Thursday, October 18, 2007

You can call me MR CLEAN - The New Paper (TNP) Singapore - 17 Oct 2007

M'sian singer Anuar Zain's been in showbiz since his teens, but he has managed to steer clear of controversy

By Sheela Narayanan
October 18, 2007

ON the Malaysian entertainment scene, Anuar Zain is not gossip column material.

He doesn't fool around, smoke, bitch about fellow artistes, get spotted at clubs - unless it is for an event where he is at work - or get pulled in by the police for misdemeanours.
Given that Anuar's single status is potential fodder for much speculation, there have been a few rumoured links to various female singers.
But the talk always fizzles out as quickly as it starts.
He is, as one fellow artiste put it, Mr Clean.
The 37-year-old and his equally popular sister, Ziana Zain, both singers, are the controversy-free duo.
Doesn't that make him, well, boring?
Speaking to The New Paper recently to promote his latest self-titled album, distributed by Universal Music, Anuar seemed fine with the MrClean label.
Boring is good too, he said.
'I don't share my private life with people. I don't like it.
'I think it's not right to do that, as if you are doing it for extra attention,' he said.
Ziana, in an earlier interview with The New Paper, said the siblings have always had this Fort Knox-like attitude about their personal lives.
She and Anuar, the two oldest in a family of five children, were taught not to embarrass their family even when they became stars.
'We are always conscious of not bringing shame to our parents. That's why we steer clear of controversy,' she had said.
Anuar said that if he has a girlfriend, he would tell the media. But don't expect him to dish out the details.
Once again he reiterated his rule: 'Whatever is private is private.'
And no, he does not have anyone special right now because of his packed performance and promotion schedule.

Anuar, whose full name is Shahrul Anuar Zain, started singing at the age of 12 when his policeman father nudged him on stage to sing at a relative's wedding.
In his teenage years, he recorded two albums with his duet partner, Elina. Then, in his late teens, he took a break from the music business.
He gave up the idea of becoming a policeman or a teacher, and eventually settled on joining Malaysia Airlines as a flight attendant. Ziana was already a stewardess with the airline.
After 10 years, he returned to the music industry with a solo self-titled album in 1998.
His good looks, killer cheekbones and pop ballads made him as popular as Ziana, who had started in the industry much earlier.
He has seven albums under his belt and multiple music awards.
He also has two films to his name, Bintang Hati (Star Of My Heart) in 2004 and Soal Hati (Matters Of The Heart) in 2000.
If there is any whiff of controversy, it is surrounding his latest album, his third self-titled one.
The Malaysian media and some members of the music fraternity have berated him for having too many Indonesian producers, arrangers and songwriters on his album. He has involved only three Malaysian producers and songwriters.
The criticism comes at a time when Malaysians may be feeling the heat from the Indonesian singers and bands, who are dominating the airwaves and charts.
Anuar said he had anticipated the industry's outcry. So he published a statement in the CD liner notes to say the album was made without prejudice.
'Music is music and as long as it makes you feel good, it does not matter where it comes from or who created it.'
He added that he had asked for songs from Filipino and Singaporean songwriters such as Imran Ajmain.
Imran had written a song called Cinta (Love), but while Anuar said the song was good, it didn't make it to the final 10 on the album.
Anuar said he had wanted to work with the Indonesian producers for a long time as they are considered to be the best in the region.
Moreover, as popular as he is in Malaysia and Singapore, in Indonesia he is not as well-known as Siti Nurhaliza, one of the few foreign singers to have made it in that country's highly protective music market.
Said Anuar: 'I had to send the producers my music for them to listen; it was like a job interview.
'They don't just work with anyone and they had to know I was a credible artiste.'
The new album took five years to make, a lifetime in the music business for any singer.
Anuar felt he needed that time, as he is 'very fussy'.
He has a full orchestra backing every song and he oversaw each aspect of the production, from the songwriting to the arrangements.
With a laugh, he said: 'I am a control freak. I like to say I am fussy in a positive way.'
While Anuar declined to reveal exactly how much he has spent on this album, he said: 'I could have made two albums on what I spent on this one.
'The promotion alone is costing me RM20,000 ($9,000) to RM25,000.'
On top of that, he had to re-record some tracks because he was not happy with the quality.
He said: 'See what I mean about being a control freak?'

From duets to dates?

IT seems his duet partners can't have dinner with Anuar Zain in public. They end up being on this most eligible bachelor's list of alleged romantic liaisons.
18 October 2007

IT seems his duet partners can't have dinner with Anuar Zain in public. They end up being on this most eligible bachelor's list of alleged romantic liaisons.

The duo were linked in 2005 when they worked together and were spotted sharing a meal at a Thai restaurant in Kuala Lumpur.
While they denied they were dating, Siti told Berita Harian Malaysia at the time that Anuar 'greatly respected women'.
She is now married to Datuk Khalid Mohd Jiwa.

The Singapore-born singer-actress was reported to have dated Anuar in 2001, but she told The New Paper at the time that while they went out on several dinner dates, they were 'very good friends'.

Another Singapore-born singer linked with Anuar. But Ning, who is engaged to be married, said in 2004: 'Anuar's like a big brother to me. There are no love sparks between us.'

She collaborated on an album with Anuar but denied any romantic links.

She frequently performs with Anuar but talk of them going out didn't last very long.

This is another speculated relationship with a duet partner that didn't materialise.

- end of news -

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