NDP 2018

Singer's dream to sing at parade comes true

Singer Aisyah Aziz, who has wanted to perform at the National Day Parade since she was 14, says this is the biggest stage she has performed on to date.
Singer Aisyah Aziz, who has wanted to perform at the National Day Parade since she was 14, says this is the biggest stage she has performed on to date.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID
Actress Nadiah M. Din, who will be the NDP show's emcee, was afraid her hosting skills would be rusty after taking a break during her pregnancy, but is now back in tip-top shape and looking forward to presenting the show in front of the first female
Actress Nadiah M. Din, who will be the NDP show's emcee, was afraid her hosting skills would be rusty after taking a break during her pregnancy, but is now back in tip-top shape and looking forward to presenting the show in front of the first female Malay president.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

Aisyah Aziz is one of 39 local artists featuring at this year's show - the most in NDP history

When singer Aisyah Aziz watched the National Day Parade (NDP) on TV 10 years ago, she yearned to be part of the show in some way, whether as a member of the marching contingent or a dancer.

This is why she immediately accepted the call to sing in the show, even though she is based in Kuala Lumpur and knew she would not be one of the main acts on stage.

She appreciates that this year's NDP features 39 local artists - the most in parade history. They include jazz veteran Jeremy Monteiro and a cappella group MICappella.

"We tend to support international artists more than local ones, and it's about time that people here embrace what we have," said Aisyah, 24, whose music career began in 2013 when she competed in Malaysian reality TV singing competition Akademi Fantasia.

Though she is no longer a child, she said she finds herself reacting like one to the NDP.

"Though I am backstage, I will still look into the sky for the Red Lions and shout when they are coming, and everyone else will be like, 'Aisyah, do you want to come back and sit with the rest of us?'" she recounted while laughing.

This is the biggest stage she has performed on to date, and Aisyah said a shiver of excitement runs through her on stage: "Every time I perform, I feel the chills."

Joining her at the Marina Bay floating platform as the show's emcee is actress Nadiah M. Din, 28.

Unlike Aisyah, who leapt at the opportunity to take part in the NDP, Nadiah was a bit more hesitant when approached last December, as she had just given birth to her son Nahyan the month before.

But she decided to do it after considering that she "would be presenting the parade to the first female Malay president", she said, referring to President Halimah Yacob.

Initially, Nadiah was worried that she would be rusty, for she had taken a break from work during her pregnancy. But after practising on stage a few times, she quickly found herself back in tip-top shape.

When asked where her son and husband, client engagement manager Bilal Jeanpierre, 32, would be on National Day itself, Nadiah said they would watch her on TV at her mother's home.

"I told my family that they could either be comfortable watching at home, or they could be with many, many people in the heat," she said. "And they said it would be better to watch me at home because they could see me close-up."

She said with a smile: "I would actually love for Bilal and Nahyan to be at the platform, but it's okay since they find it very inconvenient.

"I told my family that this might be my last year hosting NDP, but then they said, 'No, trust me, it's not going to be your last year. (Local artist) Joakim Gomez did many years, so can you,'" she said with a laugh.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 06, 2018, with the headline 'Singer's dream to sing at parade comes true'. Print Edition | Subscribe