Anuar Zain has been told he isn’t as good as sister Ziana
Anuar Zain wanted to know if anyone cried after watching the music video for his latest single Andainya Takdir.
The singer laughed when the journalists surrounding him collectively answered that everyone seemingly shed tears while watching the video.
Released on Sept 22, Andainya Takdir the video sees Anuar playing a fisherman who supports his wife’s dream (played by Sharifah Sakinah) to be an actress in the city. The tearful moment comes when Anuar’s character and daughter (Putri Balqis) visits his wife on set, only to be ignored and then turned away by security. Later, he receives a divorce letter from his wife.
During an interview in Kuala Lumpur, Anuar, 46, disclosed how playing such a role had a profound effect on him. “After the shoot, I couldn’t move on. I got carried away with the emotions that my character experienced. For days, I was just reeling from those feelings,” the singer said.
Anuar has only starred in two films – he acted alongside Erra Fazira and Afdlin Shauki in Soal Hati in 2000 and in 2006, he played an entertainment reporter trying to score an interview with a singer played by Amy Mastura in Bintang Hati.
Truthfully, he admitted, he may never act again. “I think I can’t act because it would consume my soul,” he said.
Anuar has always been focused on maintaining his music career. He started singing professionally at age 13 with duet partner Elina. Most known for their 1983 hit song Kain Pelikat (1983), the duo released four albums before breaking up in 1988. Anuar then worked as an air steward for a decade.
When he was beginning to re-build his music career in 1998, he had to do so in the shadow of his famous older sister, Ziana Zain. Despite the success of his debut album Anuar Zain Vol. 1, which earned him an award at the Anugerah Industri Muzik (AIM) for Best New Artiste, he struggled to gain acceptance from industry peers.
He shared that no composers wanted to work with him for his second album, and that he was accused of leveraging on Ziana’s fame. People have even come up to him to tell him that Ziana was the better singer.
“I would reply, ‘Thank you. I’ll tell my sister’.” he said.
Nevertheless, Anuar persevered with the support of his own fans. He has since become known for his powerful vocals, heartfelt ballads, discipline as a dedicated artiste and relatively controversy-free reputation.
He has also collected numerous awards over the years including the AIM for Best Male Vocal Performance three times. It has been reported in a Bahasa Malaysia newspaper that Anuar could command up to RM50,000 for a private singing engagement.
In 2012, over 6,000 fans gathered to celebrate the 30th anniversary of his career at a concert in Stadium Malawati in Shah Alam, Selangor. It’s no wonder the singer had his fans in mind throughout the process of making latest album Anuar Zain Vol. 5, his first studio album in six years.
“Whenever I pick a song to record, I think about what the fans want. I’m really worried when I can’t give the fans a sense of satisfaction. When the album goes out, it’s no longer about me. It’s about my listeners. My fans. They are important,” he shared.
Even before the album was released, pre-orders of 5,000 CDs had already been made. This was quite a feat considering music fans these days favour digital format to CDs.
Anuar Zain Vol. 5 contains eight tracks that are mostly ballads from composers Helen Yap, Habsah Hassan and Najwa Mahiaddin. Musicians from Hungary and the Czech Republic symphony orchestra were also involved in helping to elevate the arrangement and sound of the album. Anuar added his own personal touch to it by including Selamat Malam, a song that he wrote. He got the inspiration for the song during a trip to Verona, Italy and described it as a “lullaby”.
The album also includes a cover of Hujan, originally sung by the late Sudirman. Anuar recorded Hujan as a tribute to the composer and longtime friend Syed Haron Syed Azhar, who died in 2015 at the age of 65.
“We first met in 1982. We became like family. When I was younger, we would go out for meals and he’d insist on paying. Even when I’m in my 40s, he’d get upset if I offered to pay,” he recalled.
Ziana also played a part in the making of Anuar Zain Vol. 5. “Kerana Aku Cinta was the last song added to the album. It was originally offered to my sister Ziana. She was kind enough to pass it to me because she thought it would be more suitable for me,” he said with a smile.
Although both siblings are in the music industry, there is no bad blood between them. Anuar added that Ziana has always been supportive of his career. “One of my favourite songs by Ziana is Menadah Gerimis. Maybe one day I will record that. She’s always cool, she’d have no problem if I asked her about it.”
For Anuar, criticism is nothing new. “I should be used to it by now. I’ve been singing since I was 13. I’ve gotten all kinds of negative comments back then. They can just say it to your face. They don’t see me as someone with feelings.”
Today, Anuar has adapted a zen-like attitude, indicating that he no longer has any hard feelings towards people who are negative to him. If anything, Anuar will let these unnecessary comments slide. He knows where he belongs and it’s with the fans. So much so that Anuar didn’t mind earning less than what he has invested for in concerts and albums.
He revealed that he only made RM1,500 from the aforementioned 30th Anniversary concert in 2012.
“It’s not about making money. You just need to give (back) sometimes. I take so much from my fans. At the end of the day, I want my fans to have a history with me. That is what really matters to me.”