Teacher’s virtual video with star goes viral
Teacher becomes overnight sensation after virtual duet with Jessie J
Primary school teacher Fairus Adam was shocked when he was eliminated during the first round of auditions for Singapore Idol 3 in 2009.
He had cracked the top 75 in the inaugural season of the reality TV singing competition back in 2004.
Now, six long years later, his singing talent is finally being noticed.
Using the popular Sing! Karaoke app, the 32-year-old uploaded a three-minute video on Facebook of himself belting out a virtual duet with British singer Jessie J last Sunday.
Via the app, Jessie J had asked her fans to perform her song Flashlight, which is featured in the hit movie musical Pitch Perfect 2, with her.
Mr Fairus, who does not have any professional vocal training, took up the challenge and showcased his incredible range.
Within a few days, the clip went viral.
It has since chalked up more than 760,000 views on Facebook.
Speaking to The New Paper, he said: "It was surreal. People will watch videos only of good-looking singers. I'm just this normal guy singing. So I was quite shocked at the reaction."
He listened to Flashlight only twice before uploading his first take onto his Facebook page.
"I tried it because it's a once-in-a-lifetime chance that you get to 'sing' with Jessie J.
"It was a very difficult song and I thought that it was quite off-limits for me. Jessie J's voice is amazing," said Mr Fairus, who cited singing superstars Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and Stevie Wonder as his favourites.
Flashlight, which was uploaded on May 19 on the app, has spawned over 25,000 virtual duets to date.
Mr Fairus, who is single, hopes his effort will grab the attention of Jessie J, who has picked two submissions to feature on her Facebook page.
"I'd feel honoured if she saw me singing with her," he said. "I hope she will also pick someone from Asia."
In the past week, close to 4,000 people from the region have requested to add Mr Fairus on Facebook after watching his video.
He said: "I feel happy as I have received mainly positive comments, especially from Singaporeans.
"It shows that Singaporeans do support local talent if you can sing well, or show that you have improved."
But his sudden surge in popularity has also given him more pressure as he feels that people will now have higher expectations of him.
"Usually when I sing, it's just very casual. Now, some people leave professional comments on my video. They might nit-pick and scruntinise and that makes me feel stressed."
He has also posted covers of popular songs like Ed Sheeran's Thinking Out Loud, Sam Smith's Lay Me Down, Alicia Keys' Girl On Fire and Pink's Just Give Me A Reason on Facebook and YouTube.
Other than being rejected from Singapore Idol twice, he took a stab at the Suria reality TV singing competition Anugerah in 2003 and got into the top five.
After national service, Mr Fairus pursued a specialised diploma in teaching and learning from the National Institute of Education.
He became a relief teacher in 2006 and a full-time teacher in 2009.
Even though he appears to have what it takes to be a professional singer, the pragmatic educator who has been teaching Malay and music at Wellington Primary School for six years, said he is happy with his day job.
Some of his pupils' parents expressed surprise at his vocal abilities after watching his video.
His colleagues also played the video at a staff meeting.
He said: "I was very embarrassed, but I am glad that everyone in my school has been so supportive. I thought about being a singer when I was in secondary school, but it's not practical in Singapore."
Mr Fairus, who performs at weddings from time to time, said matter-of-factly: "I think this video will open more doors for me in terms of singing gigs on the side, but I guess that's about it. This kind of viral stuff doesn't last that long."
"I'd feel honoured if she saw me singing with her. I hope she will also pick someone from Asia."
- Mr Fairus Adam
BY THE NUMBERS
Number of views Mr Fairus Adam's virtual duet with Jessie J has got so far on Facebook.
1,300 songs on music app
The Sing! Karaoke app was launched by US start-up Smule in 2012.
Users can choose from more than 1,300 songs in the karaoke app, sing into the mic on their mobile phones and upload the song to share with other users.
They can also perform virtual duets with other users all over the world.
Smule has more than 125 million users on its social music-making apps, which also include Guitar!, Magic Piano and AutoRap.
Besides Jessie J, other musicians who have used the app to connect with their fans include US country group Lady Antebellum and alternative rock band OK Go.
The Sing With OK Go campaign attracted 6,000 submissions, with users performing their own renditions of the band's song, The Writing's On The Wall.