December 19, 2011 at 4:03 pm
Since 2009, Najwa Mahiaddin (Najwa) has worked hard to establish herself – gigging at open mic nights, collaborating with contemporaries (her memorable Malam Nada Biru concert with Yuna) and gradually moving on to standalone shows with her band, Thing One, last year. It’s no exaggeration that she has given the local RB genre a presence in the singer-songwriter scene filled with indie and folk acts.
Her past works include a string of collaborations with local hip hop maverick Malique (ex-Too Phat) on tracks like Kau Yang Punya and Senyum and with all-girl supergroup The Ramlees featuring Yuna, Liyana Fizi and Mira (of Tilu) on Itulah Sayang, a track off Astro and XFM’s P. Ramlee … Di Mana Kan Ku Cari Ganti: Satu Indiepretasi compilation album.
Now with her debut album, Innocent Soul, the plucky debutante with alluring appeal hopes to popularise the eclectic sounds of neo-soul in Malaysia. “Neo-soul is a combination of jazz, funk, hip hop and pop and it’s something that is still quite new here,” she said. “There weren’t that many soul idols around when I was a child. I grew up listening to the likes of Billie Holiday and Jill Scott. They’re some of my all-time favourites.”