The Malay Heritage Foundation

Sarah Syazlina Mohammed Darni: Teman Warisan Recipient 2023

Soulful Songstress Sarah Syazlina Mesmerises Audiences with Versatile Melodies and Captivating Performances

We had the privilege of conversing with Syazlina, one of the newly appointed Teman Warisan, following the prestigious Hari Warisan 2023 ceremony held on January 20, 2024, at Persada Budaya, Wisma Geylang Serai. This event, meticulously organised by the Malay Heritage Foundation in collaboration with the Malay Heritage Centre, served as a momentous occasion to celebrate and recognise individuals who have significantly contributed to preserving and promoting Malay heritage. As the vibrant atmosphere of the ceremony unfolded, Syazlina’s appointment stood out as a testament to her outstanding achievements and dedication to the cultural landscape.

Syazlina’s involvement in Hari Warisan 2023 highlights her individual accomplishments and underscores the collective effort to uphold and showcase the richness of Malay heritage. This recognition event serves as a platform for individuals like Syazlina to share their passion, stories, and talents, contributing to the broader narrative of the Malay community’s cultural legacy. The collaboration between the Malay Heritage Foundation and the Malay Heritage Centre continues to play a pivotal role in fostering a sense of identity and appreciation for the diverse cultural tapestry that defines the Malay heritage in Singapore.

Finding Harmony in R&B, Pop, Jazz, and Soul 🎶✨ Embracing musical inspirations that resonate with the soul. #MusicIsLife (📸 Credit: Sarah Syazlina)

Q: Music undeniably holds a special place in your heart. What initially sparked your passion for singing, and how has music shaped your identity as an artist?

My passion for singing was initially sparked by melodies and tunes I heard in my childhood days. Growing up, my parents exposed me to a diverse range of musical genres, and I found solace and joy in expressing myself through song. Music has been my constant companion, influencing the very essence of who I am as a singer, songwriter, and performer and shaping the unique sound and way that defines me today.

Q: Your vocal range and versatility are truly captivating. Do you have any particular musical influences or genres that inspire your own artistic expression?

I have a select number of musical inspirations that I admire. I find comfort in genres such as R&B, Pop, Jazz and Soul.

Sarah, the Rising Star 🌟 Finalist of Juara Mic Junior, a testament to her talent and passion for music! 🎤✨ Watch out for her journey as she continues to captivate audiences with her incredible voice. #SarahTheStar #JuaraMicJunior 📸 Credit: Mediacorp Eaglevision / Sarah Syazlina)

Q: Your journey from honing your craft to performing on prestigious stages like Mediacorp Suria and the Esplanade is remarkable. What were some of your biggest challenges, and how did you overcome them?

The biggest challenges are before and after the show. A few examples are limited time for final preparations, ensuring all technical aspects are in place, maintaining physical and mental well-being before a show, assessing your own performance objectively, dealing with feedback after the show, etc. To address these challenges, I have to come with careful planning, effective communication and a positive mindset so that I can enhance my overall experience and success before and after the show.

Q: Your debut singles, “FASA,” “BENAR-BENAR LUPA,” and “RISAU,” showcase your artistic evolution. How do these songs reflect your growth as a singer and songwriter, and what can we expect from your upcoming album, more so that they have gained attention across Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia? How does it feel to see your music resonate with audiences beyond borders, and what messages do you aim to convey through your songs?

My debut singles represent a significant milestone in my journey as both singer and songwriter, reflecting a profound evolution in my artistic expression. Collaborating with talented producers and musicians has allowed me to explore diverse sonic landscapes, enhancing the overall richness of the musical experience. For my upcoming EP, my sincere hope is that it resonates with music lovers from various backgrounds and generations.

Through my music, I aim to convey messages of unity, empathy and the shared human experience. I believe in the potency of storytelling to evoke emotions and spark conversations. Whether it’s love, resilience, introspection or social issues, each song carries a unique message that I hope resonates with listeners on a personal level.

