Dangdut queen Amelina makes a comeback - for her children
Malaysian dangdut queen Amelina, making a comeback after nearly two decades, says her main reason for returning is not for fame or glamour
In her glory days in the 1990s, Malaysian singer Amelina was famously known as "Ratu Dangdut" (Malay for dangdut queen) and was one of the industry's hottest talents in that genre.
After nearly two decades of keeping a low profile, she made her comeback in late 2014 and released her latest single, Cinta Harus Seksi (Love Has To Be Sexy), last year.
A new track is under way, as is a full-length album and a slew of concerts in Malaysia and Singapore later this year.
Striking out again might appear a perilous move.
After all, at 41, she is much older now than her current counterparts associated with the sexy music genre.
But age is something that Amelina, whose real name is Norazlina Amir Sharifuddin, is not concerned about.
She told The New Paper in a telephone interview from her home in Nilai, Negeri Sembilan, on Tuesday: "To compete with younger, slimmer and prettier singers who are only 21 is too 'gila' (Malay for crazy)! There's no need to. I'm here to do my thing and my main intention is to support my children. It's not for fame or glamour."
The single mum said her six kids - four sons and two daughters aged between seven and 15 - are her top source of motivation for working harder.
But they are also her biggest critics, especially when it comes to her image.
And they do not hold back when they remind her of her age.
"They will comment on anything from hair colour to choice of clothing and I value their opinions. For example, if I feel inspired by Korean fashion trends, my children will be quick to tell me that it doesn't suit me. They will tell me it's not elegant," she said with a laugh.
Asked if she faces any pressure to be sexy, Amelina stressed that she has never been one to dress provocatively.
"Many think dangdut is sexy or obscene, but I feel that I am neither sexy nor pretty. I am myself and I have always dressed appropriately. In the world of social media today, anything I do can stir gossip and I don't want to do anything to hurt my children.
"I want people to view dangdut as 'expensive' and classy, not trashy," she said.
When Amelina first made the decision to reboot her career in 2014, she said it was one of the scariest moments in her life.
She did not explicitly state her reasons, but many suspected that it was because she had split from her Malaysian businessman husband of 15 years and father of her children.
Little is known or has been reported about the low-key break-up.
"I was not confident at all, I didn't know where this would lead to. But I fought on and luckily for me, the journey has been smooth-sailing so far. It feels like magic, like I never left," she said.
After nearly two decades out of practice, Amelina could not help but find things she used to do intimidating at first.
When she filmed the upcoming music video for Cinta Harus Seksi last year in Jakarta, she admitted she felt "shy" when she had to come face-to-face with her object of affection during the shoot.
"The first day I met him for the first time, the second day we filmed. It was nerve-racking. But for me, it felt like I was experiencing something new all over again and the adrenaline rush was exciting," she said.
Amelina said she feels lucky that she has managed to retain her old fans and gain some new ones, both young and old.
With her unwavering popularity, it goes without saying that the bubbly entertainer frequently receives male attention, but she has her own way of fending off admirers.
"I laugh it off most of the time. There is a reason I address myself as 'Kak Long' (eldest sister in Malay). When I say that, it commands a certain level of respect... It's weird to talk that way to your older sister, right?" she said.
"In the world of social media today, anything I do can stir gossip and I don't want to do anything to hurt my children. I want people to view dangdut as 'expensive' and classy, not trashy."
- Malaysian singer Amelina