Malaysian pop queen Siti Nurhaliza's first solo concert here in six years, on April 12, will have distinctively Singaporean elements.
Besides having Singapore Idol Taufik Batisah as her special guest and duet partner, she will also pay tribute to Singapore music talents with her renditions of their songs.
But Siti, 35, was tight-lipped about details of her show at the Star Theatre in a telephone interview with Life! conducted in Malay.
"I don't want to give too much away because I want the fans to be surprised," she says. "All I can say is that there are so many good songs and artists from Singapore who are popular in Malaysia, so I will be singing some of those songs."
Whether it is covers or new original songs of her own that she is singing at the show, the focus is firmly on the music, she is quick to add.
Although she is known for her stylish and elaborate traditional Malay dresses, she plans to have only three different costumes for the show.
Siti says: "I don't want to have too many costume changes, otherwise it will feel like a fashion show rather than a concert."
It has been "too long" since she last staged a solo concert here at the Esplanade Theatre in 2008, says Siti, who has appeared in joint shows and guest appearances since then, including the 2012 New Year Countdown show at The Float @ Marina Bay as well as a co- headlining concert with Singapore-born singer-songwriter-producer M. Nasir at the Esplanade Theatre in 2010.
She adds: "While I find my fans in Singapore are just as loyal as the ones in Malaysia, I feel the shows I do in Singapore are more special because I don't perform there as often as I do back home."
She recalls talking to a fan at a recent Malaysian concert: "When I asked her how long she had been listening to my music, she said she had been a fan since she was five years old. She's now 25.
"To have fans who grow up with my music is something that I will never forget and it's the sweetest part about my singing career so far."
Born in Pahang, the daughter of a policeman first came to prominence when she won a national singing contest by television station Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) in 1995.
Since then, her rise in the Malaysian music industry has been meteoric. She counts more than 200 singing awards to her name, a record for any Malaysian artist. These include winning the Most Popular Regional Artist 10 years in a row at Anugerah Planet Muzik, an annual awards show for Malay and Indonesian artists from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.
To date, she has released 16 albums, including one in English, and counts more than four million in album sales.
Married to Datuk Seri Khalid Mohamad Jiwa, a 55-year-old businessman, she also runs several companies, including a cosmetic line,
Simply Siti, and entertainment company Siti Nurhaliza Productions. She and her husband have no children of their own, although he has four sons from a previous marriage.
Siti, who holds the Malaysian honorary title of Dato', is also one of Malaysia's most popular social media personalities, with 1.4 million followers on Twitter and more than half a million Instagram followers.
She says: "I love using social media as it helps me be closer to my fans. I don't mind uploading pictures or posting about my personal life, like what meals I am preparing in the kitchen, as it lets them see that I'm just a normal person. Even artists like me need to cook too."
DATO' SITI NURHALIZA LIVE IN SINGAPORE 2014
Where: The Star Theatre
When: April 12, 8pm
Admission: $45, $68, $128, $158 and $178 from Sistic.
Go to www.sistic.com.sg or call 6348-5555. $88 and $198 tickets are sold out
This article was published on April 3 in The Straits Times.
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