Nubhan has made much progress in his singing career since his Akademi Fantasia days.
AFFABLE, polite, engaging and warm – that’s how one would describe new singer Nubhan. Ironically, a year ago, Nubhan didn’t impress me much when he was voted second runner-up in the sixth season of Akademi Fantasia.
Now, Nubhan, whose full name is Ahmad Nubhan Ahamad, bowled me over and it was amazing to see the transformation of this young talent.
During his 10-week stint at the academy last year, he was known for having an irritating nasal voice and was dubbed suara angsa (sounds like a goose).
“I’m trying very hard to get rid of that sound,” said the 23-year-old. “I was extremely nervous then. I was menggeletar (shaking) inside out. That’s when my suara angsa came out,” explained Nubhan, recalling his weekly experience during the live concerts.
But instead of writing him off like some people did, singer Ning Baizura and her then partner-manager Vernon Kedit-Jolly saw something different in the lad.
Relentlessly they pursued the Negeri Sembilan-born Nubhan who was then with Maestro Sdn Bhd (the company which managed all the academy students and has been closed down since).
Nubhan then signed up with Artistes United Records Sdn Bhd and was officially under the tutelage of the no-nonsense artiste manager, Kedit-Jolly.
A year later, the industry can see his transformation from a shy boy to an engaging entertainer.
“This is my chosen profession, this is how I cari makan (earn a living). Now that I’m in the entertainment industry, it is not how I had imagined it to be. It is not a glamorous world after all. It is about being hard-working and pushing your creativity continuously to sustain your popularity.
“I need to learn and absorb as much knowledge as I can. No matter how tired I am, the show must go on,” said Nubhan, whose days are packed with activities from morning to evening.
“For me, being busy is good as it shows that people still want to see me sing or act. I don’t want it to be a flash-in-the-pan kind of thing. Everytime I see Datuk Siti Nurhaliza perform, I am inspired to be like her. She’s highly-disciplined and talented, that’s why she is still at the top after all these years.”
Nubhan recently ventured into acting, with a supporting role in movie Lagenda Budak Setan, also featuring Farid Kamil and Lisa Surihani.
“It was fun acting. It is different from singing. I want to do both as some fans want me as a singer and others want to see me as an actor.
“It was quite hard to play my role in the movie as it is opposite my personality. You know, being a bully was a big challenge. I think my scenes have the most re-shoots by the director, Sharad Sharan. Everything went well during rehearsals but the moment the cameras rolled, I would be so nervous that I fumbled.”
Despite the fame and adulation with a fan base of 5,000 members nationwide, Nubhan admitted that being in the limelight means he has to work extra hard to boost his credibility as an entertainer.
“I have done a lot of work before, from a part-timer collecting eggs (in his teens) to a construction worker and working as a sales executive in a bank. If you talk about hardship, I think I have experienced it all.
“And I take my fans seriously. Without their support I wouldn’t be here talking to you.”
When asked about stiff competition out there, Nubhan said he wasn’t too worried about that.
“Competition is everywhere, regardless of your career choice. I was nervous initially, thinking how was I supposed to compete with all the new singers.
“But after a while, I decided I have to move forward by giving my very best and working extremely hard to sustain my popularity.”
If his first attempt at testing the sluggish market by releasing his first single Ada Untukmu was anything to go by, Nubhan looks set to soar. The song received heavy airplay on the local radio stations and it was soon followed by the second single, Seadanya Aku.
Much to his delight, Ada Untukmu has been nominated to represent Malaysia in the Best Vocal Performance In A Song (New Male Artiste) category in the upcoming regional award show, Anugerah Planet Muzik 2009, to be held at Balai Sidang Konvensyen Jakarta, Senayan, Jakarta, Indonesia, on July 18.
“I released Seadanya Aku to introduce my debut album,” said Nubhan, adding that he is in the midst of compiling materials for the album.
So far he has collected about six songs written by top-notch composers such as Ajai, Audi Mok, Tam Spider and Sharon Paul.
“I will record a Mandarin song in the album because I want to reach beyond the Malay market,” said Nubhan, who speaks fluent Mandarin as he had both his primary and secondary education in Chinese schools.
“But I rebelled against it (attending Chinese school) when I was 15, blaming my parents. Looking back, I’m very thankful,” shared Nubhan, who holds a diploma in tourism.
“I have this huge interest in tours and travelling that involve nature. Besides, I also want to further my studies in tourism and become a successful businessman,” said Nubhan whose blog ahmadnubhan.blogspot.com has received 70,465 hits since May 2008. Not bad for a young up-and-coming singer-actor.