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SHIRAZDEEN KARIM has always wanted to work with Malaysia’s Queen of Song Datuk Seri Siti Nurhaliza, who has won more than 200 awards and performed over 50 concerts in her 23 years in the music industry.
The executive producer at Shiraz Projects has been chasing Siti since 2007 to do a concert tour.
Now, his persistence has finally paid off as he is in the midst of organising for the songstress a four-nation concert tour, billed as the Datuk Seri Siti Nurhaliza On Tour.
Already confirmed are concerts at Istora Senayan in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Feb 21; Singapore Expo in Singapore on March 2; and Arena Axiata in Kuala Lumpur on March 16.
Still in negotiation is a stop at London’s Royal Albert Hall on April 21, which is hoped to be the tour’s grand finale. This will be the second time Siti is performing at this prestigious stage, since her first show there in 2005.
Shirazdeen announced this at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur recently.
The producer is taking every step to make sure this will be a concert to remember. He has boldly set a budget of more than RM10 million, making it possibly the highest budget for a tour for any Malaysian singer.
The performance will feature some 30 musicians, 12 dancers, and more than 24 songs. The talented Joseph Gonzales has been hired as the artistic director and will be aided by other well-known choreographers such as Joseph Gonzales, Imran, Naim Syahrazad, Fauzi Amiruddin, and Daila Abdul Samad.
Shirazdeen is also bringing in a bassist, drummer, guitarist as well as a vocal coach from America.
On the decision to hire international musicians to support a tour by one of Malaysia’s most famous artistes, Shirazdeen said it is not that he “does not trust” Malaysian musicians, but he wants to push the boundaries for this concert tour.
“We can learn something from these foreign musicians.”
He also plans to shoot a behind-the-scenes documentary of the tour under the direction of concert creative director Anusha Peterson. The documentary, They Call Me Siti, is planned for release in cinemas nationwide towards the end of the year.
Shirazdeen has no fear that he would not be able to recoup the RM10 million he is putting into this concert tour. He strongly believes Siti’s fans will flock to see the concert, and also the documentary when it hits the cinemas.
He recalls an interesting conversation he had with a taxi driver a few years ago when he was in Jakarta.
He said: “The taxi driver said if Malaysia and Indonesia ever go to war, there are two things Indonesia needs to save from Malaysia. First, it is Upin and Ipin, and second, is Siti Nurhaliza.”
Siti said she is overwhelmed by the preparation that Shiraz Projects has put into her upcoming concert tour.
“Even after 50 concerts, I still feel nervous about doing another concert,” said the singer, who turns 40 this year.
“But nervous is good. It pushes you to give your best. Overconfidence sometimes makes you a slacker.”
This concert tour will also mark her return to the stage after having given birth to her baby girl, Siti Aafiyah Khalid, on March 19 last year.
There were some who thought motherhood would put a stop to her singing career, but Siti intends to prove them wrong.
“So many singers who are mothers, like Celine Dion, have put on successful concerts and I want to do the same,” she said. “Motherhood has spurred me to be a more active singer.”
She added that she will be bringing her daughter along on the concert tour.
To prepare for the tour, Siti is building up her stamina with exercises, as well as undergoing extra dancing and vocal classes to enhance her skills. She also intends to bring her weight down to 60kg by the start of the tour.
Tickets for her concerts will range from RM155 to RM1,295 for venues in Malaysia, with an equivalent price range for international tour stops.
Those who purchase the RM1,295 tickets will not only receive some exciting merchandise, but also get a chance to meet Siti in person a day after the concert.
Out of 100 tickets in that price range, 10 selected ticket-holders will also get the chance to go behind the stage hours before the concert begins to see how the concert is put together and meet Siti in her dressing room.
For more, visit the websites for Shiraz Projects or MyTicket.Asia.