Wednesday, February 21, 2024
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No step too small

Izzat Ramlee shares his journey from singing at local competitions to a massive stage in Indonesia

Izzat Ramlee burst onto the dazzling stage of fame following his awe-inspiring performance on Indonesia’s reality TV spectacle, Dangdut Akademi Asia.

His journey began when he was 10, inspired by the singing of his parents, siblings, and other relatives as they expressed their love for songs.

At 18, he won his first singing competition at the Amstar Karaoke contest and was encouraged by the cheers and resounding applause of the audience to join more contests.

His next challenge came when attempting to break into a larger scene by joining Bintang Search, a locally-produced reality singing competition.

He tried twice to secure a spot in the competition without success. “I refused to let defeat define me,” he said, recalling the moment. “And undeterred, I made a third attempt.”

In Season 3 of Bintang Search, his persistence was rewarded, as one of the judges gave him an opportunity with a wild card after he was eliminated earlier in the competition, and from there, made the best of his second chance with an outright win. “Izzat has many characteristics of a champion, in terms of voice, stage presence and public likeability,” said judge Dayat.


Izzat went on to challenge the international stage at open auditions of Dangdut Akademi Asia.

The audition in Jakarta was nerve-wracking, he said, recalling that he was surrounded by a sea of exceptionally talented singers vying for the spotlight.

He was selected as one of five to represent Brunei, and began the three-month long programme in Indonesia where he benefited from  coaching in both singing and choreography.

Izzat was understandably nervous when he first went on stage.

It was a massive audience, more people than he had ever faced back home.

And yet, he slowly adapted, finding his voice among other contestants and winning no small amount of support from the local audience.

He was still nervous when answering the jury however, and opted to be cautious in his responses.

At the end, he made it to the top six, the first from Brunei in nearly a decade to do so in the Indonesian contest, before being eliminated.

After the competition, Izzat had a chance to record his debut single, Disayang Abang, a dangdut-jazz fusion love song written by Indonesian composer Adibal, who also served as Izzat’s vocal mentor at Dangdut Akademi Asia.

The Indonesian music scene was an eye-opener for Izzat, vast and diverse compared to the local industry.

Various musical genres are welcomed and there is a constant stream of programmes, competitions and opportunities, he said. Brunei’s own limitations make it difficult to build a local fanbase or make a lasting mark, Izzat added.

Izzat plans to pursue his higher national diploma while fine-tuning his art and ability.

However, he continues to yearn for the stage, hoping that the upcoming single will open doors and draw him once more into the spotlight. – Lyna Mohamad

Local singer Izzat Ramlee. PHOTO: IZZAT RAMLEE