Ayu's The One

15 Oct

Norayu credits her parents for her success.

Norayu Damit may be a Bajau girl made good but, as DENNIS CHUA finds out, the One In A Million Season 2 winner has not allowed success to go to her head.

REALITY talent show star Norayu (Ayu) Damit may have won RM1 million (before the age of 20 at that!), but the lass is not about to be carried away.

The 19-year-old reigning champion of One In A Million Season 2 (OIAM2) from Putatan in Penampang, Sabah, sees her monetary gain as an investment for the future.

“Some RM200,000 went to me and my family, while the rest was used to produce my albums and for other professional activities. Since winning the competition, I’ve had to work hard but I’m enjoying every bit of it,” she said.

Besides working on her debut album that is likely to be launched at the year’s end, Ayu has been involved in roadshows and carnivals organised by TV3 and 8TV, most notably TV3’s Konsert Jom Heboh.
“My album will be ballad-oriented. There’s also R&B and pop-rock in it. Among the composers and lyricists involved are Ajai, Audi Mok and Aubrey Suwito,” she said.

Ayu’s hit single, Hanya Di Mercu, composed by Aubrey and written by Habsah Hassan, is currently riding high in the local charts.

While the petite Bajau girl is celebrated as a pop icon in her home state, she credits her seniors from reality talent shows and TV talent searches as the “real icons” and trail-blazers.

They include Peter Dicky Lee and Azharina Azhar of Bintang RTM, Nikki Palikat of Malaysian Idol, Adam Mat Saman, Ekin Rahman and Stacy Anam of Akademi Fantasia, and Pija Yasin and Fiq Halim of Mentor.

“Peter has been a wonderful vocal coach and he is still guiding me. Nikki, Adam and Fiq are very caring and always advise me to keep healthy and ‘be myself’,” she said, adding that her favourite singers are Amy Search, Kris Dayanti, Azharina, Jaclyn Victor and Ning Baizura.

The eldest of five siblings, Ayu has been singing since she was 14.

Born and bred in Kampung Ketiau, she studied in Sekolah Menengah Putatan and participated in district-level singing contests before “graduating” to hotels in neighbouring Kota Kinabalu.

Her aunt, Saodah Mutih, is a veteran singer, who performs with the Sabah Customs Department’s musicians.

“I was in Form Two when I first sang on stage. The earliest songs I remember singing were Tiada Lagi and Mayang Sari,” she said.

Ayu performed with various groups in hotel lounges after completing her SPM exams in 2006.

In the same year, she competed in One In A Million Season 1 (OIAM1), but did not make it past the Top 40.

Nevertheless, judges Paul Moss and Syafinaz Selamat were impressed by her vocal prowess and invited her to sing at the show’s finals.

A year later, Ayu took part in the ntv7 talent search show MyStarz LG and made it to the Top 25. This was followed by OIAM2.

Ayu credits her parents Damit Osiri and Jaminah Mutih as her biggest fans and critics.

“They have always been there for me and never failed to give me feedback on my weekly performances,” she said.

Her parents, she said, keep reminding her that she comes from a family of “fighters”.

So it’s not surprising that Ayu’s strong fighting spirit propelled her from an OIAM1 reject to an OIAM2 champion.

Ayu’s victory led to some of her rakan kampung from Kota Kinabalu winning popular reality talent shows this year.

Stacy, who also participated in OIAM2, won Akademi Fantasia 6 while One Nation Emcees won Gang Starz 2.

“It’s been an amazing year for Kota Kinabalu talents, and I’m so happy for Stacy and the One Nation boys. I’d love to collaborate with them soon,” she said.

Ayu aspires to one day write her own songs, host entertainment shows and appear in television series.

“If I were to further my studies, it’ll be in music and the performing arts,” she said, adding that she would also love to master the piano.

Ayu sees reality shows as a healthy development in the music industry.

“Reality talent shows introduce East Malaysian talents to the rest of the country, thus promoting national unity. That’s why I’m all for them,” she said.

Ayu is gradually mastering both Bahasa and the English language.

“I still have a long way to go, but with 8TV’s guidance, I’m slowly picking up these languages,” she said.

New Straits Times

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