‘Television’ won the biggest haul with 3 awards at the 2007 AIM Awards last Saturday night. As a result, one Sunday paper christened me ‘the newest hearthrob in Malaysian entertainment’. Bugger. I’ve been fielding piss-takes from friends about it all day. It is better than a kick in the teeth though. Chuckle.
For those overseas, the AIM is the annual music industry awards show in Malaysia. It’s kind of like the Grammy’s in the States except the AIM is not as glitzy and costume malfunction has never happened there [as far as I know]. The event is broadcasted ‘live’ nationwide in Malaysia and there is usually a media feeding frenzy before and after the event. It is basically the biggest music industry event in the country.
Last time I attended the AIM was in 2004. ‘Rustic Living’ was nominated for 4 awards and came away with 2 wins [Best Album Cover and Best Music Video]. This time, we were nominated for 3 awards and swept everything: namely, Best Album Cover, Best Music Video [WATCH], and sweetest of all - Best English Album [LISTEN]. When it was all done and dusted, ‘Television’ also emerged as the album with the largest haul of awards on the night. It’s strange to think that all this could happen to a non-mainstream indie record infused with Americana and reflections on our media-soaked existence…
Needless to say, the Best English Album award was the big one for me. I really don’t remember much of it though. I do remember that they got it wrong and began playing ‘Tom’ in the background even before Maya Karin [Malaysian actress] read out the result. I remember being hugged by Sean Ghazi as I stood up to go get my gong. I remember the TV camera in my face. So I waved into it. Then more TV camera converged as I approached the stage. Then I shook hands with Maya and Aleya the presenters. Then, gong safely in hand, I gave my acceptance speech thanking collaborators and fans. Then I was ushered backstage and told to stay around for the next award – Best Music Video. Almost immediately, we won again and I was ushered back onstage. They played another song from ‘Television’ this time – a slow one – but for the life of me I cannot remember which it was. Anyway, you won’t believe the adrenalin charge I had. It was pretty intense.
I wish I could say that these awards will make a major difference to my career - but they won’t. At least I don’t think they will. To my mind, I still need to get the music out the way I’ve always done. I still need to tour and play as much as I can. I still need to work hard and think smart. And I still need to work significantly outside the conventional infrastructure of a domestic industry in deep trouble. But it is super nice to win anyway - if only as acknowledgement to my many collaborators that we’ve done something good, and as a token of appreciation to those of you who have offered me support and encouragement over the years - all the way back to those No Black Tie days of hard drinking and even harder pissing about…
So. My thanks once again to all of you. It’s been fun. I need to go to bed now. It’s almost 8am. And I have to be up again in 3 hours. Oh. Wait a sec. Weird. Remember how they played ‘Tom’ when they announced the ‘Best English Album’ award? Well, it’s a song I wrote for Jairus Anthony - a fellow musician who passed away when I was making ‘Television’. How apt then - because it was Jairus who showed me how to speak with grace - and how to die without regret. So this one is for him too, my friend, whom I will meet at the end…
I still can’t remember the other song they played though.
- MORE PHOTOGRAPHS - [Click To Enlarge]
BEST ENGLISH ALBUM GOES TO…. I looked kinda shell shocked here. But I wasn’t really. Just happy and buzzed by it. The two beautiful ladies behind me presented the gong to me - they were Maya Karin [left] and Sharifah Aleya. Aleya looked so happy. Her sister Yana is the TV girl in the Lost In America video. Her other sister Nani played Minnie Mouse.
ACCEPTANCE SPEECH. They only gave us something like 90 seconds for the acceptance speech. So I had to make it fast. Thanked everyone I should but left the biggest acknowledgement to fans who love what I do enough to offer encouragement and support through the years. Award speeches can be very contrived things. But I meant that one.