Meet CLEO Hot Shot 2018: Nadhira Nishaa Shamsuri

NADHIRA NISHAA SHAMSURI, 33, Singer-songwriter

Panelled top, Cassey Gan; earrings, Bremen Wong; boot cut jeans, Nadhira’s own.

If you’ve ever needed a reason to finally take that leap of faith, look no further than singer-songwriter Nadhira Nishaa Shamsuri. She jumped to pursue her dreams of being an artiste and never looked back. Every day is an adventure for the shy yet optimistic songbird as she pushes hard on the everyday hustle. She hopes to eventually break out in the film industry so directors, you know who to call.

What was a significant turning point in your journey in becoming a singer-songwriter?

I was working in an advertising agency when I decided to take that leap. It was actually a very close friend of mine that pushed me to pursue my dreams and reach for the stars. Life hasn’t been the same after that. I love the everyday adventures of being an artist. It’s uncertain and can be nerve-wracking sometimes but that makes it interesting. It keeps me on my toes. The hustle doesn’t stop!

As a singer-songwriter, what kinds of stories are you trying to tell? Why?

I’ve always in one way or another told stories of love; love in many different forms. Jealousy, secrecy, adoration, sadness, loss, lust—to me, those are all the different shades of love. I do it because they are feelings that I try to understand within myself and others. I’m pretty sure we all have many different experiences when it comes to love. I just put it in a way that can be creatively expressed through music and song.

Fame or success, and how would you like to be remembered?

Both. Fame because you can use that in so many positive ways to influence and inspire. It’s not the only measure of influence, but it is a platform that fans or people naturally gravitate towards. When you’re popular, people want to hear your thoughts and ideas. Success is equally as important so that you can be an example for your children or anyone else to thrive in working hard and going for their dreams. I would love to be remembered as a kind and sincere person; with no veil in between. I think those are two very important traits to have in order to live a blessed life.

To do something you’ve never done before to get somewhere you’ve never been and to go beyond your limits as well stepping out of your comfort zone. I think I just described it in a few different ways! Haha! Stepping into unfamiliar ground while doing things out of the ordinary. When one is able to do that, it sets the bar higher. It can be both a personal achievement, a pat on the back and for ones to follow. Setting a mark in the industry pretty much.

— Nadhira on “pushing the envelope”.

What is the most rewarding thing that you find in your work? 

Making new friends everywhere you go. Having friends from different paths allows you to have a world filled with harmony and joy. After all, this world belongs to all of us and we share this space together. It is important to be in harmony with everything that co exists in it. On top of that, it’s seeing people respond to your music. When their faces light up, that’s when you know you’ve impacted them in a way. It’s a kind of liberation that comes with it.

Where do you get your inspiration from and what fuels you the most?

I get inspired by being friends with other artists and watching them succeed in their craft. That inspires me and fuels my journey. You know what they say—‘iron sharpens iron’. The more you’re surrounded by talented individuals, the better you become. Music is a community and you can’t exist on your own. Can’t be a lone ranger, can you? I draw my inspiration from everyday life. What I see, what I hear, what I feel. Observations.

If you could take away one thing from this industry before walking away from it, what would it be? Why?

A Grammy, just because it’s a seal of approval WORLDWIDE! Not just anyone can get a Grammy. You’ve got to be the top dog. I think when I get one, I can say, “Oh, I’ll call it a day now.”. The music industry locally and internationally is filled with uber talented artistes so the competition is really stiff. You know you’ve ‘made it’ once you’ve bagged one of ‘them gramaphones’ to be on the same level as Bruno Mars, Adele, Alicia Keys, Katy Perry and the lot.

How do you push through your worst times?

I hang in there. I pray. I try to stay positive (although it’s really hard sometimes). I confide in  friends to let things off my chest. I put everything back into perspective and remind myself why I wanted to do this in the first place. I must admit that I’ve felt like taking the easy way out many times; to just drop everything and be a stay-at-home mom but then I’ll forever live in the ‘could-have-been’. And I just keep going. The engine restarts and kicks off again.

What’s one flaw of yours that you’ve embraced and turned into strength? Give us an example.

I actually have a bunch of insecurities that I’ve overcome over the past couple of years. For example, I actually don’t think that I’m that great of a singer and I’m actually really shy too. I’m one of those ‘extroverted introvert’. But I use that to push myself harder so I could be on top of my game all the time. Giving 110% every single time I perform and by putting more thought into my craft so I could prove myself wrong. That has become a strength because I’m a little more meticulous.

What’s the driving force behind what you do? Why?

10 years ago it would be my own dreams and goals but if you’re asking me as of today, I would say my family. I do all this because, I want to be able to give something back to my family and so that my son can have memories of me when I’m gone. It’s quite different now because in the past, all I had to care for was myself. It was all about me but now that there’s a little person in my life, the push is not just passion but knowing that I want to leave a legacy behind is the true driving force.

Imagine yourself in 5 years. Tell us where you would you like to be and your accomplished achievements.   

Oh this is a tough one! I’d imagine that my family would have grown bigger and that I would have toured the region or even the world by doing what I do best. I reckon I would have also progressed into other areas such as acting. *Hint, hint! Film directors, come get me already!*. I guess that simplifies my imagination 😉


Special thanks to Alila Bangsar for venue assistance during the whole production.
Official sponsors: Wet n Wild Malaysia and Sasa Malaysia.