“Hindi ka naman magaling!”
Newcomer Azrah once heard this line from a talent manager, and admitted to feeling a bit disheartened.
In an interview with PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) last December 10, she recounted, “Inisip ko nun, baka nga talaga hindi ako marunong kumanta.”
But with the support of her husband Ashroff, the first step to making her dream a reality happened last December 2, at the Hard Rock Café, where Azrah was introduced to the press.
She sang Juris’s “Di Lang Ikaw,” and mesmerized the crowd.
Shyly, she said, “Actually to be honest, medyo kinakabahan po ako nun. Pero naisip ko, ang tagal kong hinintay ‘to. Do my best na!”
The 28-year-old lady from Masbate refused to elaborate on her aborted launch three years ago.
“Ayoko na pag-usapan,” she began.
“Ako lang talaga, ang masasabi ko lang sa isyu na iyan, umasa ako, and I thought I really found a friend that can be trusted…”
She paused for a few seconds, then, resumed, “Ayoko nang pag-usapan talaga. Masaya naman na ako. Moving forward with my life, so okay na.”
HER NAME. "Azrah" was chosen by her husband.
According to babynology.com, “it is an urdu word of Arabic origin which means pure or young.”
Smiling, she explained, “Medyo mahaba kasi yung name ko. Sabi niya, since Muslim, he gave me that name.
“Sabi niya, ‘I really love this name,’ so ito yung gagamitin mong pangalan.”
Azrah’s affair with music began when she was just a kid.
“I joined mga amateur singing contests. Tapos, nagustuhan ko si Celine Dion. I normally sing most of her songs, yung mga ‘To Love You More,’ yung mga taas-taasan, ‘tapos yun…”
Among the local singers, she grew up listening to the songs of Imelda Papin.
“Siya yung madalas namin kantahin din. Kasi yung Ate Chona ko, kumakanta-kanta rin. Nagju-join din siya sa mga singing contests.
“Nung maliit pa ako, pinapakinggan ko siya… so sabi ko, 'Sana naman, paglaki ko, [ganun din ako]...'
“But then, nung ano na, medyo nagdadalaga na ako, sabi ko, ‘Ay, hindi ko yata kaya Ate ko, parang mas magaling siya.’
“But anyway, sabi ko, kailangan muna mag-abroad muna ako para pagbalik ko, kung gugustuhin ko, kakanta ako…”
She left for Hong Kong in 2000, “My sister brought me there.”
Her plan was, “make money muna so I can have my own album.”
Azrah affirmed, “Alam naman natin sa showbiz na hindi naman sure ball para maging successful ka kaagad. So ako, prepare ako, maayos man ang resulta ng singing career ko o hindi, at least, napakita ko sa tao na may talent din ako.”
HER ALBUM. At present, she’s still working on the selections.
“Siguro, I’m gonna have five songs. Actually, matagal na itong album na ito, e… Medyo nagka-problem ako with my… I don’t wanna talk about it.
“So ayun, sabi ko… ayoko na sana.
“But then, naisip ko, nasimulan ko na so why not finish it and we’ll see how the music world will embrace me.
“Some of those songs [were] composed by my husband. Three original songs in English.
“And the two songs, probably, I will have original composed by a friend of mine.
“Probably we’ll have a revival, but we have not yet decided.”
Through it all, her better half has been very supportive.
Azrah related, “So sabi niya, 'If you really wanna have an album… If you really wanna sing, then you better have an album.'
“Sabi ko, ‘No, kasi may anak na ako. Dati pinangarap ko.’
“Sabi niya, 'No, it’s never too late. You can always dream and make it happen now since kaya mo naman na.'”
And hopefully, come next year, Azrah will be launched as a recording artist.
When asked what will set her apart from the other singers, she answered, “I’m not really into that competition.
“Basta ako, I will just do my best, kung ano lang yung makakaya ko.
“Gusto kong makilala ako as ako.”
She said that in a resolute tone, ready to prove that she really can sing.