Our Very Own Little Voice

27 Oct

Yana’s a natural!

Like the young girl in the British film Little Voice, eight-year-old Nurriyana Jamhari is a little dynamo with a big voice, writes DENNIS CHUA.

PETITE Nurriyana Jamhari may be only eight, but she has managed to impress many of her seniors in the music industry as a natural-born entertainer.

The youngest of businesswoman Herlina Jaafar’s six children, the Petaling Jaya-born Nurriyana, or Yana as she is affectionately called by family and fans, has been singing since she was four.

Herlina said: “Yana’s first song was Air Mata Ibu, a popular song by Datuk Siti Nurhaliza. After hearing it, I felt that my daughter was destined to sing.”

Yana’s siblings also enjoy singing but Herlina said her youngest was easily the most passionate about her God-given talent.
“Not only did she pick up singing at a young age, she also imitated the singers’ moves after watching her on television,” Herlina said.

Yana lists Siti Nurhaliza as her idol, besides Indonesian pop princess Agnes Monica and Canadian rock star Avril Lavigne.

Yana’s first major singing project was in 2005 when she came up with a nasyid-oriented album titled Lagu Doa Kanak-Kanak. It was produced by Hamparan Rezeki in aid of the National Cancer Council of Malaysia.

She won her first major singing contest last year. It was ntv7’s talent search programme Aiyoh!

She said: “I sang Agnes’ Tak Ada Logika, one of my favourite numbers.”

In the same year, she participated in Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s Bintang Kecil singing contest as its youngest participant.

“I picked Inul Daratista’s (Indonesian dangdut queen) Goyang Inul. I also did a patriotic number, Baju Hijau,” she said.

Yana subsequently performed with such big names as Adibah Noor, Amy Mastura and Jaclyn Victor.

She said: “I sang a duet with Adibah in the KL Tower and one with Jaclyn in Putrajaya, both this year. They are fantastic singers.

“I also performed with Azwan Ali in a Hari Raya concert. He’s really funny.”

Yana’s other memorable performances include singing aboard a ship on a Tourism Ministry promotion in Pantai Puteri, Malacca, last year, and singing with iconic rockers Jinbara at the Langkawi Stadium in Kuah, Langkawi in 2006.

Her most recent appearances include those at a Rakan Muda concert in Kuala Lumpur, a Karyawan buka puasa in the Putra World Trade Centre, on RTM1 children’s programme Selamat Pagi Sayang and on the channel’s Hari Raya special, Yeh Yeh Hari Raya.

Herlina said: “She also joined TV3’s Jom Heboh carnival in the Bukit Jalil Stadium, appeared in the TV3 programme Melodi and represented Malaysia in the Children’s Arts Festival in Istana Budaya.”

Besides singing, Yana also has a keen interest in acting and modelling.

In 2005, she starred in the musical play Rubiah alongside Singaporean actress Maizurah Hamzah and veteran actor Ahmad Tarmimi Siregar at Istana Budaya, and played the role of Aliya in RTM2’s family-oriented sitcom, Keluarga Adam.

Early this year, she appeared as an extra in the film Sepi, which starred Afdlin Shauki and Vanidah Imran, and participated in the Asian Broadcasting Union Short Drama Festival that was held in Angkasapuri.

Yana said: “I was a Dumex calendar model last year, too, something I share with Vanidah and her family.”

She has also appeared in print and television advertisements for McDonald’s, Digi and Mastercard, among others.

Herlina said Yana’s strength as a singer lies largely in her ability to memorise music and lyrics.

“It comes naturally to her. She does not need to practise much in order to sing on stage,” she said.

Yana would love to compose and write her own songs one day and master a musical instrument like the piano.

Herlina said: “While she enjoys singing, she is also committed to her studies as a student of Sekolah Kebangsaan Tasik Permaisuri in Cheras. I always remind her to do well in school too.”

Yana said: “My goal is to sing with my local and foreign heroes. And to make an impact on the local music scene.”

New Straits Times

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