Passionate and down-to-earth, this 30 something year old Malaysian singer-songwriter Taheera Rosheena began writing songs and playing the guitar at 16 years old when her father taught her how to play the basic chords. Her late grandfather was a saxophonist in a big band during the 50s-60s. A highly dedicated mother of three now, music remains as a serious hobby to her.
Taheera signed with an indie label, Phiz Records in 1998 and was featured in an album called Ilham Vol. 1 with V.E and Composed Poetry. In the initial stage, her focus was mainly towards pop music but soon after jazz standards became an essential part of her performances. She was actively performing in the Malaysian jazz circuit between 1999-2002 and even picked up the latin percussion instruments after being part of a Latin Jazz Big Band, The Emergency Break Ensembleled by Greg Lyons, a British saxophonist who is now based in Singapore. Lyons was also one of her teachers while she was attending the International College of Music of Kuala Lumpur (ICOM). Her mentor, Steve Hassan Thornton played a major role towards her musical understanding of playing music with much passion and charisma. Steve Hassan Thornton is a famous percussionist from New York who played with legendary jazz musician, Miles Davies, Sadao Watanabe and Roberta Flack. Steve who first came to Malaysia to session for songstress, Dato’ Sheila Majid and Zainal Abidin. He fell in love with Malaysia and has stayed in Kuala Lumpur ever since. In 1999 and the following year, Taheera became the opening act for two renowned jazz musicians, Grammy Award winners Al Jarreau and Diana Krall during their first concerts in Malaysia. She was also given the acknowledgement by Billborad Magazine US (1999) as “One of The Most Promising Artiste” representing the Asian Region category.
She then took a big leap in turning down her Berklee Scholarship and withdrew herself from the Malaysian music industry to focus on her family life. After a seven year silence, Taheera has returned with a mission to write meaningful songs inspired by her family, on being a woman and her surroundings. Influences Taheera listens to every music genre there is. A list of few of her favourite pop and not so pop artistes: The Beatles, Sting, Sarah McLachlan, Ani DiFranco, Fiona Apple, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Tracy Chapman, Randy Crawford, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, George Michael, Annie Lennox, Sade, Nirvana, Radiohead, Coldplay, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Jamiroquoi, Dave Matthews, Regina Spektor, Ella Fitzgerald, Harry Connick Jr., Diane Reeves, Diana Krall and etc. As for her Malay music influences, there is not a specific genre that she listens to but refers alot to a prolific Malaysian artist and composer, M. Nasir. His works encompasses a broad range of music and used by many other musicians. However, she particularly has a soft spot for the keroncong especially those sung by Kartina Dahari.
Taheera’s current major project is writing songs based on Malaysia’s National Laureate, Datuk Dr. A. Samad Said’s poems for children called Rindu Ibu. She also writes her own poems and lyrics in Malay and English. Her songwriting on the pieces by the laureate is her way of showing her appreciation for his support of her creative side throughout their relationship. Much like a father to a daughter, A. Samad Said encouraged Taheera to start writing novels but she discovered the bridge that linked their ideas together: his poems and her melodies. With her background in pop/jazz/folk, connecting poetry into music just fell into place. She believes that poems are easier to digest in the musical art form especially after discovering the importance of understanding one’s heritage. The cultural aspect of poetry enriches a nation and its people and she wants to remind the younger generation of the invaluable asset they have.
Performanceshttps://katasyahdu.wordpress.com/2010/10/30/suara-tulus-what-a-journey/To date, her performances at art and music related events include the Malaysian National Art Gallery and The Penang State Art Gallery. In November 2009, Taheera had the opportunity to perform a syair, an ancient traditional malay form of blues for the inaugural launch of the first translated book called The Epic of Hang Tuah at the Frankfurt Buchmesse in Frankfurt, Germany. It was a historical moment for her as it was the first time a syair was performed in English and witnessed by global audience.
Like a dream come true, in 2010, The Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra held the Suara Tulus concert whereby the orchestra performed a few of Taheera’s compositions based on A. Samad Said’s poems that were arranged for the her debut performance at the Dewan Filharmonik Petronas.