Saturday, September 12, 2015

Stay, See

Mariel Chow speaks to pop sensation Stacy Angie Anam about her humble beginnings and her rise from high school dropout to music chart record breaker.

Stacy Angie Anam was born 18 August 1990 and hails from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. Her rise from high school dropout to local sensation was quick after she won Akademi Fantasia 6 (AF6) in May 2008. Known as the ‘Malaysian Dancing Queen’, Stacy is celebrated for her infectious sound and sweet moves. After her victory in AF6, Stacy released her first single, Aku Stacy, which made history as one of the few tracks to stay in the charts for 22 weeks. By the end of 2008, she had made it to the final round of Anugerah Juara Lagu – a rare accomplishment for industry newcomers – and was even given the Most Popular Female Artist award at the 22nd Anugerah Bintang Popular Berita Harian.

Stacy was the first ever Sabahan to receive the Sabah Youth Icon award. Furthermore, in 2009, she received the JCI Outstanding Young Person of Sabah award for her achievements in culture and arts. With 27 singles and four albums under her belt, Stacy has demonstrated her passion for music and continues to blow us away with her can-do attitude, hard work and unrelenting determination. Only 25 years young and showing no signs of stopping, Stacy talks to us about her humble beginnings as a club singer, how she rose to the top, and why she will forever be grateful to her craft, family and fans.

You dropped out of high school at the age of 16 to support your family financially. Do you have any regrets making that decision at such a young age?

Of course I have regrets. If I could turn back time and repeat that moment all over again, I probably wouldn’t have dropped out. I would at least have completed my SPM (High School Certificate). My family was very poor. Not only that, there were eight mouths to feed. I had no choice. I left school at Form Four, and started working as a club singer. The money was great and it definitely helped reduce my family’s financial woes. In any case, what’s done is done and I have to accept my choices and move on. Everything happens for a reason. My decision to be a teenage club singer wasn’t the wisest of choices, but my success at AF6 did mean that I got a full scholarship to study at the Limkokwing University of Creative Technology.

How was life working as a teenage club singer and has singing always been your dream?
Honestly, the money was quite good. I worked every night except Mondays and the hours were from 9pm to 2am. I worked in four different clubs and brought back a monthly salary of up to RM1500. Singing has been my dream since I was a little girl. I remember singing my first song, Tamparan Wanita by Elite at eight years of age and, by 13, my family knew I had talent and understood that this would be my career path and future.

What are you studying in Limkokwing, and how is your tertiary education progressing so far?
I am currently undertaking a Diploma in Sound and Music. While I do enjoy attending classes and improving my technical skill, I have taken a break from Limkokwing because my schedule as an artist has been incredibly hectic. While I cannot confirm when I’ll be hitting the books again, it will be as soon as my schedule is more laxed and less frenzied.

Before AF6, you auditioned in One in a Million and Gang Starz. You only reached the top 40 in One in a Million and the semi-finals in Gang Starz. Why didn’t you give up on your dreams after being booted out by two different reality singing shows?
To me it’s all about passion. It all boiled down to how much I loved to sing and how much I loved music. It really didn’t matter that I got booted off two other singing shows; the point was to never throw in the towel. I have always dreamed of being a singer, had the drive and passion and wanted nothing less. As they say: Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

You won AF6, and Ramli Mohd Salleh – the Akademi Fantasia Principal in 2008 – praised you every week for consistency. How did you manage to stay focused throughout the competition, and what have you learned from the competition that you still apply today?
I remained focused throughout the competition by taking every class very seriously. I maintained my consistency week after week by listening to the chosen song, studying it, and learning how to adapt to its feel and emotion. Apart from that, I also had the opportunity to pick up dance in AF6. I had learned belly dancing and jazz dance in Kota Kinabalu prior to that, but I never had any serious dance training. After winning AF6, I decided to work more on my dance skills and I have to say that my favourite type of dance has to be hip-hop.

