Thursday, April 10, 2014

FLASHBACKS - Nostalgia & Copyright Piracy

The video clip below -  is an excerpt of my journey in the entertainment world. The song featured, is a revival of an oldie by Doris Day, “Tea for two”, with Malay lyrics, written by me. Music arrangement, and instrumentation are the creative works of EMI’s talented Producer,  Reggie Verghese (of Quest fame). This song, together with other hits from my albums, were recently compiled and released by EMI/Warner Music in (2011).

A hobby that turned into a profession
Singing, and acting, had always been my passion.   As far as I can remember,  I was already on stage at the age of  5, performing at school concerts.  My parents once told me that I was already singing, before I could walk. So, for me,  singing  was a hobby that turned into a profession.  However,  I did not make money from singing.

Life was different during my childhood days, especially in our country - more laidback. Songs by legendary singers, P. Ramlee, Saloma, Abdullah Chik, S.M. Salim, were on air daily.  I remember that almost everyone I knew could sing, and mimic their favourite singers.  Those who were shy,  would either hum or whistle.

Nostalgic moments with Saloma
I admired Saloma, from my early school days.  She was the queen of songs then,  an elegant lady, with a husky voice.  I met her for the first time in the 70s.  I told her that I idolized her when I was young.  She then joked,  and asked, if that meant, I had stopped admiring her. I was thrilled to have her, as a guest in my TV show. We became good friends.  I will relate my nostalgic moments with her,  another day.

In the 70s  royalties paid to artists were extremely low.  I am not sure what my counterparts received then,  but  payments received by me were negligible,  not even sufficient to pay for wardrobes for album promotions, and TV appearances. Most artists made their money from stage shows,  which I did not partake, except on rare occasions, by invitations of RTM.

This video is a brief flashback on my journey in music and entertainment

Copyrights and piracy
Piracy was rampant then,  and there were no copyright laws protecting creative works.  I often wondered how  pirated versions of  my albums were already on sale a week before the originals were released. Perhaps this was a strategy by record companies, to beat piracy.  I suppose artists like me,  had to pay the price, or rather, were paid  no price for our hard labour, from these pirated copies.

Who then were the pirates?  I often wondered! This is just a fruit for thought. Until I continue with my journey the next time, enjoy your stay here.

(Our government was concerned about copyright piracy in our country. Article source (below) - The Sunday Mail, 10 December, 1972)


(Left) A pirated copy of one of my albums (just posted on my facebook by a fan). It looks better than some of the covers designed by EMI.

(Right) I did not realize until today, copyright laws existed in Malaysia in the 70s. The article says that a shop owner was fined, for selling pirated copies of my first single - 'Panggillah daku'. (Updated on 22 April, 2014)



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