By See Foon Chan-Koppen
They say that it runs in your genes but whether it was hearing his parents crooning day and night, or watching them perform professionally and picking up by ‘osmosis’, Iqwal Hafiz is a young singing sensation who has set his sights on recording in the USA and following in the footsteps of his idol Michael Jackson.
Teluk Intan Boy
Born and educated (at SRK St Anthony till Year 3 and then moved to KL) in Teluk Intan, Iqwal comes from an illustrious family background. His grandmother Toh Suri Wati Puan Salasiah Din, is one of the 32 Orang Besar in Perak and was the first woman football referee in Malaysia and Asia. His grandfather, Khairuddin Hj Ahmad, currently a college lecturer, was a teacher and active in Perak football and was deputy president of the Perak Football Association. His mother Normin Shah Khairuddin @ Myn used to sing professionally and is the guiding hand that has brought Iqwal to his current position, at the tender age of 18, to being acknowledged as one of the top stars in the performing arts in Malaysia.
Began Singing at 4
The journey of success into the world of show business of this young talent began when he was only four years old. The dramatic rise of this super young talent has been breathtaking. He had recently made Malaysia proud by winning four gold medals, one silver medal and one Hollywood Industry Award in the World Championship of Performing Arts (WCOPA) in Los Angeles in five vocal categories which includes Pop, Rock, Contemporary, Open Style, Original Work. Over 5,000 artists from 48 countries participated in the WCOPA. Iqwal was selected twice to represent Malaysia in the WCOPA.
In August 2008, Iqwal was again invited to represent Malaysia at ‘The Best New Talent Award’ at Kodak Theatre, Los Angeles, where he was crowned ‘The Best International Artist’ by defeating other participants from USA, Philippines, Guatemala, Africa, Mexico and Jamaica, to name a few.
Iqwal has created his mark by being the first Malaysian to perform at the Kodak Theatre, Los Angeles. This young talent, not only can dance well, but also sings in 14 languages: Italian, Spanish, Mexican Latin, Tagalog, Arabic, Hindi, Thai, Korean, Japanese, Cantonese, Mandarin, Tamil, Malay and English.
His first singing attempt was at the age of four when his mom, first discovered his exceptional talent. He got support from Ali Mpire (ex-XPDC vocalist) and Mel Wings (ex-Wings vocalist). His hardworking mom, Myn had exposed him to International music, singing competitions and enrolled him in a prominent music school to polish his skills. Since then he has performed along side famous artists like: M. Nasir, Ramli Sarip, Zainal Abidin, Faizal Tahir, Nash, Aishah and Mawi, in various concerts such as Citrawarna Malaysia, Malaysian Water Festival, Citrarasa Malaysia, Festival Gendang Malaysia, Di Ambang Merdeka and Masrah Hijrah Concert, to name a few. He also performs for most of Berita Harian and Harian Metro events such as: Karnival Jom Heboh TV3, Anugerah Bintang Popular, Fiesta Media Idola, GP Joran & Perkampungan Hadhari, as a resident artist and has done so since he was 11 years old.
Composing Since 12
Iqwal has been composing songs since he was 12; one entitled, ‘Secangkir Kasih’ which he performs with Dayang Nabila. With two albums published – Iqwal ‘09 & Iqwal 1Malaysia, he has set his sights on more achievements. He is in the ‘Malaysian Book of Records’ for ‘First Artist to compose 1Malaysia songs in 6 languages’ (Malay, English, Mandarin, Tamil, Iban & Kadazan) and he has a grand plan to gather all the artists originally from Teluk Intan such as Jamal Abdillah, Shidee, Zahid, Dato’ M Daud Kilau, to perform at the leaning tower of Teluk Intan.
Iqwal is not one to rest on his laurels. To improve his standing in the entertainment world, he will continue to compose and follow in the footsteps of his idols: Sudirman and Michael Jackson, aspiring to succeed like them. Firstly he wants to record an English song in America. Many would be cynical at his ambitions but for him “nothing is impossible if one continues to pursue one’s dreams”.
Iqwal will be performing at Ipoh Echo’s 100th issue Anniversary celebrations at the Impiana Hotel on August 6. It promises to be an exciting event.