I learned many thing from AF6 that I still apply to my career today. But if I had to choose one, it definitely has to be singing technique. For example, they taught me how to warm up my voice and how to get rid of a sore throat. Possessing a beautiful voice can only get you so far, as artists we need to apply what we have learned and grow everyday. I can honestly admit that if not for AF6, I would not be the singer I am today. Through the competition, I have only grown to be a better vocalist, dancer and recording artist.

You released your first single, Aku Stacy, in 2008 and it peaked at No. 1 on Carta Era for two weeks as well Carta Era 30. Your single stayed in the charts for 22 weeks making chart history. How did you make that happen? How did you feel knowing your single had such a strong following?
At that moment, I didn’t revel in my success. All I wanted to do was work on my next single and produce more music. My goal was not to rest on my laurels but to keep moving forward. Honestly, I really didn’t expect my first single to stay in the charts for 22 weeks let alone become a No. 1 hit. I am incredibly humbled and grateful. At the end of the day, I have to thank all my fans for their unrelenting support and I’m blessed to know that they still have my back till this very day. Without my fans I am nothing. If not for them, my music would not be successful.

Aku Stacy made it to the final round of Anugerah Juara Lagu in December 2008. In that same year, you were a finalist for two major categories in Anugerah Bintang Popular. You were voted Most Popular New Female Artist. You were also recognised as Sabah’s First Youth Icon by the Sabah Ministry of Youth and Sports. You have also won other awards such as the Popstar Award, Hotlink’s People’s Choice Award, Favourite Online Female Celebrity and many more. These are a few of your many accomplishments throughout a lustrous career. In your opinion, what is your biggest accomplishment and why?
My best achievement has nothing to do with winning awards. My greatest accomplishment is the fact that I’m living my dream and have the satisfaction of knowing that I can sing, dance, and perform for my fans. I feel really blessed that people love my music and I am accomplished not because of my awards but because I have fans and followers who support and love me as an artist.

While awards may not matter much to me, I do appreciate that they are important in my career. Admittedly, the more awards I receive, the more fans I will have and I’m ecstatic that my hard work has paid off.

Getting to this point has been challenging. From my club singing days to getting booted off other singing competitions, I had to work very hard to become a successful artist. Yes, I have a great music label to support and manage me, but I work very hard and am a slave to the arts. I go to the studio all the time to practice song and dance. My bread and butter are my performances because once fans love the performance, they will automatically love the song.

You launched your album Aku Stacy in Kota Kinabalu. How does it feel being one of the most celebrated artists from East Malaysia? Are you still supporting your family financially?
I’m proud that I’m able to represent Sabah in a positive light. I am here to prove that Sabah has talented artists and that we are a force to be reckoned with. Of course I am still supporting my family financially. The biggest gift I have given my parents is rebuilding and renovating their home in Penampang. This is the greatest contribution I have made to them. It is our family home and this is where the whole family gathers. Apart from that, I still send money home for additional financial support. While my priority will always be my family, this doesn’t mean I haven’t splurged on myself. Since my success, the first expensive thing I bought for myself was a car – a Toyota Wish. Looking back, I’ve come a long way since my teenage club singing days. To be honest, I didn’t think my popularity would go beyond two years post-AF6. I’m grateful that my star still shines and words cannot describe how happy and appreciative I am.

What do you think about being tagged “The Malaysian Dancing Queen”?
My music genre is dance music and I dance in my performances. But I have never had any formal dance training apart from AF6. If and when I perform any of my songs, I just change choreography. Depending on the track, the type of dance can be anywhere from hip-hop to voguing.

Who was your biggest inspiration?
My father was my biggest motivator. Although my dad was not a celebrity artist, he loved to sing and play the guitar. I remember being just seven or eight years old when I first sang with my old man. In a way, my father was my first vocal coach and he is definitely my catalyst and inspiration.

Credit to: Cosmetic Surgery and Beauty Magazine Malaysia

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