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Entries in open mic kuala lumpur (1)


A New Open Mic Series in Kuala Lumpur


Read the full article here:


June 2017 Update:

I recently wrote 3 new articles about the important aspects of the open mic experience. You can read them here:

Open Mic Nights – A Stage For All Musicians
Before The Mic: Do’s And Don’ts For Performers At An Open Mic Night (Part 1)
Ready? Set: Do’s And Don’ts For Performers At An Open Mic Night (Part 2)


Thank you for all the support throughout the Open Mic series. We're currently taking a break from running the series due to other projects in progress. 

If you'd like to explore us hosting an open mic or running a special one-off open mic event, please contact us here:


Join my newsletter for a FREE 7-song acoustic guitar MP3 compilation
& to be updated of upcoming open mics & shows, new blog posts & videos.


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We hosted an open mic for SPARTFEST 2013:

Sign-ups for the SPARTFEST open mic is at 7pm. Show starts at 8pm and ends at 10pm.

Here's the event page:

Featured act is Reza Salleh. Az will also perform a duet with Reza as part of Reza's featured set.


The last open mic was at The Venue is on June 17, 2013

Featured act is cello rock band, Paladin!

As a bonus, we have YouTube sensation fingerstyle guitarist Mike Dawes who will make a special appearance! 

Official FB Event Page:

**Featured Open Mic Act**


The Paladins were elite warriors and swordsmen who served, fought and protected Charlemagne, King of France in the 12th century. In Malay, “Paladin” is a synonym of the word “Pahlawan” which stands for Warrior. Paladin is a newly formed Cello Rock band Based in Malaysia. Its name best expresses the constant struggle and extreme difficulty of the band’s objective which is to use classical cellos and techniques to play heavy and loud contemporary music in the most credible way.

The cello is known as a noble instrument, the voice of Kings with it’s deep, mellow, soothing, melancolic and sometimes aggressive sound. It has access to the most amazing playing range from deep bass registers to violin-like sharp pitches, which makes it ideal for playing basslines, riffs, solos or just creating amazing ambiances.

All of its members are professional cellists who met doing gigs in the KL music scene and found they had the same musical interests and ambitions taking the cello further into the contemporary scene. Using exclusively classical cellos which sound is sent through pick ups and guitar or bass effect pedals, the band is able to produce a wide variety of sounds, from the purest accoustic cello sounds to the most extreme and unique electric sounds.

Paladin focuses on the live performance of their own arrangements of popular songs from all types of musical genres, from Hard Rock to Pop, Funk, Reggae, World Music and the likes, which are always warmly welcomed by all audiences and perceived as innovative, original, visually stunning and most importantly, loads of mad fun.

Paladin is the only cello rock band in the South East Asia Region and is currently in the middle of working out exciting collaborations with well-known local artists as well as planning a busy concert year both in Malaysia and abroad.



1. Sign-ups begin at 7:30PM. Look for me or Yin - we will have a sign-up sheet for you.
2. Solo acts can only sign up for themselves, not for other friends. This is to be fair for all open mic performers. 
3. A member of a duo & groups can sign up on behalf on their act, that they are a part of.
4. Each act will get to perform 2 songs/pieces, 10-minutes max.
5. Slots are on a first-come, first-served basis. 
6. There are only 15 slots maximum. This is to allow all the acts that sign-up to perform 2 songs each/10-minutes max per act. 


1. Bring your own guitar/bass/instrument & cables
2. Sign-ups on first come first served basis
3. Be considerate to other open mic acts - don't play epic 20 minute songs, remember you only have 10 minutes
4. Tune-up before going on stage
5. There is no soundcheck, you'll have to setup pretty quickly on stage
6. If you're a band, you'll need to be quick to setup too!
7. It will 2 songs/pieces per act or a 10-minute max. 
8. There are only 15 slots maximum to allow each act to perform for 10-minutes. 


** Age limit - 21 years and above. If 18 years and above, must be accompanied by an adult
** Dress code - no slippers, shorts 

The Az Samad Open Mic is brought to you in collaboration with WAMM!



Join my newsletter for a FREE 7-song acoustic guitar MP3 compilation
& to be updated of upcoming open mics & shows, new blog posts & videos.


100% privacy and I promise never to spam you.



