PETALING JAYA, Jan 4 — Malaysian singer Firdhaus Farmizi is making waves in China with his Mandarin-language single Gulf of Alaska.
The 22-year-old’s song has raked in 170 million views on Douyin, the Chinese equivalent of TikTok, and 1.6 million views on YouTube.
He is the first Malay singer to achieve such a feat, according to Berita Harian.
The young musician, who hails from Kulai, Johor, told the daily that he became fluent in Chinese after attending a Chinese-language kindergarten and a Chinese vernacular school.
Having many Chinese friends also helped Firdhaus to master the language but he emphasised that he can still converse in his mother tongue.
“I will always be Malay and I can speak well in my mother tongue. I can also sing in Malay.
“It’s just that coincidentally, my environment and followers on social media are mostly Chinese, so I focus on singing in Mandarin so they can understand what I’m trying to convey,” said Firdhaus.
Firdhaus originally released Gulf of Alaska in April 2020 but the song has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity on Douyin where users began singing along to the track in their videos.
His newfound fame amongst Chinese music lovers has also garnered attention in his home country where he is beginning to attract more fans.
“Honestly, I never thought Gulf of Alaska could go viral in China.
“I never expected Chinese fans to sing along to this song on Douyin. From there, many people started following me on Instagram.
“Alhamdulillah, Malaysian fans have also started becoming aware of my presence.”
Firdhaus became more active on social media when the movement control order (MCO) was imposed in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Besides sharing his original music, he also posts covers of other Mandarin, English, and even Korean songs on his Instagram.
An avid singer since the age of 12, Firdhaus idolises Taiwanese singer-songwriter Jay Chou and counts him as one of his biggest musical inspirations.
He hopes to meet Chou face-to-face one day and thank him for giving him the courage to pursue his dreams.
“I admit, Jay Chou motivated me to chase after my ambitions. Because of him, I started making music and singing songs.
“If I’m lucky, I hope to meet Jay Chou in person and thank him for inspiring me up until now when I’ve achieved this historic milestone.”
Firdhaus, who is managed by Malaysian record label Loolala Music, hopes to release Malay-language songs in the future and wants to collaborate with local artistes he admires like Yuna, Faizal Tahir, and Aizat Amdan.
He is also planning to hold promotional activities for his music in China once the pandemic dies down.