Twenty-two-year-old Brunei born and raised singer and songwriter Syafiq Abdilah is one of the handful of talents who has earned the opportunity to compete in the latest edition of the popular singing competition and reality show in Malaysia, Astro Ria’s Big Stage.
“It is both exciting and nerve- wracking just thinking about competing, but being able to represent Brunei is definitely a huge honour,” said Syafiq in an interview with the Bulletin.
“I jumped at the opportunity, as I feel like it comes once in a lifetime and I wouldn’t want to waste a big opportunity to learn and gain more experience to become a better performer.”
Syafiq shared that his passion for singing began at a young age with music playing a huge role in his life. Songs by legends like Michael Jackson, Elton John and Stevie Wonder are the soundtracks to his childhood.
The talented singer-songwriter comes from a family deeply rooted in music. “My grand aunt and uncle, Normadiah and Aziz Jaafar, were known to have worked with Tan Sri P Ramlee and this has definitely inspired me to want to continue the family legacy,” he said.
Syafiq started with covers around the age of 15 and went on to perform at events such as weddings, showcases and carnivals such as the DST Carnival and the Consumer Fair. It was in 2019 that he caught attention and sang his way to a Malaysian record label and released his first single titled Sakit.
With regards to Big Stage, Syafiq explained that to participate in the competition, performers must have at least 500,000 views on YouTube.
“In 2020 I officially hit half a million views on my music video for Sakit and this year, my cover of Pulang on YouTube has reached 600,000 views,” said the Brunei representative.
However, the young talent was not always confident and is no stranger to social anxiety.
“People might not know this – I am quite shy and often experience anxiety, but music has helped me overcome these issues and built up my confidence over the years,” he added.
“I’ve always been known as the kid with a small guitar who plays love songs. But now that I have experience with different genres such as RnB, jazz and funk, it has definitely helped me find my own style,” said Syafiq on his unique sound.
The Malaysian-signed Bruneian singer and songwriter shared that there is a huge number of talented people in the Sultanate, but due to the lack of a platform the growth of the local music scene is extremely affected.
“I hope to one day be able to provide others with opportunities, to reach their potential and goals when it comes to their passion,” he said.
“I want people to know that anything is possible. The most important thing to keep in mind is to be consistent and take constructive criticism especially when it is from the right people.”
Although there is still a long way to go for Syafiq, he has already faced numerous challenges in his musical journey.
“I am constantly trying to understand and get used to the Malaysian music industry as it a very different world from what I am used to in Brunei. For now, I am slowly learning more and more as I continue to progress,” he shared.
“I am just so grateful to have the biggest support system, such as my family, friends and managers Daffy and Farahrizan,” he added.
The journey has only just begun for Syafiq as he shares that he has a long list of things that still need to be checked off.
“I am really looking forward to releasing a single in the near future as it has been two years since my first single was released,” he said.
Speaking ahead of his appearance on Big Stage, Syafiq said, “It will be an exciting and hectic couple of weeks ahead for me, and it will definitely be a challenge to pick the right tracks to perform each week that would both suit the weekly theme and show my vocal capabilities.”
The young singer-songwriter’s work is available on streaming platforms, such as Spotify and YouTube, while latest updates on the artiste can be obtained from his Instagram and TikTok accounts.