Winnie Albert, well-known in Sarawak’s Dayak community, had recently re-created a name for herself when she sang “Percayalah” by Datuk Seri Siti Nurhaliza at a smokehouse in Kuching.
The video, which was posted on TikTok, showed the Iban artist singing soulfully and drew the attention of many people, including comedian Harith Iskandar and the song’s composer Ajai.
The veteran singer of many popular songs such as “Nadai Ganti Nuan” and “Mulan” told New Sarawak Tribune that she has been a fan of Siti since she was a child.
“It has been a while since I last sang a rendition of her songs. I thought I didn’t have what it takes to bring out the best in it. It turned out that many people liked my rendition. Nonetheless, I am not as good as the number one singer.”
Nonetheless, the singer revealed that she is dedicated to bringing out the best in every song she sings. And it includes putting her all into performing them.
“When I sing, I always express all of my emotions. If the song is sad, I will sing it with a sad heart. The same goes for happy songs; I will sing them happily.”
A veteran singer who sings love songs and heartbreak songs for the community, she also sings lullabies and children’s songs to her four children at home.
The 45-year-old, who has been singing since she was a child, regarded her voice as a gift from God. She also revealed that her father, who was a police officer, enjoyed singing.
Winnie made her professional debut as an Iban singer in 1992, when she released her first album. She now has over 30 albums with countless songs.
Winnie went on to talk about her first singing competition.
“In 1988, I participated in and won the Bintang Kecil competition organised by Radio Television Malaysia (RTM).”
Winnie had also won various singing awards, including Juara Lagu Cats FM.
“I’ve always enjoyed singing and have done so since I was a child.”
Despite having much to be proud of, Winnie describes her career in the industry as having 70 per cent bitter moments and 30 per cent sweet memories.
According to her, the most difficult aspect of her job as a singer is dealing with baseless gossips.
“This is life. There will always be rumours floating about if you are a singer who is well-known. It can be unhealthy for me, but I try to buang yang keruh, ambil yang jernih (look at the bright side).”
Despite the difficulties, Winnie persevered and remained patient.
“Everything will be fine as long as I believe I have done my best. Not everyone will like us. But there is a chance that we can influence others to like us.”
Winnie, who has a dynamic and harmonious voice, revealed that she had never taken any vocal lessons.
“I taught myself how to sing. I also searched YouTube for tips on how to improve my vocals.”
As a singer, she must take good care of her voice. Winnie revealed a trick she had been practising for a long time.
“Regularly drinking warm water is important. In the morning, I also drink it before brushing my teeth. This will help me maintain my voice,” she said.
In the future, the Iban singer hopes to perform on an international platform.
“I would also be happy if I could continue to make Sarawak proud through my achievements in the industry,” said Winnie.