Click, pose. Click, pose. Click, pose. Siti Sarah Raissuddin was a natural in front of the camera as she served us a string of winning shots during this photoshoot.
When the photographer asked her to pose in a certain angle, she politely declined and insisted it wasn’t her ‘good side’. Standing at 5 feet, this petite Malaysian singer surely knows what she wants and how she wants things done.
Sarah is proof that big talent can come in small packages. Though she doesn’t stand at a statuesque height; her mellifluous voice, larger than life personality demands attention whether it’s on stage or on screen.
Sarah has one of the most powerful and iconic voices in the Malaysian music scene. She first paved her way in music back in 2001, when she entered a singing reality competition and became the finalist. She soon had her big break in 2002 when her song ‘Kesetiaan’ was released.
Then her name continued to soar to popularity when she collaborated with one of Malaysia’s music legends, Jamal Abdillah for a rendition of a classic Malay duet song called ‘Sandarkan Pada Kenangan’ in 2005.
Her career and love life was constantly the topic of interest among the media and fans. It was in 2007 when the singer made headlines for her engagement to a western gentleman that took many by surprise. But the engagement didn’t last long as the former couple called it quits not long after that.
When Allah SWT takes something away, He replaces it with something better. Heartbreak then turned into happiness when she found love with her now husband, Shahmira Muhammad who is one of Malaysia’s popular comedians and actors.
The couple tied the knot in 2011, and this is the year Sarah’s presence in the limelight began to fade, as she chose to concentrate on her marriage. Things were a little monotonous for Sarah career wise but in 2016, she stepped back into the limelight to participate in another reality show titled Gegar Vaganza 3 where she emerged as the first runner-up.
Two years after that, she finally headed back to the studio to record a single titled ‘Semakin’, penned by her very own husband.
This was the song that launched her name to the ranks of the A-list celebrities once again. Despite her music hiatus, Sarah still had a loyal following. Her fans eagerly waited to see her in action on stage again. The singer proved she was still as power-packed as ever when she performed her first solo showcase after her big break in July 2018.
‘I ALMOST GAVE UP’
Sarah may have put on a spectacular showcase that night to mark her comeback to the music scene, but little did the audience know, she had thoughts on quitting the entertainment industry just a few weeks before she was set to go on stage.
“I don’t know what triggered me to feel that way. After I came back from the umrah trip, something in me just didn’t feel right.
“I didn’t want to leave the house – and I didn’t for at least one month – and I was in minimal contact with people.
“It got to the point where my manager asked me if I still want to continue singing or not. At that moment I considered to quit for good,” she said.
But with God’s will, something urged her to just give it another shot.
The media praised her crisp-clear voice on stage and powerful performance, but they too didn’t know that there was minimal preparation for it.
Sarah shared that the outfits she wore on stage that night, were worn by her for the very first time, because she didn’t go for full dress rehearsals. She just winged it.
NEW AND IMPROVED
With the ups and downs throughout her career, it never crossed her mind that she would one day be where she is now.
“To be successful, you have to go through a lot. But you also have to let your imagination run wild, imagine where you want to be,” she said.
If before, Sarah rocked blonde locks, fans slowly saw her transition in appearance. At her ‘comeback’ showcase mentioned earlier, she sported a turbaned look having just returned from an Umrah trip with her hubby.
Though she never quite made things official by talking about her hijab transition, day by day fans see her going forth with the hijab look.
“To dive into this topic of hijab deeply, it’s tricky because different people have different views on appearances. It’s between you and God,” she said.
But whatever the case, people shouldn’t be quick to judge others on how they look, she added.
GETTING BACK ON THE MUSIC TRACK
After the hot success of the poignant track ‘Semakin’ which garnered close to 3.8 million views on YouTube, Sarah has set the bar quite high on selecting her next track.
“I’m very particular about my music and the songs that I sing.
“Choosing the right single is hard because I want it to be perfect. The songs that I sing will carry my name for decades, so it has to be right,” she said.
MORE HATS THAN ONE
Besides being a mother, a wife and a well-known singer, Sarah manages two businesses on the side as well.
One would be a skincare company called Pinky Pinky and another, a headscarf business called LoveTa available soon.
“I love doing businesses on the side because it’s so much fun,” she said.
“Because I incorporate agentship in my businesses, I am able to help women generate income. In these tough economic times, we have to stay resilient, so to be able to help others out there to earn some by selling and distributing my products, it makes me feel good,” she said.
Keep up with Sarah’s colourful journey through her Instagram: @sitisarahraissuddin
Behind the Face of Salam
- Face of Salam : Siti Sarah Raissuddin
Project Manager & Co-ordinator : Shah Shamshiri
- Text: Syahirah Mokhtazar
- Editor : Ili Farhana Mohamed
- Graphic Designer: Asyraf Tamam
Stylist : Farah Dinana
- Hijab Stylist: Farah Dinana
Make-up Artiste : Epie Temerloh
- Wardrobe: Shanell Harun & Melinda Looi