Open Mic @ The Venue #8 Hosted by Az Samad
Monday, May 20, 2013
Sign-ups: 7.30PM
Open Mic starts: 8.00PM 

The Venue,
Lot C4.06.02,
Connection Level 4, 
Pavilion KL, 
168, Jalan Bukit Bintang, 
55100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Featured Acts Include:


Khairil M Bahar: Guitar/Vocals 
Bahir Yeusuff: Bass
Ariff Aris: Drums

Originally formed in 2001, Khaimano was once a ska-punk band that made the rounds of the underground scene till 2003 when they disbanded. Reformed for a larf with original members Khairil M Bahar & Ariff Aris together with Bahir Yeusuff on bass, they now play for the sheer hell of it whenever they can.

Youtube videos:

Can't Get It Up:


Bihzhu by Prakash Daniel Photography 

Bihzhu will be accompanied by her band:

Faz Aznam: Guitar
Koh Keng Hui: Bass
Omar Ibrahim: Drums 

Winner of "Song of the Year" at the 2013 VIMA Music Awards for her folk-pop gem The Heart Way, Penang-born songtress Bihzhu is blessed with a rich, soulful voice and a whole lot of heart. Following her well-deserved win is another award nomination on the international stage for her song "Palpitations" in the Cabaret category at the 12th Independent Music Awards (IMA), the sole Asian in her category.

A commanding entertainer, Bihzhu recently opened for international star Yuna and has enchanted crowds at the Fringe Stage of the Penang Island Jazz Festival, Kuala Lumpur's No Black Tie and Melbourne's Miss Libertine, whilst her songs have received airplay on Malaysia's BFM Radio, 9.88FM, Hitz FM, Capital FM, LA-based Women of Substance radio and Minneapolis' Big Brain Radio Show.

Combining elements of jazz, soul, reggae, and pop with her debut album “Nightingale Tales”, her genuine songcraft celebrates love, beauty, and life’s most treasured moments. 

No more Malaysia’s best-kept secret, Bihzhu is ready to take flight.

And she wants to take you on for the ride.

Visit Bihzhu online here:

YouTube Videos:

The Heart Way - Live @ The Click Shop

Palpitations - Live @ No Black Tie, Kuala Lumpur

Open Mic @ The Venue #7 Hosted by Az Samad
Monday, April 29, 2013
Sign-ups: 7.30PM
Open Mic starts: 8.00PM 

EVENT PAGE: Open Mic @ The Venue #7

[FB Photo Album] Open Mic @ The Venue #7 photos by Tang Chun Cheuh

Featured Acts:

[Sharon Chong]

In her own words:

"My first instrument is the organ. I went to Technics Concept Music School in Kota Kinabalu (rival of Yamaha's Electone) since I was 8 years old. Had to beg and beg my parents for music lessons since I was 4 (saw the pipe organ at my kindergarten) but only got approval to study music 4 years later, when I turned 8. 

Always active in dancing during kindergarten & primary school years. I WAS NEVER ATHLETIC. But I did Taekwondo & Karate & Girls' Brigade. I produced a lot of drama (slapstick comedy styles/parodies) in high school & acted a lot. Dancing a lot also.

Played in pub bands and am also a seasoned lounge solo pianist. My most high profile ones were probably Krackhouse (the 1st band I joined in KL, lead singer Mark David), Five & Dime (led by Uncle Rik Omar & fronted by Vijay David and occasionally Joy Victor) and my band in Bangkok, Big Brother Band. I worked, lived, performed in Bangkok for 6 years. Relocated back to KL in late 2008. And then went to Macau twice to perform at the casino hotels with 2 different bands.

I used to session keyboards for Aizat Amdan for a year plus (played for his AIM award winning album, ehcheche). I do voice & piano session work for Pete Teo with Melina occasionally for his Korean music works & random ads/film scores. I play piano for Reza Salleh & Melina William & occasionally Nicole Foo Bihzhu. I had a 90s music tribute band "90s Movement" (members were me, Melina, Cookie, Jack Lian & Zalila Lee). I was a Karen O impersonator for a few years, with the band HamsterDamnAged and we have a youtube link under 'mforthought'. That was when I was discovered as a singer.

I play organ, piano, bass, percussions, melodion & sing. I sang back up for Najwa, Poova & Nicole Foo Bihzhu."

Visit Sharon at her blog here:

And here's a video of her cover of Sunday Morning by No Doubt:

[Man Under Zero Effort]

In their own words:

We are an experimental rock band initially from Bukit Bintang, been together since 2002 and have played many shows in Singapore and Bangkok apart from Malaysia since then. We've done several demos and split releases and we are currently in the midst of producing our 1st album which expected to be released some time soon this year.