Experience the mesmerising talent of Sarah Syazlina as she takes the stage at the Esplanade for Pesta Raya: Malay Festival of Arts! 🎶 (📸 Credit: Esplanade / Sarah Syazlina)
Sarah Syazlina captivates audiences as Dang Anum in the timeless artistry of Malay Bangsawan theatre! 🎭✨ #MalayOpera #CulturalHeritage (📸 Credit: Anggerik Temasek Bangsawan / Sarah Syazlina)

Q: You’re known for your mesmerising live shows and engaging stage presence. What goes through your mind when you connect with an audience, and how do you maintain such positive energy throughout your performances?

When I’m on stage, my direct thought was to focus on performance, bring up the atmosphere to live, engage with audiences and enjoy the moment.

Q: As a newly appointed Teman Warisan, what message do you hope to convey to the community, particularly young aspiring singers?

My message to the community, especially to young aspiring singers, embrace your individuality and find strength in your unique voice. Stay true to yourselves, follow your passion relentlessly and view every challenge as an opportunity for growth. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different styles and genres, as this journey is about self-discovery. Ultimately, my hope is that aspiring singers find joy in expressing authenticity through their music, understanding that their voice has the power to resonate and inspire others.

From love’s embrace to society’s challenges, each melody ignites conversations and touches hearts. Sarah believes in the journey of resonance and connection.(📸 Credit: @19hakim_ / Sarah Syazlina)

Q: How do you think your music contributes to preserving and celebrating Singapore’s diverse cultural heritage?

Yes, I believe part of my music plays a role in preserving and celebrating diverse cultural heritage. By incorporating various music styles, rhythms and instruments from different cultures, my aim is to create a fusion that not only showcases the beauty of each tradition but also fosters a sense of unity and appreciation for our collective cultural wealth. Through some of my music, I hope to contribute to the preservative of cultural heritage by highlighting its importance and promoting cross-cultural understanding, fostering a world where diversity is not just acknowledged but celebrated.

Q: Hari Warisan celebrates the richness of Malay traditions. Do you draw from any specific cultural elements or musical inspirations in your art?

Yes, in my upcoming Hari Raya song, you will experience the essence of Malay traditional musical instruments like the rebana. The music will showcase the rich sound of these instruments, adding a distinctive and cultural flavour to the composition.

Two Heritage Champions Unite! 🌟 Sarah and Tyara Chynta Puteri, our dynamic duo of Teman Warisan 2023, embody the spirit of cultural preservation and passion. Together, they’re forging a legacy that celebrates our rich heritage. #HeritageHeroes #TemanWarisan. (📸 Credit: MHF)

Q: Looking towards the future, where do you see yourself taking your music? Do you have any collaborations or dream projects in mind?

Looking towards the future, I envision my music evolving into a diverse and collaborative journey. I aspire to explore new genres, experiment with different sounds, and push the boundaries of my artistic expression. Collaboration is a key element in my vision. I am eager to work with talented musicians, producers, and artists across various disciplines.

My dream project is to unite our local singers, dancers and musicians on a prestigious stage accompanied by an orchestra. The goal is to create a performance that leaves a lasting impact on the audience, showcasing the collective talent and creating a memorable experience for everyone involved.

Q: Finally, what excites you the most about being a part of Hari Warisan 2023 and receiving this Teman Warisan recognition?

I am honoured and thankful to be a part of Hari Warisan 2023 and to receive the Teman Warisan recognition. What excites me most is the validation of my efforts and hard work. The acknowledgement not only boosts my confidence but also serves as motivation to continue striving for excellence. Additionally, it fosters a positive and supportive environment, enhancing my enthusiasm for collaboration and contributing to the success of the team or community. Ultimately, recognition serves as a powerful reminder that our contributions matter and can make a meaningful impact on those around us.

Q: Describe yourself in three words.

Versatile – Expressive – Creative.

Follow MHF on Facebook, LinkedIn and subscribe to our YouTube, as well as newsletter, for regular updates on all MHF events, webinars, lectures, and more interesting news on the Malay arts and heritage scene in Singapore. If you would like to consider supporting the foundation’s initiatives to ensure that the heritage of the Malay community in Singapore continues to be protected, preserved and promoted as part of the national agenda (Singapore story), you may support us through a one-time or monthly donation here.

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