Shila Hits the Right Notes
Tatler Malaysia|June 2020
Able to sing in 10 different languages, the multilingual Shila Amzah explains how she affects those around her and their effect on her as well
Aaron Pereira
“China will always hold a special place in my heart; it’s the country that helped to launch my career,” shares Shila Amzah, who began singing at the age of 10. Shila went on to join a couple of Chinese singing competitions; emerging victorious in Asian Wave, she went on to become a finalist in the second season of I Am A Singer—which happens to be the same competition that British singer Jessie J also took part in, albeit in a different season. “They accepted me for who I am, what I believed in, and didn’t care where I came from... they just wanted to listen to my music and supported me by giving me that boost which I needed,” she explains.

It was mainly because of this deep affinity and connection that Shila Amzah felt with China that the Tatler Malaysia team decided to photograph her where else but in Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur. Utilising the scenic setting of Kwai Chai Hong, and thanks to the generous team behind Four Points by Sheraton KL, Chinatown, the backdrop was a nod to the country which shot Shila to fame.

“The fact that I sing Mandarin songs also gave me the opportunity to travel around the world. As you know, many other nations also have a Chinatown or some area with a similar concept, and where there’s a Chinatown, I’ve fans there. Indirectly, wherever I go for a gig, I will have my crowd, I’m quite lucky in that sense,” shares Shila, when asked about her international appeal and reach. So far, the singer has toured and performed in the Lincoln Centre, New York; The Venetian Theatre, Las Vegas; in Perth, and most recently Sydney, Australia on top of covering over 50 provinces in China itself.

“Don’t get me wrong though, my fanbase doesn’t solely comprise Chinese people, there are tonnes of others who come to see me perform and enjoy my music,” Shila adds. This was proven as a group of Malay girls chanced upon our shoot, recognised her and began pointing and whispering among themselves excitedly. After all, prior to being recognised in China, she had already won numerous local accolades, and the fact that she can sing in 10 languages clearly shows she caters to a large segment of the international population.

In our Women’s issue this month, we set out to discover how this multilingual songstress affects those around her. “Who do I have the most influence over? I’d say my family, my friends and also my fans. I think these are the three groups of people that are the most important in my life,” she shares.

THE FAN BASE

“Well, one of the most profound effects I’ve had, off the top of my head would be with my fans: When I started to wear a hijab back in 2012, there were a number of fans who followed suit, covering their hair by donning a hijab,” says Shila who aspires to be a positive influence to women and children out there. “Not only that,” she adds, “back then in China, a lot of the Chinese were sceptical about hijabs, they thought that there’s only one way to style your look, among other misconceptions, but while I contested on I Am A Singer, I managed to change perceptions and there were many who became more open to the look and wanted to try it out for themselves, plus I even managed to boost the confidence levels of some women who were already wearing hijabs.”

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