Visit Man Under Zero Effort's Facebook page here:

Here are 2 video of their performance at The Wknd Sessions:



Open Mic @ The Venue #6 Hosted by Az Samad
Monday, March 25, 2013
Sign-ups: 7.30PM
Open Mic starts: 8.00PM 

EVENT PAGE: Open Mic @ The Venue #6

[FB Photo Album] Open Mic @ The Venue #6 photos by Tang Chun Cheuh
[FB Photo Album] Open Mic @ The Venue #6 photos by Albert Ng

**Featured Open Mic Acts**

Kien Lim

“His life lessons, experiences are shared via his lyrics and music that emits from his guitar. While his voice adds an opaque, soulful feel to the songs he composes and sings. And the combination results in smooth, easy-on-the-ears tracks that act like a balm.” – Su Aziz

“Lim played folk, blues and rock numbers with punk attitude” – Patrick Low

Kien Lim does Folk Rock and gritty guitars - a cross of Led Zeppelin and Gillian Welch.

After having been a guitarist in numerous bands, Kien decided to turn his hand to composing (inspired by the music of Gillian Welch whom he discovered while watching a BBC documentary on Country Music that featured her). Unable to find a suitable singer/lyricist for his music, Kien decided the solution was to start singing.

He spent a year composing, took some vocal lessons, and in the following year of 2004, made his debut at the Rogue Festival in Fresno, California, USA. The reception was tremendous.

He returned to Fresno to play the same festival a year later and was voted as one of the “Top 5 Rogue Acts”.

Kien has also co – produced and played guitar on a CD album by “Sinnerstar” ( which was released to rave reviews. In this band, he has played with legendaries Paul Slack (UK Subs) and Chris Musto (The Phillistines, Glen Matlock of the Sex Pistols, Johnny Thunders etc).

“Besureis” ( is band from London that Kien has also worked with, having produced and co-written on several of their songs.

Kien has performed in Japan, The USA, The United Kingdom, The Netherlands, China, France and Malaysia.

Kien is now based in Petaling Jaya and after a 2 year hiatus, is back performing, donning the electric guitar once again.

Isabell Jia Jia

Driven by her passion to sing, Jia Jia came to Kuala Lumpur to pursue her dream in music. (That was also when she first met Az Samad while studying in music college~!)

Later, she realized music was not only about singing, playing piano or teaching. She was introduced to the musical world behind the scenes, which involved all the efforts from song composing, music arrangement, producing and mixing.

On a fateful night on March 2002, while she was performing in a cafe, Jia Jia was spotted and was invited to record a few duet songs for a project. Since then she began her career as a composer, music arranger and backing vocalist. Today, she is a producer as well.

Jia Jia has been writing for Chinese pop scene, music arrangement for albums and corporate & also record backing vocals for albums. One of the most enjoyable moment is when she tours around the world with the band for concerts, as a backing vocalist. She has been working with various artistes including Datuk Sheila Majid, Anuar Zain, Noryn Aziz, Karon Kong, Henley Hii, A-Niu, Fish Leong, Anita Sarawak, Francis Yip, Maria Codero and others.

What drives her throughout her musical journey is to produce sincere music which touches people, giving them energy whenever they need. Nevertheless, she never forget her passion in singing, therefore she will be singing for you for the coming event. 


Open Mic @ The Venue #5 Hosted by Az Samad
Monday, Feb 25, 2013
Sign-ups: 7.30PM
Open Mic starts: 8.00PM 

EVENT PAGE: Open Mic @ The Venue #5

[FB Photo Album] Open Mic @ The Venue #5 photos by Tang Chun Cheuh
[FB Photo Album] Open Mic @ The Venue #5 photos by Yin

**Featured Open Mic Acts**

Shelley Leong & Seth Lael

Shelley Leong is back with her partner in crime, Seth Lael - performing their folk-americana tinged originals. Seth recently released his album entitled "After the Hard Times". Seth plays the guitar and also uses the banjo in interesting ways to fit into contemporary original songs. His song, "Sailing Fool" was recently featured on National Public Radio (NPR). Shelley has been honoured at the Billboard World Songwriting Contest. Together, they have written music for San Francisco film makers. She also plays for world music band, Bogofusion where she has performed in prestigious venues including San Francisco's City Hall, Museum of Modern Art and the California Academy of Sciences. Hailing from good old Kuala Lumpur, she looks forward to performing back home again with new found inspiration. 

Anna Chong

A singer-songwriter who loves travelling the world and exploring other people’s stories. 

Once lost, she has now found herself.

At the beginning of her composition career, Anna wrote songs for Chinese artistes. But she doesn’t think that this is the only way of making music. She likes to compose for people, but she what she loves even more is to sing her own story.

