One of the most unforgettable Eid-al-Fitr memories for Alyah Abu Hassan would be that one time she had to deal with a flooded home, moments after preparing for her family’s big Eid feast.
“It was the night before Hari Raya (Eid-al-Fitr), and as usual, I was busy helping my mother prepare our special dishes to be served to guests the next day.
“Moments after we finished cooking, there was a heavy downpour and it came without warning. That might not be a big deal to anyone else, but out of the entire village, my house was the only one that frequently gets affected by floods whenever it rains due to its hilly location,” she said.
Alyah explained the water levels that night had risen until chest level. “We couldn’t do much to save the dishes. All we could do was leave it as it was in the frying pan, covered it and saved ourselves first.
“The next morning when the flood had dried out, I quickly went to check on the dishes, that we cooked, especially mine which was the ‘rendang’ (a spicy meat dish typically enjoyed in Malaysia during Eid).
“Despite the fact that our house had just been affected by flood, the dishes we cooked remained untouched! I don’t know why but I was tickled by that incident.
“We actually served that rendang to our guests. If only they knew the story behind it!” laughed Alyah.
Alyah is the 9th child out of 12 siblings, and one who had very large dreams of becoming a successful singer, despite her father’s disagreement.
She chased after her dreams anyway, because if she didn’t, she wouldn’t be what she is today – one of Malaysia’s highly praised singers, gracing the cover of SalamToday.
A COLOURFUL JOURNEY
Alyah has had quite an illustrious career since she debuted in Malaysia’s music scene back when she was 19. She is now 38, which means next year will mark her two-decade journey as a singer.
Despite swooning fans with her heart-wrenching, melodious ballads for years, Alyah has no airs about herself. She still describes herself as a struggling artiste, trying to make it big in the world of music even though music fans regard her as one of the most sought-after singers of today, on the Malaysian shores.
Just like the ocean’s tides, Alyah’s career has had its highs and lows too.
Despite her venture in the music industry in 2000, it was only in 2008 that people started to take notice of her talent, after her single ‘Tak Mungkin Kerana Sayang’ made its debut.
“It took awhile for me to establish my presence. I used to be that person who people would call in, if they needed a stand-in singer for events. I was the second option.
“Now when I see someone in that same position I was in years ago, I can empathise with them. I’ve been there, done that.
“But it’s a phase we all need to go through. There’s no short cut to finding success,” she said.
Even in the recent years, her career when through a rather uneventful period. But things started to look up again when she signed with Warner Music Malaysia last year.
To celebrate her long journey in the industry, Alyah plans to host a big celebration next year by organising a concert for her fans.
The year 2013 marked a pretty special and historical one for Alyah’s personal life as that was the year she not only married her husband, a well-known composer Ramli MS but also chose to fully don the hijab.
“I admit there have been times I was tempted to take off the hijab. But I am glad I didn’t because it would be such a waste,” she said.
Going from someone who flaunts her gorgeous brown locks, to covering up meant she had to take a more modest approach in her fashion sense too.
“Now that I am married and I wear the hijab, I’m just not as adventurous with fashion as I used to be, and I’m okay with that,” she said with a smile.
In real life, Alyah is as poised as she appears in her flawless Instagram selfies. But dive through the comments section and you’ll find that they aren’t exactly filled with rainbows and sparkles. This is no thanks to past controversies linked to her marriage.
Many times, rumours had build up around Alyah filing for divorce from her husband. But Alyah stands strong and defends her relationship with him.
Dealing with strangers who talk about her marriage openly as though they know what goes on behind closed doors can be a little overwhelming for Alyah.
“As a singer, people are more interested to know about my personal life compared to my singing career, and that’s hard.
“That’s the downside to social media. As a public figure you’d want to stay connected with fans and social media is the best platform to do so, but when it comes to personal matters, that’s a different story,” she said.
Prior to entering showbiz, Alyah entered various singing competitions in her teens. She even took home the runner-up spot in the Asia Bagus singing competition at the age of 17. In 2001, she debuted her first album Destinasi, and a second one in 2003 titled Permata. In 2006, she took the opportunity to enter a reality singing competition titled ‘One In A Million’ and managed to finished 6th place. Then in 2006, she joined The Fabulous Cats as the lead singer of the hip-hop and R&B group. But her stint with the band didn’t last long. She eventually became a solo singer again before working on her album Alyah which was released in 2008. Some of her well-known hits include ‘Sesal Separuh Nyawa,’ ‘Engkau Milikku,’ ‘Kisah Hati’ and ‘Jutaan Purnama.’
Behind the Face of Salam
- Face of Salam : Alyah
- Project Manager & Co-ordinator : Shah Shamshiri
- Text: Syahirah Mokhtazar
- Editor : Ili Farhana
- Photographer: Whitenery
- Graphic Designer: Asyraf Tamam
- Stylist : Tym Fatimah
- Make-up Artiste: Saidatul Nisa
- Wardrobe : Wanpa & nobrand clothing