KUALA LUMPUR, October 18 – A group of local musicians and performers from buskers to wedding singers were the among the lucky ones chosen to gain more knowledge on navigating their way I t he music industry through a new initiative called Langkah Baru.
The project, hosted by local music activists, aims to help local musicians and music performers to better understand the mechanism of the local music industry while helping them understand their rights and their intellectual properties rights.
The project is led by local music producer and songwriter, Taja Mustapha and copyright advisor, Kimmy Khir who are the co-owners of record company Archive Capital Sdn Bhd and Taja Archive Sdn Bhd.
Both of them are joined by five other local talents who act as the participants’ mentors and advisors based on their fields of expertise.
Langkah Baru itself is an edutainment programme which involves four participants who are non-commercial musical artists.
Through the programme, the mentors prep the participants on navigating the mainstream music industry with tailored learning modules on the process including songwriting, recording, marketing their eventual releases and more.
The project which began in December last year was initially planned for two months but due to the Movement Control Order (MCO), the effort stretched to a period of almost 13 months.
Langkah Baru found its lucky four participants by holding auditions across Malaysia online where participants were required to submit a video of their performance.
The four chosen acts comprising of two solo acts, a duo and a trio then went through in-person as well as online sessions covering various topics to prepare them for their debut musical release.
Each participant had the chance to collaborate with well-known artists and producers to produce one of their own single along with an accompanying music video.
The participants were also offered a leg-up from local and international labels to help them distribute their material.
The Legacies is a duo fronted by husband and wife, Jay Cugat and Ayang Hussein who have been performing together since 2014.
The couple has had experience performing together in hotels, nightclubs, weddings, and corporate events and chose the name The Legacies as they both came from musical roots.
Ayang Hussein, whose real name is Natra Yasmi is the daughter of 90’s rockstar, Dila Hussein, and relatedto the late legendary actor, Hussein Abu Hassan and actress, Mahyon Ismail.
Meanwhile, Jay Cugat or his real name Mohd Raziz Zainal Abidin, is the son of famous hotel singer and musician, the late Zainal Abidin Yassin or also known as Zainal Cugat.
“Being part of the Projek Langkah Baru has made me, and my husband realise that there is more than one way of making money from our own songs,” said Ayang.
“ We also have a better understanding of our rights as a singer and songwriter.
“This programme also opened our eyes about things that we need to know from the recording processes, publishing, marketing, and distribution to copyrights, royalties, as well as licensing.
“And we were also groomed as an artist and were taught on how to use social media to connect with fans,” she said.
The trio of buskers in Nadim, Fritz and Apuk, met each other and started performing together at the weekly Chaiwalla Session at The Curve.
The three members came from a rich creative background with Nadim used to be an executive producer for local jazz rock band Muniros before coming up with the Chaiwalla Session at The Curve in 2016.
Fritz on the other hand, has had his fair share of experience working as a sound engineer and composer at Digitron Studio before joining the field of animations where he worked on a 3D animation programme called Perlarian Nebula which was aired on RTM and TV2.
As for Apuk, known for his talents playing the drums, bass, keyboards, and blues harp, he was a member of the Kumpulan Kebudayaan Terengganu before becoming a sessionist musician.
“A friend of mine told me about Langkah Baru and I decided to try.
“I feellucky to be amongst the chosen participants as there are many others who tried.
“One thing that was pushed forward in the program was that talents like us still have the potential to make it in the music industry even though we’re not a recording artist from any labels.
“It is possible, and we can still work on our music but at the same time we need to work hard,” Nadim said.
He said that their song Memori Kita which is available on music streaming platform, Spotify, was a personal song to him.
“This song is really close to me because last year, I lost six friends and two family members.
“Four of them were my friends I made during the Chaiwalla Session.
“Losing them has impacted me in a huge way and this song was created as a token of our memories together,” Nadim said.
Arif Paiman is no stranger to the performing arts, having been performing since 2010.
From modelling to dramas, stage plays and playing at live gigs with his own band, Ocean Astronaut, he was however forced to find a job with a more stable income that could secure his future.
After learning about Langkah Baru through social media, Arif decided to try it out and invited his band members to join him, but the offer was turned down as most of his band members already have day jobs.
His band members however encouraged him to try his luck by going solo.
He said he has gained a lot of knowledge regarding the music industry from the mentors.
“There were also lessons on reading and understanding contracts and all of this is applicable in real life,” Arif said.
The 22-year-old Hafiy Halim is the youngest participant for the Langkah Baru, currently completing his bachelor’s degree in music arts at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM).
The young ma has been actively joining singing contests both online and offline and he even made an appearance on the TV stage through the All Together Now programme.
Apart from learning about musicians rights and royalties, Hafiy admitted that the lessons taught at Langkah Baru boosted his confidence.
“They taught us on how to market ourselves and our songs including lessons on our appearances, interactions and communications.
“I’m not a very talkative person and this programme has benefitted me a lot and has helped me in building my own confidence,” Hafiy said.
Langkah Baru is part of Archive Capital’s CSR programme fully supported by the Communications and Multimedia Ministry (KKMM) through their 2020’s Digital Content Fund for Music (DKD).
According to Kimmy, the idea for the CSR programme came after talking about it with their friends as a way to help the local music industry.
“All of us have been in the music industry for quite some time now.
And in that long period of time, we’ve found out that some of our friends in the industry didn’t know about their rights which made them feel excluded and bullied in the industry.
“Because we’ve worked with the government previously to identify the problems in our industry, and we have found out that not just our friends, but a lot of other musicians are facing these kinds of problems, that’s how Langkah Baru idea came into being. “
According to Taja, the only way to help the local music industry is by education and sharing of knowledge on the mechanism iwhich is not widely taught at universities or schools.
He hopes Langkah Baru can help in creating awareness regarding and prompt others to take join I’m to take action for the sake of the future of the music industry.