After 7 years, Anna has realized that nothing is impossible. In 2012, she made up her mind to produce an album purely for the sake of good music. Now, her album is on the way to meet the public.

In her music and voice, you’ll discover who is Anna Chong and don’t be surprised if she ends up as your very close friend.


Open Mic @ The Venue #4 was held on Monday, Jan 21, 2013. We had 2 featured acts, Narmi and Tempered Mental. 

Sign-ups: 7.30PM
Open Mic starts: 8.00PM

EVENT PAGE: Open Mic @ The Venue #4

"I cannot be more thankful and appreciative for people like Az Samad and Yin who keep the music playing. It is really heartwarming to see people singlehandedly work unselfishly because of the passion and their love for what they do. They arrange, promote, host and then some...

To the Musicians who played tonight.. thank you for the music.. you were ALL awesome for sharing your talent. The only way to grow is to share. For those that didn't get to share next time take heed and COME EARLY :)

A special thanks to the sweet, smooth sounds of Narmi and the phenomenal blistering pace of Tempered Mental. They are truly amazing talented singers/songwriters/arrangers...

P/S : I hereby PROMISE I will make your next show Hameer!

Finally to those that took the time to come out and support the performers thanks for coming please do remember you also need to support the Organizers/Venues/Sponsors remember without them there would be NO platform for the music. 

Peace, Love & Respect always." - Jennifer Thompson, Malaysian Music Industry Activist & Event Producer

[FB Photo Album] Open Mic @ The Venue #4 photos by Tang Chun Cheuh
[FB Photo Album] Open Mic @ The Venue #4 photos by Anuar Avecina

New Straits Times (21 Jan 2013): SHOWBIZ: Three Acts For Open Mic
TimeOutKL (16 Jan 2013): Open Mic at The Venue #4
"Heres the chance for newcomers to perform whether you’re a solo act, duet, chamber group or a full-on band." - The Star Metro (Jan 19 2013)



Narmi’s fearless honesty in his music has inspired a genuine loyalty towards listeners. A great songwriter swan-dives right in, coming out the other side armed with songs that sticks in the hearts and minds of many.

Cultivating a certain connection with his listeners seems effortless. Narmi’s take on songwriting is derivative on how he sees the world around, putting them into wordplays that paint pictures ever so colorful that you simply want to share them with everyone.

This is Narmi Adventures.

Tempered Mental:

Melina William (Bass and Vocals)
Jack Lian (Guitars)
Jimmy Tan (Drums)


Open Mic @ The Venue #3 was held on Dec 10, 2012. We had 2 featured acts, Rafique Rashid and Froya. In addition, we had a guest appearance by New York funky fingerstyle guitarist Adam Rafferty.

Sign-ups: 7.30PM
Guest appearance by Adam Rafferty: 8.00PM
Open Mic starts: 8:50PM 

EVENT PAGE: Official FB Event Page for Open Mic @ The Venue #3

"Tonight we had the chance to take it to The Venue. The response was just..insane. Cheers mid song and more cheers after." 
Read the full post by open mic performer Sulyn Ooi

[FB Photo Album] Open Mic @ The Venue #3 photos by Horngyih Wong 
[FB Photo Album] Open Mic @ The Venue #3 photos by Tang Chun Cheuh
[FB Photo Album] Open Mic @ The Venue #3 photos by Albert Ng
[FB Photo Album] Open Mic @ The Venue #3 photos by Yin



Rafique Rashid

A veteran of the Malaysian live music scene and one of the pioneers of the local independent singer/songwriter genre, Rafique Rashid started his musical journey in 1978 and moved from the PJ/KL pub and hotel scene to the private function/dinner circuit with stints in Europe, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore.

He developed a reputation for combining music with satire that typically included commentaries on local and international politics, current affairs and Malaysian social idiosyncracies; usually via lyrical spoofs of well-known tunes. He later expanded his repertoire with original songs, some comedic and some not. 

He has also written and produced music for many local and international theatre, dance and stage productions; formed and played in an aboriginal fusion band called Akar Umbi and co-founded the KL jazz club No Black Tie wherein he began exploring the field of live sound engineering. 

He is currently in semi-retirement and spends most of his time doing song arrangements for young local singer/songwriters and only very occasionally performs live either for charity or just for the fun of it......


The brainchild of Michelle Lee, has been making its way into the local indie music scene and slowly gaining recognition ever since late December 2011. Her unique style of music which encompasses and blends a variety of genres ranging from folk to electro can best be described as eclectic with a tinge of bittersweet quirky folk and a hint of indie pop.


