I’ve never been so popular on Friendster or MySpace before but I’ve been getting all these nice and supportive messages from fans of Nikki and the song I wrote and produced for her “Caramu”. The song was the favourite in the Muzik Muzik semifinals to get into the finals. But on Friday, the judges voted otherwise. Hence the flood of messages.
I wasn’t going to say much about this whole thing because frankly, I don’t really care. Not because I do not love what I do but more because I have always thought these things were silly anyway. They should be giving money, awards and recognition to people who save lives and do good things for humanity. Name one famous teacher or social worker and I will name you eight composers who really needs the prize money from a song competition. (who are coincidentally the same people who are in the finals :-)
But I digress.
Now I feel I owe it to those who have been supportive these past few days to explain and give my two cents on the whole situation.
First of all, I am really OK. I am not in denial. Honestly, I don’t really care. I never did. I don’t need to cry. You don’t have to talk to me in a way that you think I am going to burst out into tears. Not all composers are emotional. I am not Bob Dylan.
Now I will tell you why I don’t care.
Because majority of people in the industry today will never understand what I do. Which is OK because all it really shows is how antiquated their tastes are and dare I say, how irrelevant as well. But I understand where they are coming from. They are looking for “real” songs. Songs with the right chords, right structure…in their world where there is such thing as “wrong” music. I heard “Caramu” didn’t make it because they thought the lyrics were too simple. With that same logic, a song like “Obladi Oblada” wouldn’t have made it. And Ruffedge’s “Da Bomb” is stupid and repetitive. But they fail to see that half the people leaving the hall that night probably had that song stuck in their heads. So for my next track, I am getting Usman Awang to write lyrics.
Also, the judges are learned, musically-trained, established and creative artisans. Compared to them, I am a hack job who got lucky. Can you imagine one of their kind actually saying they like something simple?
Judge 1: Eh. Aku suka lagu Ruffedge "Da Bomb" lah. Korus tu memang da bomb.
Judge 2: You, my friend, are an imbecile with tastes best suited for someone who lives in the outer rim of Kay-pong.
Judge 1: Oh pardon me luv. I must have lost my head. By the way, do you have some Grey Poupon?
Then they'd air-kiss and drink tea.
I will tell you what is important to me.
That there are people out there who like the stuff I do. I am grateful for the fans of Nikki and those who like my songs and even suggest to artists that they need songs from me. That’s what matters to me and that's what makes my balls grow bigger. The only thing now is that I wish you cheap bastards would pay for the music instead of downloading the thing. :-) But I have nothing but love for y’all.
Having said all that, I do feel bad. Not for myself but for Nikki’s manager, Vernon and her mentor Joe those who worked on getting the song to work for Nikki. And also for Nikki who worked her ass off having to dance in high heels. My two or three weeks working on the song pales in comparison to their many thousand hours of thinking and work they put in after I give them the final track. But enough of the ass kissing. My lips are chafing.
One last thing. Many people feel “Diari Seorang Lelaki” by Pretty Ugly do not deserve to be in the finals because it sounds too much like “Sunday Morning” by Maroon 5. Hell yes it does. But not the melody. If you strip away the music arrangement, and have them strum that song on a guitar, you will hear a good song and I think it does deserve to be in the finals like all the other songs in the finals. After all, it's all a matter of tastes, isn't it?