Noor Ashikin Abdul Rahman
The New Paper
Oct 11, 2015
It came as no surprise that for the second year running, local singer Taufik Batisah bagged the most accolades at Friday night's glitzy Anugerah Planet Muzik (APM).
The #awakkatmane hit-maker, who led this year's annual regional Malay music awards ceremony with seven nominations, took home four trophies - Most Popular Song (Singapore), Most Popular Artist (Singapore), APM Most Popular Song and Social Media Icon.
But for the first time this year, the 33-year-old attended the four-hour ticketed event with a special someone by his side in the front row.
All eyes were on Taufik and his beaming wife Sheena Akbal, 31, who looked elegant in a classic black floor-length dress and an updo.
The couple, who tied the knot in April, may have hid it well, but the Singapore Idol winner told reporters backstage at the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre that they were a bundle of nerves.
"Back at home, she was nervous, but the moment we got here, she passed the nerves on to me," he said.
Her advice to him before they left?
"She told me it's okay if I didn't win - it's the nature of a competition and it would only mean that are areas to improve," said Taufik, adding that Ms Sheena had told him to buy a cabinet in the living room for his trophies which were previously kept in his home studio.
This year's APM was filled with surprise wins and energetic performances, but it was the stage antics of the stars that added to the entertainment factor.
Taufik was the star of the show, and not just for his haul.
He led the 4,000-strong audience in a birthday song for his song collaborator and close pal Rossa, who turned 37 on Friday.
The Indonesian singer also revealed that Taufik, his wife and a friend had surprised her the night before APM with "the best cupcakes in Singapore" and a special birthday dinner at a restaurant.
Speaking backstage after she won the Best Duo/Group category with fellow Indonesian singer Afgan, Rossa told reporters: "It was so romantic, even though I don't have a spouse. Yes, poor me!
"But this friendship is extraordinary, Sheena and Taufik are awesome. Having my best friends with me on my birthday makes up for being away from my family and boyfriend."
Later during the show, local punk rock act Iman's League roped in Taufik for an impromptu stunt when they performed their hit Lisa.
Bassist Ishyam Lal Abdul Jalal jumped off the stage and headed straight for Taufik, who gamely chanted the lyrics of the song into the microphone.
Ishyam, 30, said: "It's something we normally do at regular gigs, but this time we thought, 'Taufik? Why not?'
"He was such a sport. I was thinking, 'If he thought we would let it go after just one line, sorry, I'd keep asking him to sing some more."
Local singer Aisyah Aziz, her brother Aliff Aziz and even Malaysian veteran Siti Nurhaliza surprisingly lost in the Best Collaboration (Song) category to Singapore Idol 3 champ Sezairi, for his song Jangan Coba Berlari.
The 28-year-old was not present as he was rehearsing for his musical theatre debut next month in The Emperor's New Clothes.
He told The New Paper on Sunday yesterday: "I didn't expect to win, to be honest. I'll have to give most of the credit to Indonesian composer-lyricist Tulus and producer Ari Renaldi.
"Now I have an excuse to fly to Bandung - to give Tulus his trophy."
Underdogs Iman's League were also taken aback by their double win in the Best Band and Best Song (Singapore) categories.
"We were truly up against giants, it was like (the movie) Clash Of The Titans," said bassist Ishyam Lal Abdul Jalal.
"When we found out we won, I felt like crying and (vocalist-guitarist Nuriman Mohd Nor) felt faint. We'll keep this trophy in his van because it has seen us through everything."
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Double winner Kunto Aji (above), 28, drew loud cheers when he scored the Best Song (Indonesia) and Best New Artist (Male) awards.
But the Indonesian musician also received loud applause when he unexpectedly popped the question to his girlfriend on live television after accepting his first award.
He said during his acceptance speech: "This time round, I dedicate this award specially to the person who has always had my back.
"To Dewi, marry me. She's not here but I know she's watching. Marry me."
Malaysian superstar Siti Nurhaliza kicked off the night with an energetic performance of her song Warna Dunia, leading a troop of dancers.
During the colourful spectacle, she even threw a baton in the air, like a smooth drum majorette.
The 36-year-old let on: "I practised it only the night before. Professional? I tried my hardest to look like one!
"I was so nervous about hitting a cameraman or a member of the audience."
One of the special awards went to Indonesian diva Anggun (above), who took home the International Breakthrough award for her global achievements.
The 41-year-old singer, who was a judge on reality TV show Asia's Got Talent this year, admitted: "I still get stage fright when I perform. If you don't, the art of music doesn't mean anything to you.
"Performing is something extraordinary and music means everything to me."
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