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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Then and now: Amy’s rocking journey

Amy Search then and now
Amy Search then and now

BORN Suhaimi Abdul Rahman in Johor Baru on July 28, 1958, Amy is Malaysia’s King of Rock.

Famous for his energetic “live” acts clarion call “phweet” and his soaring voice reminiscent of Jon Bon Jovi, Amy is a founder member and the lead vocalist of the iconic rock group Search.

A fan of Led Zeppelin, Freddie Mercury (Queen), and Steve Tyler (Aerosmith), Amy nevertheless believes in “being his own musician”.

True to his word, he has, alongside Search, come up with some of Malaysia’s most evergreen rock songs — Fantasia Bulan Madu, Mentari Merah Di Ufuk Timur, Isabella and Langit Dan Bumi.

Amy and his band — guitarists Hamzah “Kid” Mohd Taib and Nordin Mohd Taib, bassist Nasir Daud and drummer Yazid Ahmad — are not only celebrated in Malaysia but also in Singapore and Indonesia.

In fact, many leading Indonesian rock acts pay tribute to Amy and Search as their “grand masters”. Search and Amy have come a long way since the band’s formation in 1981. It has had 20 albums to its credit and been on dozens of concert tours here and overseas (the United States, United Kingdom, Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia) throughout its three decades.

Their albums Cinta Buatan Malaysia, Langit Dan Bumi and Mentari Merah Di Ufuk Timur have seen good sales.

A producer/musician who has played a key role in its success is the celebrated M. Nasir.

Amy and Search had their first major showcase in Battle Of The Bands 1986, at Stadium Negara, Kuala Lumpur.

A year later, Amy and Search won Popular Group at the annual Anugerah Bintang Popular Berita Harian. They have also been major winners in Anugerah Juara Lagu and Anugerah Industri Muzik over the years.

Amy is also an actor and has starred in the films Isabella, Fenomena, Rock, Lu Pikirlah Sendiri The Movie, Sayang and Kepala Angin. He launched his parallel solo career in 1994 and came up with the album Magic. He has five solo albums under his belt.

Amy, most recently, gave fans an “explosive” performance at Istana Budaya, Kuala Lumpur, from March 26 to 28.

Titled Suatu Masa, the showcase was his first major show in the national theatre and a collaboration with the 35-member National Symphony Orchestra. Amy described it as a “trip down musical memory lane” which featured both his evergreen hits and songs with humanitarian messages.

Amy opened for acclaimed guitarist Slash’s recent showcase in Kuala Lumpur.

Slash is one of his all-time favourite rock guitarists whom he calls “the world’s sexiest guitarist”. He and Search also collaborated with Wings in the Double Trouble concert at Bukit Kiara Equestrian And Country Club, Kuala Lumpur this year.

In 2006, he won top prize in TV3 talent search Mentor Season 2. His contest protege, Sandakan-born Fiq Halim, is the nephew of Atomic Power founder Zakaria Buang.

Twice married, Amy is now one of “Malaysia’s grooviest grandpas”. His actress and television personality daughter Nabila Huda Suhaimi gave birth to a baby girl, Kheisya Laila, in mid-2010.

Amy has ventured into the restaurant business — the popular Cheng Ho Restaurant in Wangsa Maju, Kuala Lumpur is his.

The name is a tribute to the great Chinese-Uighur navigator Cheng Ho and serves all-Malaysian cuisine.

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