimer’s-prevention increase, starts now.

p/s Thanks to the Admin team who have been updating for the past year!