Noor Ashikin Abdul Rahman
The New Paper
Friday, 31 May, 2015
His upcoming EP, in his opinion, is his "best piece of work" to date.
That's because Singapore Idol 3 winner and local singer-songwriter Sezairi Sezali, 28, was inspired by his wife-to-be.
The self-titled work is set for release in the second half of this year and its central theme is his six-year relationship with his fiancee Syaza Qistina Tan, 24.
The five songs on the EP were all written over the course of their relationship, some dating as far back as 2009, when they had just got together.
Calling it a "passion project", Sezairi told The New Paper: "It's so honest and I'm not trying to please anyone but myself. It's very personal and that makes me really scared to release it."
Sezairi released his debut album Take Two in 2010 and has put out hits like Sayang (Malay for love) and Jangan Coba Berlari (Malay for don't try to run).
He bares his heart in new tracks like Better Than and Terrified, featuring local rapper Kevin Lester (also known as The Lion City Boy). Terrified is about the fear of diving too quickly into a relationship and messing up. Admitted Miss Syaza: "They are not all happy songs, half of them are about our tough times. We've been together for six years, so there has been plenty of that."
The pair met in December 2008 when they were working for an arts festival for children at the Esplanade.
They got together in May the following year and a month after that, Miss Syaza, a branch manager at performing arts academy School of Music, which is co-owned by celebrity couple Sheikh Haikel and Anna Belle Francis, encouraged Sezairi to sign up for the local reality TV singing competition Singapore Idol 3.
He won the title and credits his victory to Miss Syaza, who had advised him against singing a self-penned song for the final and to instead pick US rock act Aerosmith's Crazy.
Sezairi, who recently signed with major label Sony Music, popped the question last December on the set of forthcoming historical film 1965.
He plays a police constable in what is his debut acting role. He said: "I saw it as a unique opportunity. If I hadn't done it, I would never get the chance to do it like that ever again."
While filming in Batam, Sezairi and Malaysian actress Deanna Yusoff, who plays his on-screen mother, conspired with the cast and crew to catch Miss Syaza off-guard with the proposal.
She had accompanied him on-set as his "appointed assistant".
Said Sezairi: "Director Randy Ang had plenty of ideas.
"Deanna was sick that day, but she told me, 'Don't propose without me. Even if I have to drag my dead body from the ground, I want to see you propose to her.'"
The video of the proposal was uploaded onto his YouTube page last month and received over 20,000 hits.
In the clip, he acted out a scene which saw him confide in Deanna about a romantic interest.
When she asked who it was, he made his way towards Miss Syaza.
Kneeling before her, Sezairi described her in a moving speech as "his best friend", "backbone" and said that he could not imagine "spending the rest of (his) life without (her)".
Through happy tears, she said yes.
Said Miss Syaza: "I wasn't surprised that he proposed, but I was shocked that he proposed in that manner. My first thought was, 'Oh my God, this is going to be on YouTube for sure'.
"My second thought was that it was finally happening. I didn't expect it to be so elaborate.
"I thought it would be a simple 'Here's a ring, will you marry me?'"
The couple plan to tie the knot in May next year.
This article was published on May 31 in The New Paper.