If some countries are able recognise the talent of international award-winning Malaysian singer Lyia Meta, why doesn’t her own?
Her songs have topped the charts of radio stations in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia – yet she still can’t get airplay in Malaysia.
Even the fact that Lyia has been the feature story of popular online entertainment magazines, including “Rolling Stone” of India, and has worked with top producers has had no effect here.
Could a series of upcoming performances in the US and India change this?
Lyia, backed by her guitarist husband Zack, is set for “gigs of a lifetime” in both countries next month and in November.
After first performing at a private event in Los Angeles, she will feature at the Texas Sounds International Country Music Awards in Marshall, where artistes from 15 countries will perform competitively.
On Oct 23 in Nashville, Tennessee, she will attend the Josie Music Awards as a nominee in two categories: EP of the Year, and Vocalist of the Year (multi-genre).
“I will be the first Malaysian nominated for a Josie award and to walk the red carpet at the Grand Ole Opry House, where the likes of Elvis, Johnny Cash and other country greats have performed,” Lyia said.
She is also a contestant at the Sarah Vaughn international jazz vocal competition in New Jersey. “I’m no jazz vocalist, but it is great that I at least qualified with my music and voice.
“The chances of making it to the top five finalists aren’t even slim – it will be impossible. But it’s nice that I am considered a contestant,” she told FMT.
Then in November, Lyia and Zack will perform at the International Independent Music Festival India, an initiative by the Kerala Arts and Crafts Village, a subsidiary of the state’s tourism department.
At all the shows, Lyia will perform her originals and releases that cover multiple genres such as country, rock, blues, R&B, gothic rock and metal.
Her trips to the US and India have been made possible through the sale of her canvas art pieces, as well as the generosity of well-wishers here and from Texas.
Lyia began selling her paintings after she was nominated for two awards and invited to compete at the Texas country music awards last year.
She said the organiser, East Texas Performing Arts, had also invited her to lead a two-hour seminar for high school and college students to introduce them to Malaysian culture.
“I turned down that offer as I didn’t need the stress I’d experienced in not getting any help from the ministry of tourism, arts and culture,” she revealed.
Lyia did not make the Texas festival due to lack of money and the government’s refusal to support her financially to perform and promote Malaysian tourism there.
She was, however, voted Female Vocalist of the Year and Virtual Entertainer of the Year after participating via a pre-recorded show.
Following FMT’s story last October on her plight and subsequent success, foreign ministry cultural secretary Ahmad Idham Ahmad Nadzri had given her assurance that the government would support her this year.
Unfortunately, “it did not happen, and I chose to raise funds on my own instead of hitting my head against a brick wall”, said Lyia, who was recently named an ambassador for the US-based foundation Ladies Who Rock 4 A Cause.
The organisation provides temporary assistance for women who face life-changing circumstances by bridging the gap between the resources they have and that they require.
Of her upcoming tour, Lyia added: “I am looking forward to meeting the generous folk of Jefferson and Marshall, and I cannot stress just how welcoming and supportive East Texas Performing Arts has been of my music.
“It’s been very humbling having this opportunity to be able to travel and meet artistes from all over the world. To cap it off, I get to do what I love.”
Source : FMT