Malaysian singer-songwriter Sissy Imann has been making waves since she burst onto the local music scene with hit single, Mungkin Kamu. We catch up with the young KL lass who has captivated fans with her brand of upbeat, jazz tunes.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Where were you born and where did you spend your childhood?
I am a singer-songwriter, a music teacher, also an actress. I was born and raised in Kuala Lumpur. Like all kids, I spent my childhood wondering what I would turn out to be … and what a rollercoaster ride it has been!
How and when did you get into singing?
When I was little, I loved to shout so much so that one day, I was scolded by my uncle. So my dad, being the overly protective dad that he is, he decided to hire a vocal teacher to teach me how to control my voice. Not to sing, but just so that I wouldn’t shout around the place. But little did he know, it was the beginning of my singing journey. So thank you, Dad, and the uncle who scolded me!
You obtained a Bachelor of Teaching in Music Education last year. Are you going into teaching or will you still focus on music?
I used to dream of becoming the most beautiful headmistress when I was a child. I love teaching! In fact, I started teaching when I was just 16 at a private music centre as a piano teacher. It’s hard to do both, but for the time being, my focus is on my music. I still teach part-time though. Trying hard to juggle both, actually.
You have chosen to focus on jazz. Why did you choose this genre?
I just love jazz. That’s it.
Where do you get inspiration for your songs?
I love reading. I love watching movies. I love listening to my friends’ stories. So, the things that I write about are often inspired by the stories I hear or watch. I even write about the things that my friends confide in me about their boyfriends. And of course, I often write based on my own experiences as well.
Growing up, who are some of the musicians who inspired you to become a musician yourself?
Alicia Keys for the keys, obviously, but mostly Michael Bublé. I love Bublé so much that he is the only man I would say yes to if he proposed to me! Just kidding. But I do love Mr. Buble! To me, he is an all-rounder, a musician and an incredible entertainer. His voice, his music, his stage presence, his image, his witty and hilarious jokes, I love him so much!
Tan Sri P. Ramlee was also a huge influence on my decision to be a musician. I grew up listening to him. He is indescribable. A musical genius. I love how he told stories through his beautiful songs. If I were to invite a person, dead or alive, to dinner, it would be him.
Which local artist or band would you most like to collaborate with for a song or an album?
Locally, I would say, Faizal Tahir. I co-wrote Pesanan Ayahanda, my latest single, with him and his team, so maybe a duet in the future! The others are Dato’ Sheila Majid and Noh Salleh.
How do you deal with fame? Do you get recognised when you are out and about?
Here’s a little story. When I first underwent my practical training at a school, a student bluntly asked me, “Teacher, why are you wearing Sissy Imann’s name tag? She is a singer, I know her songs. Who is she to you? Are you borrowing her name tag?” That was a funny moment!
But after I got myself into a reality show on TV last August, people started to recognise me in public, even without makeup – some people say I look different without makeup.
Some people even record me while I’m eating my chicken and licking my fingers at KFC and post it on Instagram. I don’t mind it at all. What is important to me is to gain their attention positively, so that I can reach out to more people and tell the stories I want to tell.
What do you do during downtime?
I take time for myself. I lock myself in my room to brainstorm, and then travel to enrich and recharge my mind, and I take a digital break from gadgets.
What can we expect from you in 2019?
More music! More collaborations and releasing songs that I’ve composed. I’ve started acting too! So please cheer for me when you see me at home on TV or at the cinema.