Wednesday, April 9, 2008

No MONEY, no ROCK - The New Paper (SG) Apr 2, 2008

M'sian singer Anuar Zain is an A-list star, but he has no sponsors for first solo concert here
HE may be an A-list artiste in Malaysia.
By Sheela Narayanan
02 April 2008

HE may be an A-list artiste in Malaysia.
But when it comes to paying to hold his first solo concert across the Causeway, singer Anuar Zain doesn't have the money.
In a recent telephone interview with The New Paper from Kuala Lumpur, the 37-year-old singer said he needs about RM1.5 million ($650,000) to stage the show.
His predicament comes as a surprise considering that Anuar - brother of fellow artiste Ziana Zain - has been in the music business for over 10 years and is considered to be one of the big names in Malaysia.
So what's the problem? No sponsors, Anuar said.
'Being an A-lister doesn't promise you anything,' he said.
'The big companies, especially the big telcos (telecommunications companies) prefer to sponsor international or Indonesian acts.'
He pointed out the slew of concerts in Malaysia, like the Sunburst KL International Music Festival last month that had George Clinton and John Legend in the line-up.
Indonesian pop rock band Peter Pan, too, has a major Malaysian telco backing their tour around the Peninsula.
For Anuar, his plan is to hold his own concert in KL later this year.
But he explained that he needs money to pay for the rental of the venue, bringing in Indonesian musicians, as well as other logistics like putting together a state of the art sound and lighting systems.
Anuar left Malaysian company Syncrosound Records Label Music in 2004 over a dispute about his royalties.
Since then he has been an independent artiste. He released his third self-titled album last year.
While he declined to reveal how much he spent on it, he told The New Paper in an ealier interview that he could have made two albums with what he spent on this one.
He spent between RM20,000 and RM25,000 on promoting it.
And since he is not represented by a major recording label now, it is up to him to drum up the sponsors himself.
'Since this is my first solo concert, I want to do a grand one that will leave an impact on my audience,' he added.
'Which is why we need the big bucks. If I did it on my own, I might not recover the losses.'
Anuar, whose full name is Shahrul Anuar Zain, has not done a big solo concert in his professional singing life.
He has either performed with other singers as part of an awards show or in small solo shows in intimate surroundings like a club or at dinner and dances.
Anuar started in the music business in his teens but took a 10-year hiatus to join Malaysia Airlines as a steward.
In 1998, he returned to the music business with his first self-titled album.
He has seven albums under his belt and multiple music awards.
Anuar said he had been thinking about staging this solo show for the last three to four years.
If he is able to pull it off, the concert will be part of his promotion for his third self-titled album, which he released through his own company Anuar Zain Network last year.
He said he is not planning on having an opening act or guest performers.
'I think I can do this on my own,' he added.
But artistes in the Malay music industry say it is not always easy to take the independent, self-financed route in the business.
Performer Imran Ajmain, who has staged several independent solo concerts in Singapore, says it is 'a very expensive enterprise' to mount a concert without sponsors.
The 27-year-old Singaporean singer, who runs Beats Society, an organisation he set up to raise awareness of Singaporean hip-hop groups, said he was not able to recoup his losses.
'In the past, I made a mistake of paying out of my own pocket for my concerts and relying on ticket sales to recoup expenses,' he added.
'The way to have a successful concert is to get sponsors to advertise in your show.'
Anuar, though, is determined to stay positive despite his difficulties in getting his concert off the ground.
'It is challenging, but I will keep trying,' he said.

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