Afgan Syahreza  

Afgan Syahreza has won many plaudits for his talents. Amongst the various awards that already clutter the shelves are Best Male Vocalist (at the 2009 Indonesian Music Awards) and Best Male Artist (at the 2009 Planet Muzik Wards, celebrating engaging artists in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore). As well as his immense musical talents, he is currently looking to gain some exam success while he studies at the Monash University, Malaysia.
One thing about Afgan is that he is no ‘one-trick pony'. He consistently demonstrates his versatility in various musical genres. As well as pop, he excels in R&B, soul and jazz.
Malaysians like to identify with the young singer because, unlike some Far Eastern performers who have found fame in reality shows or cheesy talent-spotting contests, his talent is natural. This makes his meteoric rise to international fame all the more surprising. Afghan never received any formal vocal training as he was growing up. The second of four children, Afgan's family was of Minangkabau extraction. They describe themselves as reasonably musical, but when it came to exercising his vocal chords it seems Afgan was self-taught.
He set out on his artistic journey after getting together with a bunch of friends to record a private album. This was performed at the appropriately titled WannaB Instant Recording Studio. As soon as the resident studio producers heard him singing, they offered him a contract on the spot.
This led to his debut album, Confession #1. Amongst the eclectic range of tracks recorded for this smooth meld of jazz and pop were ‘Terima Kasih Cinta', ‘Sadis', ‘Tanpa Batas Waktu' and ‘Klise'. A music video of the former was recorded, produced by Thalita Latief, and directed by Jose Purnomo. His performance on this album led to his award at the 2009 Indonesian Music Awards. That same year he cemented his arrival in the Indonesian public eye by acting in the movie Bukan Cinta Biasa, alongside Olivia Lubis Jensen. As well as performing before the cameras, he sang the title track for the film's soundtrack album.
In 2010 Afgan made another acting appearance, this time in the film Cinta 2 Hati, as well as providing vocals for the soundtrack. Following on from the critical and audience acclaim for Confession #1, his second album was released the same year. Entitled The One, this was received with equal enthusiasm. Afgan performed the theme for the 2011 Southeast Asian Games, the biennial sporting event involving 11 Asian participant nations. That year it was held in Bangkok, Thailand.
One of the keys to Afgan's enduring success has been the way he can dip between different sounds. Check out his single ‘Sadis', from his first album. This allows him to spread his range over a soft piano refrain, which soon builds up with full-blown orchestration and a strident guitar solo. This song has the same vocal hooks and bombastic delivery that would fit extremely well into theatre productions, or even a Disney musical.
Known for his cheeky grin, handsome features and slightly ‘nerdy' image, Afgan is no dumb pop performer: far from it. As well as possessing an excellent vocal range, we hear he was studying Economics at the Monash University Malaysia. He is obviously aware that fame and success can be incredibly fickle concepts, especially where pop music is concerned.
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