TOUGH competition faces those preparing for their big day at Anugerah Juara Lagu 32 (AJL 32) at Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil on Feb 11.
AJL first-timers Salma Asis, 27, and Nursyazwany “Wany” Hasrita Hasbullah, 25, however, said they felt good about their chances.
Mother-of-two Salma has two reality show wins under her belt, and a strong fan base in her home state of Sabah. Better still, she is the protege of composer Mohd Faizal Maas, or Ajai, known to be a hitmaker.
Wany may be a freshie at singing, but her appearance on YouTube belting out her first single, Menahan Rindu, last January, garnered more than 25 million views.
Salma said: “Ajai is my trump card. He’s a perfectionist who coached me for a year. We started working together after I won 3 Juara in January.”
Salma also won Mentor 5 in 2011 as Erra Fazira’s protege.
She will perform Ajai’s composition, Akhirnya Cinta, with lyrics by Slen.
It is her fifth single after
Aku Permata (2011), Seruan Jiwa (2013), Maafkan (2014) and Jiwa Bersatu (2015), the last being a duet with her husband, Azri Abdullah, of Akademi Fantasia 9.
The ballad became popular when it was used as the theme song for TV3’s drama series Ku Kirim Cinta last June.
“Having your single used for a drama attracts listeners, but if it’s one composed by Ajai, it’s very likely to be a theme song,” said Salma, who is signed to Ajai’s recording company, Wake The Baby.
“From Mentor 5 up to 3 Juara, I’ve learnt a lot about the music scene, and I feel more confident in my career path.”
Wany, who intends to further her studies at the post-graduate level next year, viewed singing as a hobby.
“I never thought of joining showbiz until recently.”
She said her mother’s retrenchment last year prompted her to “learn to be financially independent” by becoming a recording artiste.
“I chose to record a single, and Menahan Rindu, created by Ibnu and Gouffran, has since propelled me to fame. I’m still trying to come to terms with this.”
Recently graduated with a degree in medical science from Management and Science University in Shah Alam, she plans to do her master’s degree in medical science and become a lecturer.
Wany said her nerves showed when she first performed
onstage in TV3’s chart show Muzik Muzik early this year, but said she has since overcome her shyness.
“It was stage fright. I still feel nervous before every big performance.
“I’m going to give my best, and my strength is the support I’ve received on YouTube.
“Qualifying for AJL is the best birthday present ever,” said Wany, who will celebrate her birthday on Dec 24.