In the last five decades, veteran singer Rahimah Rahim has built up her name as one of the home-grown music scene's most distinctive names, appearing anywhere from Malay radio and Chinese television programmes to National Day Parades and charity shows.
So when it came time to stage her Esplanade Concert Hall concert this Saturday, which surprisingly is her first solo headlining show after all these years, the 61-year-old mother of two decided that it was going to be no ordinary show.
"I'm going to take the audience through a journey of my life and there will be insights into my life as a singer, a daughter and a mother," says the bubbly multilingual singer who was inducted into the Singapore Women's Hall Of Fame in March and appeared last month in Channel 8 Hokkien drama Eat Already?
Nothing will be spared, she says of the performance, which will be programmed like a musical with a storyline based on the ups and downs of her life in show business.
The show will also touch on her early years, such as the time she made her debut as an entertainer at the age of six with an acting role in Malay film Korban Kasih (1961).
One of her three grandchildren, aged 12, will make a cameo and play the young Rahimah, who moved from acting to singing with the launch of her 1972 debut album Mana Ibumu (Where Is Your Mother?).
Some hit songs from her 12 albums that she will sing, like Masihkah Ada Cinta? (Is There Still Love?), echo pivotal moments in her life.
The creative minds behind the show, as well as the guest stars, are all people who are close to her, so the experience will be authentic.
Rahimah, who was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award earlier this year at Pesta Perdana, Mediacorp's award show for the local Malay television industry, says: "These are the people who know the real me."
Entertainment industry veteran Najip Ali, with whom she has worked since his national service days, is the creative director, while Malay entertainment personality Hafeez Glamour has written the script and will narrate the show.
Besides her granddaughter, the concert will also feature other entertainment figures in her family such as sister Rozie Rahim and cousins Mahani Mohamed, a singer, and Malaysian actress and director Fauziah Ahmad Daud.
Indeed, music has always been a family affair.
She credits her late parents, singer Rahim Hamid, known in the 1950s and 1960s as Singapore's Nat King Cole, and actress Mariam Baharom, for shaping her show-business talents.
"My father was my inspiration, while my mother was my number one critic," says the singer who is also affectionately known by her nickname "Kak Gerl".
And while most of her hits sung at the Esplanade show are in Malay, she will also sing in several other languages.
There will be Japanese tunes from the time she won the Kimi Koso Talentime, a singing competition in Tokyo in 1974, as well her rendition of tunes by late Chinese singing doyenne Teresa Teng.
She will also sing her recently released single, Gelas Gelas Cinta (Glass Of Love), her first new song in more than 10 years.
Recorded in Malaysia, she will sell CD copies of the single, priced at $10 at her show, with all the proceeds going to the late Kelantan singer Megat Nordin, whom she worked with just before he died of liver cancer last month.
Rahimah, who gets regular singing engagements both here and across the Causeway, says that she does not see herself retiring from the show business anytime soon.
"Singing is still my passion," she says. "This is how I practise active ageing."
BOOK IT / RAHIMAH RAHIM, MY LIFE, MY ART
Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.