Rising star

Sufie Rashid's singing career is taking off in Malaysia following his landslide win on an Astro reality TV show.
Sufie Rashid's singing career is taking off in Malaysia following his landslide win on an Astro reality TV show.ST PHOTO: ALICIA CHAN

14) SUFIE RASHID, 24, singer

Rising singer Sufie Rashid is about to follow in the footsteps of home-grown artists such as Ramli Sarip and M. Nasir who ventured beyond Singapore and cracked the much bigger entertainment industry in Malaysia.

In October, he made headlines in both countries when he became the first Singaporean to win the popular Malaysian reality singing show Akademi Fantasia.

The singer, who shortened his moniker to "Sufi" in the contest, charmed his way through the 12th season of the show.

He won by a landslide vote, garnering 41.3 per cent of viewers' votes, compared with Malaysian runners-ups Syameel Aqmal Mohd Fodzly (21.3 per cent) and Nurnajmi Nabila Samsaidi (19.4 per cent).

The win was a huge boost to his singing career - part of the prize is a three-year contract with Malaysian broadcaster Astro, the television show's organiser.

His new single, Kisah Dua Muka (A Tale Of Two Faces), has entered the radio charts in Malaysia.

For the competition, he had to leave the Woodlands HDB flat where he lives with his single mother and two younger sisters to enrol in a rigorous three-month boot camp in Selangor, with minimal contact with the outside world.

He says: "Taking part in the contest taught me the importance of taking risks, as you'll never know what it can lead you to. Every second is an opportunity to strive for something."

Before Akademi Fantasia, the closest he got to winning was when he finished runner-up in Mediacorp Suria's singing contest, SG Mania, last year.

With his Akademi Fantasia win, the bachelor is optimistic about the future.

"My goal for 2016 is to build my career. I am ready to take on a bigger challenge. It's now or never."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 20, 2015, with the headline 'Rising star'. Print Edition | Subscribe