PETITTE Norfadzilah Najmi is a package of surprises.
The 32-year Negri Sembilan born lass is singer in a band – Nova – an all Malay band, but truly a Malaysian band.
Looks can indeed be deceiving.
Watching Nova perform for the first time at the Hong Chin Football Club 50th anniversary dinner at the Oriental Pearl Restaurant at the Bukit Jalil Golf & Country Club last Saturday, I was indeed pleasantly surprised.
My first impression was that what was a ‘tudung’ singer doing at the dinner of ex-footballers and mostly above 50 years old, and how was she and her band going to keep these guys entertained?
But after all the formalities of the anniversary function and when the band started playing, they rocked the hall and had the guests clapping and singing along,
The band was tight and sang almost any song – oldies, latest and all-time favourites.
But the biggest surprise for the night was when Fad, as she is known to her friends, started out belting Chinese numbers in Mandarin and Cantonese which had the guests, of which a majority were Chinese, on their feet clapping and dancing.
Ex-internationals, Yip Chee Keong and John Engkatesu, who were so thrilled by the performance of Fad and her band, went up the stage to start dancing which saw many more join then.
They even invited Fad to dance with them and she sportingly obliged them.
It was indeed a fun-filled night which kept guests entertained especially when Fad and her band showed further versatility when they started singing Tamil, Hindi and of course Malay songs.
Above all, they could sing any request hurled at them.
The focal point of the band was Fad who interacted well with the guests.
By the end of the night, the band was the talking point.
I had to find out more about Fad and when I spoke to her, she sprung more surprises.
Fad was an army corporal and served for nine years after serving in the territorial army (wataniah).
Why army and singing? Her father was also an army man and was a musician with the army band.
Fad, who has an older sister and younger brother has been singing since she was in Standard Five.
And her fluency in the Chinese language? She is Chinese educated since kindergarten till Form 3!
“I grew up liking Chinese songs as I was an ardent fan Teresa Teng,” said Fad.
“And with my father singing in the army band, I wanted to follow his footsteps and that explains why I joined the army.”
And her singing prowess was recognised by the army that she spent most of the time singing for army orchestra and Kor Renjer Diraja Malaysia.
Fad who joined the Sport School of Tunku Ampuan Durah in Form Four was also a sportswoman competing in silat gayong and a hurdler at school.
Among the bands she has sung with besides in the army include The Lost Chapters, Picha Picha Band, Baby Band and BB Bistro Band,
She has won in several Karoke competitions in Negri Sembilan and Kuala Lumpur besides competing in the Mentor programme in TV3 in 2012, Bintang RTM in 2010 and TV 2’s Rentak Juara (Battle of Bands) last year.
Her current band Nova based in Seremban was formed in 2012 with six members – drummer - Mohammad Farhan Fahmi Mohd Isa (nicknamed Paanjunks); bassist - Hamizal Zaini (Mizall); Keyboardist - Saiful Azizi Md Derus (Angah); Lead Guitarist - Muhammad Rashidi Ruseli Fadzil (Shady) and
vocalist - Zailani Yaacob (Jai).
“But singing is still part-time. I work with a maintenance company as a supervisor,” said Fad who has a three-year-old daughter.
Fad also does solo stints using minus one tapes.
However, Fad has no plans to become a fulltime artiste.
“I am happy having a day time job and singing at functions on a part time basis. I don’t think that I can just survive just singing, as the market is very competitive.
“But I hope that the uniqueness of the band for its versatility and being a truly Malaysian band we get more offers to play from various ethnic groups and not just confined to a select group,” said Fad.
Indeed, this band in unique and versatile. It is a matter of time they become a household name among bands in the country.
As for Fad, she is indeed going to be the main attraction in the band.