The music industry in Brunei is not as well-known as other part of world with few artists coming out and performing their pieces exclusively. However, there is an uprising in local talents coming up to show their tune to the public. We at Sutera managed to get an interview with Nur Ikhlas Sahfri, a local pianist that was a finalist during The Spotlight Brunei, a local talent show in the country.
She started to be interested playing the piano due to seeing her mother playing the keyboard when she was four years old. Her mother taught her first music scales and arpeggio but eventually Ikhlas decided that keyboard was not her instrument and went on to focus on the piano.
“My mum taught me a bit until eventually I can hear the notes clearer – back then the song “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton was very popular, since there was a piano at the living room, I tried to mimic the song from there. I didn’t get it right at first but once I did, I tried copying other simple melodies” said Ikhlas when she started playing the piano.
From this, she started to create her own compositions, one of the first song she created is called ‘Blackforest’, which she created when she was 9.
“I didn’t know that I was going to make it – Blackforest into a song but when I was nine, I created a small melody, then when I turn 14, I brought that melody again during music school, where I added different techniques to the song, now the song is completed” mentioned Ikhlas about her first song.
Other than that, she has another song called ‘Midnight’ where she performed it in the spotlight talent show.
Playing the piano requires a lot of discipline due to it requiring a proper body posture, finger movements and a lot of practice. So doing this as a profession is not without any challenges.
“There are not many platforms to perform in Brunei as a pianist, and usually the demand for all instrumentalist is overlooked.” said ikhlas about the challenge she faced.
But it is not without any solutions. Ikhlas see that all Bruneian pianist should really get out there and be confident with their compositions and get together and see what the journey will take them.
Now, Ikhlas is a music teacher. She is teaching at a local school in Brunei while still performing for events such as weddings and concerts. She is hoping to create an album soon with about 4 songs ready to be released in the near future. Eventually, Ikhlas wish to inspire pianist into playing different genres of music such as pop and rock music.
“To everyone who wants to give a try , just know that you need a lot of patience , commitment and a lot of hard work when playing the piano and remember to always put your soul into it, especially when you want to compose your own music.” highlighted ikhlas as an advice to future pianist or musicians.