KUALA LUMPUR – Hot on the heels of her appearance at the national multi-cultural festival in Canberra in February this year, sultry vocalist and entertainer Rozita Rohaizad is set for another memorable performance Down Under.
This time, Rozita, who is the niece of the late great Puan Sri Saloma and daughter of legendary actress Mariani Ismail, will take the stage at an event organised by the Australian Students Organisation at Pyrmont Bay, near Darling Harbour in Sydney on Sept 27.
“I am now working on the lyrics for an English number, tentatively titled ‘I Wanna Always Be With You,” composed by Mohd Khairil Erwan Abdul Karim (popularly known as Kent Blues Metal), which will be my single album.
My audience in Sydney will be the first to hear me render this song before it is released in Kuala Lumpur,” the 70’s era artiste told Bernama Lifestyle & Youth in a recent interview at Bernama’s portal division here.
At the show, Rozita will be singing four to five songs in the half-hour segment on ‘Malaysian Festival’. Among others she will perform a song and dance Joget Budaya, Zapin Rinduan Kasih, Kenek-Kenek and either Jelingan Manja or Manusia.
SOLO RAP PERFORMANCE
“All these are my favourite songs, which are breezy and easy to dance,” says Rozita, who also dances on stage. She will be backed by students who will perform the traditional dances.
“In Canberra, the students joined me on stage unrehearsed and impromptu. This time, I sent the links to youtube of me with choreographed dances. Hopefully, they can follow the movements,” says Rozita.
The students will also showcase a Malay wedding reception, dikir barat, martial arts and wushu.
Others who will share the stage Rozita are Amy Search, Adira and Nur Fatimah, with each slated to perform for 20 minutes. Nur Fatimah or Nur Fatimah Abd Wahab, who is married to an Australian, will showcase her Australian pop rock band ‘Winter Skyline.’
At her Canberra show, Rozita gave a solo performance of her rap song, a catchy and electrifying ‘Kenek-Kenek’ featuring rap duo Dior and Doul. In this album, she only took the chorus of the original song ‘Kenek-Kenek Udang’ made famous by her aunt Saloma.
RAVE REVIEWS IN MEDAN
“It was an exciting experience I didn’t know I could perform in Canberra, which is near Parliament. The crowd at the two-day performance was amazing, and I got them clapping and joining me on stage,” she recalls.
Rozita has a versatile voice which covers a range of sweet and sensuous tones. Performing Malaysian pop, traditional and jazz, she is considered by many to resonate a similar sound and persona, to that of Saloma.
“I have an alto voice. I’m inclined to jazz but can do all songs. I can take all genres, but maybe not hard rock as I have a warm voice,” says Rozita, who received rave reviews from local newspapers for her performance at the 5th North Sumatera Jazz Festival 2015 on April 11 in Medan City.
Showbiz runs in the family. Besides Saloma, who had a big influence on her singing career, Rozita says she was blessed to have her father, H.M. Rohaizad, who was a lyricist, actor and singer.
Rohaizad, who kept a low profile was then assistant director during the late P. Ramlee’s heydays under Shaw Brothers in Singapore.
SCRAM – ALL-GIRL BAND
She remembers vividly that her father also held the position of president for the Singapore Union for Artistes (Profima). Her father died when she was only four, says Rozita, who grew up in the lion city.
Rozita was 17 when she started singing. A reluctant singer, she was shy to sing on stage, but after some persuasion from her cousin, she agreed to join an all-girl band Scram, who had a fallout with one of the members.
Rozita says her mother Mariani never encouraged her to dabble in showbiz, as academically she proved to have excelled in her studies. Rozita did not pursue her pre-university education due to her passion for singing.
She says it was the late Saloma who guided her and helped her overcome her inhibitions to perform in public.
After moving to Kuala Lumpur, Rozita was soon discovered by renowned composer Datuk Ahmad Nawab.
In 1978, she succeeded in producing her first album, Hari Yang Ku Nantikan and since then, her career began to expand under EMI.
READY TO ACT
It was early 80’s that her mother decided that she was ready to follow her footsteps as an actress. She accepted the offer to act in Dendam Di Pusara and Setinggan, says Rozita, who was known was for her hits Joget Budaya and Cik Cik Boom.
Rozita travelled extensively as a singer early in her career and has acted in various television dramas and five movies – Serampang Tiga, Dendam dari Pusara, Setinggan, Sumpahan Puaka and Phuyal18.
In Setinggan, she also sang the movie’s hit song (Gugur Mawar Desa) which won the award for best movie song in 1983.
She also starred in two theatre productions namely Theatre Lagenda Cinta and Datuk Syed Alwi’s Tok Perak Yang Mencari Dan Yang Menanti.
In 2008, Rozita came back on the scene with her third album Kekal Abadi. Self produced Kekal Abadi has 8 new pop rock songs.
DUET WITH JIM BRICKMAN
2008 was an unforgettable year for Rozita when she sang with the best-selling solo pianist Jim Brickman in November at the Kuala Lumpur Tower. They both engaged in a duet of ‘The Simple Things’ – the song Brickman selected for her to deliver that night.
In 2010, Rozita treated her fans to a raya song ‘Raikan Lebaran’ which has elements of Mideast and Spanish influences.
In Sumpahan Puaka, two of the songs she sang from her album Kekal Abadi – Korban Cinta and Bertamu Memori – received nomination as one of the best soundtracks at Filem Festival 2011.
Rozita says she also values her experience as a backup dancer and singer for popular entertainer Anita Sarawak during her performances in Las Vegas, Toronto and Hawaii for one year and a half.
After her marriage to former Umno executive secretary Kamarulzaman Bahadun, better known as ‘Kip Bahadun’, she started to spend more time with her family. Rozita is now a widow after her husband’s death on Nov 12, 2006 due to aortic aneurysm.
She made a comeback two years later.
Rozita, who has a daughter Lela Arfah Kamarulzaman, has gone through trials and tribulations, doing odd jobs from production assistant to secretary. She has also managed a restaurant in the 1980’s, but her business was badly hit by the recession.
And not many people know that besides her vocal strength, Rozita is also a remisier.
Rozita has also performed a duet with her sister, who is an actress and film director Melissa Saila in her song Kini Ku Sedar, while her mother Mariani lent her voice to a sketch in her song, which is a soundtrack for the ‘Rempit’ movie.
“People remember me in Setinggan, which is still being shown on most tv channels. I sing and acted in this film directed by the late Datuk Aziz Sattar.
“Lucky for me, I’m happy my songs get immortalised,” says Rozita, who has 30 songs from her albums Hari Yang Ku Nantikan, Kekal Abadi, Raikan Lebaran (Raya single) and Jodoh Tiada, under her belt.
She has also acted in a RTM documentary of P Ramlee and Saloma, musical theatre, tv series Gerak Khas, Tanah Kubur as well as telefilm Bila Larut Malam.
Rozita is also a committee member of the Malaysian Artistes Association (Karyawan), which keeps her busy with charity work. She enjoys swimming and badminton.
As an indie artiste, Rozita is hands-on. From utilising social media tools such as Facebook, Instagram, to media networking, she says that she is running a “one-woman show.” As a creative director to her albums, Rozita designs her own photography and album covers.
“It’s a good thing to be in Malaysia. Women here are given alot of support.” “Can’t please everybody, but I am happy to be surrounded by people who make me happy.
They are always offering to help me with my work, clothes, etc. Alhamdulillah, I’m happy to be back in the scene.”