Fiza O and Hans Ashrie’s familiar voices have been gracing the ears of the Singaporean masses on RIA 89.7FM for many years. A Malay language radio station of Mediacorp, RIA 89.7FM operates on a 24-hour basis and plays the hottest Malay hits from the 90s to the contemporary.
One of the most recognisable names in the Malay media entertainment industry, Fiza O has been a successful radio presenter, television host, and producer for over a decade. In addition to her well-known status as the chirpy and wacky radio personality for the sensational The O Show on RIA 897FM, she has hosted numerous music awards, including the regional Anugerah Planet Muzik 2011. She is also the founder of local fashion label GIRLFRIENDS.
Hans Ashrie is a radio presenter, actor, and producer. In addition to hosting 2 Budak Nadal on RIA 89FM, he is also an actor for Focus 5 Films.
Below, they take us through their all time-favourites, spanning across local artists and international names like Backstreet Boys and Pink.
What’s one album you still listen to from start to finish, and why?
Fiza O: I used to be super faithful to that one album for weeks. I did that with Pink, Backstreet Boys, and Anuar Zain. I will even memorise their hidden tracks! Remember those times when albums had special hidden tracks only for loyal fans? But now, I will jump fleetingly from singles of one artist to another. I also think that most artists now will rather put out singles or EPs instead of full-length albums.
Hans Ashrie: That would be Thank You Allah by Maher Zain. When I heard his song ‘For The Rest of My Life’ for the first time, I fell in love the second the intro kicked in. I listened to every track in the album and felt connected to every title.
How important is it to you to have music playing as you go about your day (outside of work)?
Fiza O: A good fast number is always great company during my makeup rituals. Or a strong medley of hot bops and ballads to accompany me on a long drive.
Hans Ashrie: It can be very important as music sets the mood for the next thing on my to-do list, such as going home, going for events, or getting ready to head out for the night.
What’s one song that’s never gotten old for you? Please explain.
Fiza O: I think it will be any song by Pink. She has always been so ahead in her sound and messages such that any song of hers is still very much relevant. An example will be, ‘Don't Let Me Get Me’. I didn’t even realise that song was released way back in 2001!
Hans Ashrie: ‘Kau lah Segalanya’ by Hazrul Nizam. I heard this song back when I was still in primary school and now that I’m working at RIA89.7FM, the song is still playing. It’s just so timeless; you can fall in love with this track over and over again.
What’s one local song you really love? Please explain.
Fiza O: ‘Cenderawasih’, a poetic Malay song written by the very talented Zaidy Nandir. This song truly transcends all generations of local Malay music fans. The meaning behind the lyrics, the melody, and the soulful vocals – it's perfection.
Hans Ashrie: ‘It’s You’ by Sezairi. It reminds me of sweet romance. From the melody to the vocals and lyrics, every bit of it hits the right spot. If you’re searching for the right wedding song, this is the one. Discard any other song you’ve picked and take this, I’m serious.
Who’s one artist from whom you always look out for new music?
Fiza O: I have so many favourites and it's hard to choose one. But at this moment, I'm waiting for a new Rihanna hit. The entire universe has been waiting for, like, a million years since 'Work'.
Hans Ashrie: There isn’t really anyone in particular for me as I consider myself a universal music listener. Whenever someone releases a new track, I’ll take a listen and if it’s my kind of music, I’ll do some research about them. Other than that, I only look out for new releases and mixes by DJs, such as Hardwell, Snake, Bang La Deck, and more.
What’s one song you’ve listened to recently that the world should know about? Please explain.
Fiza O: ‘Let It Be Me’ by Backstreet Boys and Steve Aoki. No one anticipated this collaboration, so as a fervent Backstreet Boys fan, this is just love. This song is so fresh yet they kept it very true to their sound.
Hans Ashrie: ‘Cinta Luar Biasa' by Andmesh Kamaleng. If you don’t have the words to describe the exact way you felt when you saw your partner for the first time, fret not, this song has it all written for you. Just take a listen and you’ll be reminded of love at first sight.