Posthumous lifetime achievement award for Iskandar Ismail at Compass awards

The Audionauts' Mazro Nizam Ayub and Mohamed Rizal Mohamed Noor (left) at the Compass Awards honouring Singapore musicians who earned the highest royalties in the last year.
The Audionauts' Mazro Nizam Ayub and Mohamed Rizal Mohamed Noor (left) at the Compass Awards honouring Singapore musicians who earned the highest royalties in the last year.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE - Famed Mandopop singer-songwriter JJ Lin has topped the royalties earnings list in Singapore yet again. But other home-grown musicians also did well last year.

At the 20th annual Composers and Authors Society of Singapore (Compass) Awards held last Sunday at the Resorts World Convention Centre, prizes were given to musicians who earned the highest royalties last year.

Veteran lyricist Tan Kah Beng bagged the top local Chinese pop song award with Guo Huo, while Trick, a composer-lyricist duo comprising Marc Lian and Richard Jansen took home the top local English pop song award with The Life.

Malay rock outfit Audionauts won the top local Malay pop song award with Maha Bisa Rahsia. This is the second time the hit song, composed by band members Mazron Nizam Ayub and Mohamed Rizal Mohamed Noor, has won the award; the first time was in 2013, at the 18th Compass Awards.

Rizal, 34, told Life: "The Malay pop scene is quite small but us local boys managed to make it to the top, so it's quite a feat and it's really the fans, who keep requesting the song, that makes it popular."

Lin, who was unable to attend the ceremony, kept his titles of top local songwriter and top local artist, which he won last year. He has won at least one award every year since 2006 when he was named young songwriter of the year.

This time, the young songwriter award, for composers younger than 35, went to Syed Muhammad Fayk Alaydrus, who goes by the moniker Don M.

At the event, where the guest-of-honour was President Tony Tan Keng Yam, awards were also given to Singapore musicians to recognise their artistic excellence and contribution to the music scene.

The late musician-composer Iskandar Mirza Ismail, who died of cancer last November at the age of 58, received a posthumous lifetime achievement award. The award was accepted by his wife, Madam Ernawaty Sorianto, and daughter, Valerie.

Iskandar, a Cultural Medallion recipient, composed and arranged music for major events that included multiple National Day Parades and the Youth Olympic Games. He also worked on internationally staged musicals including Snow.Wolf.Lake and Chang & Eng, and arranged music for Mandarin pop stars such as Jacky Cheung, Sally Yeh and Aaron Kwok.

Valerie, 28, said: "We have many memories of him doing music but coming to an awards ceremony like this, meeting many of his friends and receiving such an award on behalf of him kind of remind us that he is still around with us.

"He always wanted his music to be heard more than for him to be known and this award affirms that."

Iskandar's composition, A World To Imagine, was performed at the ceremony by The Young Musicians' Foundation Orchestra. The orchestra was led by conductor Darrell Ang, who was given an award of excellence for his outstanding performance internationally.