Trace Taufik's roots, follow his journey to stardom, and be awed by what he has achieved thus far. Travel with Taufik back in the day but bear in mind that this is just the beginning of more great things to come. Come and be inspired by his story.
THE BIOGRAPHY OF A WINNER
When host Gurmit Singh declared on national television, "This is your Singapore Idol, the first Singapore Idol – Taufik Batisah. Remember that", little did viewers across the country imagine that this talented winner would accomplish such great success in a short span of time.
The Early Years
Born on 10 December 1981 in Singapore, Taufik is the youngest of three sons. His parents divorced when he was 12 years old and he was raised by his mother while his father moved to Johor Bahru, Malaysia.
Taufik studied at Boon Lay Primary School and thereafter, Jurong Secondary School. It was at Jurong Secondary School where he met his close friend, Mark Subra, who would later go on to form hip-hop outfit, Bonafide, with him.
Following the footsteps of his sailor grandfather and uncle, Taufik studied at Singapore Polytechnic and earned a Diploma in Marine Engineering. However, his dream of becoming a singer never faded, as he performed actively in school as well as with Bonafide.
Meanwhile, Bonafide became a group popular within the local hip-hop community, performing at various events. Together with local hip-hop trio, Vintage Flav’r, they opened at the Singapore Indoor Stadium for the Black Eyed Peas concert in 2004 and garnered further attention.
After his studies at Singapore Polytechnic, Taufik was enlisted for National Service. By then, the phenomenal hit reality talent show Pop Idol, finally made its way to Singapore, in the form of Singapore Idol.
Singapore Idol Journey
Taufik initially joined Singapore Idol with hopes of gaining recognition for his band, Bonafide. He made it past the auditions, for though he had been branded as “cocky and arrogant” by the judges, there was no denying his talent.
He secured one of the highest numbers of votes in his group in the Piano Show and got into the Top 12 of Singapore Idol. Week after week, he wowed viewers with his voice and consistently good performances. However, it was during R & B week that Taufik really stood out and Singaporeans began taking notice of this young gifted singer. His increasing fan base helped him progress smoothly through the competition, safely avoiding elimination every week.
On 1 December 2004, Taufik was crowned Singapore Idol at the Singapore Indoor Stadium before more than 8,000 screaming fans and 1.8 million viewers across the country. He scored a recording deal with Sony BMG and a management deal under Hype Records’ artiste management arm, ArtisteNetworks.
It was later revealed that Taufik had won 682,000 of the 1.1 million votes cast that night, while his opponent Sylvester Sim managed 418,000. This meant Taufik garnered an astounding 62% of the votes, a healthy 24% sovereignty over Sylvester.
Soon after his win, endorsements started flowing in and Taufik clinched a string of lucrative endorsements for brands such as Harmuni Rice, Samsung, 7-Eleven and HSC drinks. He even became the first Singapore artiste to endorse for Swiss watch-maker, Swatch.
Taufik swiftly assumed the mantle of role model for the youths in Singapore. He was appointed Bukit Batok Youth Ambassador by the Bukit Batok Youth Task Force, to encourage youths to participate in grassroots activities.
Taufik released his debut album, aptly named Blessings, on 14 January 2005. He continued to create history as Blessings achieved double platinum status just 20 days after its launch and to date, has sold more than 36,000 units in Singapore. The achievement was momentous in Singapore's local music industry as no English album had achieved double platinum status in a decade. During this time, his official fanclub named Fiknatic, was established.
With his album achieving such outstanding success, Taufik gave his first solo showcase at Singapore’s Kallang Theatre on 19 April 2005. Backed by a five-piece band, Taufik performed songs from his album in front of the 1,600 lucky fans. The showcase, entitled “An Evening with Taufik” was also released on VCD. In conjunction with his showcase, stamps featuring him went on sale and he became the very first music artiste to be featured on Singapore stamps.
Together with four other Singapore Idol finalists, Taufik worked on his first acting role in the Idol-oriented English TV drama Shooting Stars on Mediacorp’s Channel 5 and received largely rave reviews for his acting. The pilot episode debuted on National Day 2005 and a million viewers tuned in to watch, making it the highest English drama since 2001. He also performed an original R & B solo number “First” as well as the theme song with the other cast members for the soundtrack of Shooting Stars.
Taufik, an ex-smoker, was also named Singapore Health Promotion Board's Smoke-Free Ambassador and Healthy Lifestyle Campaign Ambassador 2005. He also contributed to the needy by performing on various charity shows such as Singapore Heart Foundation's Affairs of the Heart as well as Suria Channel’s Ikhlas.
Taufik further validated his status as a prominent figure in the local music industry when he was invited to be part of Singapore’s grand 40th National Day Celebrations 2005. For the very first time, two solo artistes, Taufik and Rui En, sang the theme song and performed the finale – a duet entitled “Reach out for the Skies”.
2005 ended on a high for Taufik when the Top 10 chart for Best Selling English Albums in Singapore for 2005 was released. His album, Blessings, took its spot at Number 3, being the only local album that managed to make its way onto the chart. He was also appointed as one of the ambassadors for StarHub’s mobile internet service – I MODE.
Taufik’s success continues in 2006 with nominations aplenty. He was voted Most Saleable Artiste at Suria Channel’s Pesta! Pesta! Pesta! Award show as well as Most Popular Male Artiste at Anugerah Planet Muzik 2006, which is the Malay music industry’s equivalent of the Grammy’s.
Taufik also won the award for Favourite Artiste Singapore at the MTV Asia Awards 2006, defeating the likes of Stefanie Sun, JJ Lin, Ado and Huang Yida.
This was followed by the eagerly anticipated release of his sophomore album entitled All Because Of You on 23 November 2006, which saw him make the step up to a singer-songwriter-producer. Taufik produced and wrote eight of the tracks on the album, and collaborated with local music talents such as Ahli Fiqir and Imran Ajmain. By the time 2006 came to an end, Taufik's single Usah Lepaksan had been steadily climbing up the radio charts. It was to remain on Ria FM's chart for a record total of fifty weeks!
Early 2007 saw Taufik take home the title of Most Popular Personality at Suria Channel's Pesta Perdana 9 Awards. His unyielding fan support was undenied yet again when he was nominated and won the Kids Choice Wannabe Award (Singapore) at Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards 2007 for the second year running. He also became Nickelodeon's Ambassador of the nationwide pro-social campaign The Big Help.
Beyond the Shores of Singapore
Taufik's musical abilities became increasingly recognised in the region, especially after winning three awards, including Most Popular Male Artiste (Singapore), Best Popular Song - Singer/Composer/Lyricist (Singapore) and Most Popular Song (Singapore) for Usah Lepaskan, at Anugerah Planet Muzik 2007.
He gradually ventured beyond his homeland, performing at venues in Malaysia and Brunei. On 5 September 2007, he released his long-awaited maiden Malay album in Malaysia titled Teman Istimewa (Special Friend). By mid September, the cover track had begun its journey up the Malaysian Radio Charts and the album received largely rave reviews in the Malaysian Media. The Singapore Edition of Teman Istimewa was released a month later.
Taufik continues to inspire the youths in Singapore and remains a shining icon at the forefront of a new generation of talented homegrown singers in Singapore's music industry and beyond.