Yesterday's child stars today: Rani Singam
In The New Paper on Sunday (Sept 14), Judith Tan met three former child stars – Pepita Wee, Dennis Chew and Muhamad Raydza Abdul Rahman. Some stayed in the limelight, some were happier to move behind the scenes. But all stayed in entertainment in some form.
Here Judith talks to Rani Singam, who after finding some fame as a child, left showbiz only to return to performing to even greater success than before.
She was only seven when she joined the RTS Children’s Choir in 1978.
Today she’s a singer of some renown. She is even listed in The Jazz Singers, The Ultimate Guide – an encyclopedia of the best of the genre’s singers and sees Ms Rani alongside legends like Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra.
The 43-year-old former lawyer says it is her stint on TV that paved the way for this success.
“It was my parents’ decision for me to audition. The choir mistress then was Emily Ferdinands,” she says.
As part of the choir, Ms Rani performed at venues like the Singapore Conference Hall, National Theatre and – of course – the television station.
Her vocal talent soon saw her stand out from the others.
“I recorded a solo part for a radio show, singing a verse to the song Put Your Hand In The Hand.
I also met and performed with celebrities like Victor Khoo, Christina Ong & Clement Chow,” she recalls.
Ms Rani says she “retired” from the choir at the “ripe old age of 12”.
“Those five years were the most fun and enriching. Learning to sing, dance and perform in public.
It definitely planted the ‘performance bug’ in me,” she adds.
Subsequently, in secondary school and all the way through to university, she continued to perform.
But after starting work as a lawyer, the musical side of life almost came to a complete halt, and she was only performing at the occasional work-related event.
“I enjoyed working as a lawyer and I never thought of pursuing my music on a professional level as I felt quite settled,” Ms Rani adds.
But she found her way back to her childhood passion after leaving her legal career to become a stay home mother in 2001. That was when she decided to switch bars to become a singer.
“I have not looked back since,” she says.
Her singing career really took off when she was discovered by the legendary jazz maestro Jeremy Monteiro in 2002.
Initially mistaking her demo CD to be that of American jazz singer Sarah Vaughan, Monteiro knew he had found a gem and instantly offered to collaborate with Ms Rani.
She has since become one of the most sought-after vocalists in Asia.
Ms Rani has also been bitten by the acting bug and has performed in theatrical productions such as Marriage Is No Laughing Matter in 2011.
And after the small screen and the stage she is moving to the big screen as she is currently filming a role for a new movie, Our Sister Mambo.
This latest venture will be released next July to commemorate Cathay Orginisation's 80th anniversary.