Open Mic @ The Venue #2 was held on Oct 29, 2012. We had 2 featured acts, Liyana Fizi and Khairil M. Bahar. 

Sign-ups: 8.00PM
Open Mic starts: 8:30PM 

EVENT PAGE: Official FB Event Page for Open Mic @ The Venue #2

‎"The Open Mic was one of the best open mics I’ve ever been to. The quality of the open-mic’ers were ridiculously high!"
Read the full post by open mic performer Michael Chen

[Open Mic @ The Venue #2] 29 Oct 2012 - Complete Photos by Yin 
Open Mic @ The Venue #2 Hosted by Az Samad (Pix by Albert Ng)

"This Az Samad-endorsed open mic series hits its second edition. The last time out, it was a truckload of new faces raring to get on stage." - THE STAR METRO (27 Oct 2012) 



Liyana Fizi

Liyana Fizi plays acoustic tunes tinged with a mix of folk and bossa. Gaining acknowledgment for her melodic songwriting, the singer made her first debut as one of the founding members of Malaysian indie-pop band Estrella. Everyday musings and inward thoughts are the main elements of her music, using simplicity as the main staple. Currently singing and playing rhythm guitar as a solo artiste since September 2009, Liyana performs with her permanent band of sessionists, and takes a vast interest in using music as an outlet for expression.

Khairil M. Bahar

Writer, Director, Producer, Editor, Actor, Musician

Born in the Philippines and brought up in England between the ages of 1-6 and 12-21, Khairil has been in love with the movies since he first saw ‘Back to the Future’ and discovered filmmaking during the mid-90’s via Martin Scorcese, John Woo and the numerous indie filmmakers that appeared at the time such as Kevin Smith, Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino.

With no film course available in his school, Khairil instead took up drama during his high school years and began handing in screenplays instead of essays in his English Language classes. Later, in university, Khairil joined the CUSU drama society where he wrote two plays. The first was a re-write of Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” and the second a re-vamp of “Alice In Wonderland”, taking the much loved story and placing it within the setting of a university halls of residence. During this time he also acted whenever he could and even did minor stunt work on a low-budget Xena-style action film (that will, he hopes, will never see the light of day).

‘Ciplak’ was Khairil’s first attempt at a feature length film and was shot on a shoestring budget of only RM10,000 (RM8,500 of which was spent on the camera) during the weekends whilst he was still working in an advertising company as a copywriter. The film was released by Aflam Sdn Bhd and distributed by Golden Screen Cinemas in the GSC International Screens in Kuala Lumpur and Penang. The film was very well received with a majority of positive reviews across the board. ‘Ciplak’ also won the Anugerah Skrin 2006 for ‘Best Alternative Film’.

Prior to ‘Ciplak’, Khairil had written, directed & edited two short films: the first, ‘Nicotine’, was invited to the Singapore International Film Festival in 2005 and centered on the addictive effects of cigarettes (an addiction he is all too aware of); the second, ‘Some Like It White’, was broadcast on the TV show ‘Shortcuts’ on Astro Prima. Both short films premiered at the KSFM shorts. Recently he directed a short film for the Youth ’08 convention starring Douglas Lim and an improvised comedy entitled ‘Breaking Up Is Hard To Do’.

He has also directed and edited music videos for underground bands such as One Buck Short, Liang, Y2k, Dragon Red, Soft Touch and Azizi. His recent acting credits (apart from ‘Ciplak’) include the short film ‘Seeing Things’ and feature film ‘Wrath’, both directed by Tony Pietra as well as roles in Ghost on 8TV, Hartamas on NTV7 and telemovie Puaka Topeng Putih on Astro Ria.

On television, Khairil has directed 4 episodes of the TV series ‘Dark City’, which aired on Astro Ria in 2007. He also wrote 4 episodes (3 of which he directed) as well as acted in a number of them. He also directed the second season of ‘Ampang Medikal’ on NTV7 and wrote seven episodes of season two of ‘Ghost’ on 8TV, of which he directed episode four.

Khairil has his own production company, ‘Checkered Past’, plays in blues/rock n’ roll band ‘Rollin Sixers’ and also writes his own solo music for no particular reason. In earlier 2011 was asked to compose and perform two songs for ‘Life Sdn Bhd 6: Abuse’ and is currently composing two songs for the upcoming musical ‘Malaysian Girls’.

In the past two years he has also tread the boards of The Actors Studio where he was one of the writers and performers of the devised piece ‘Lost and Found’ directed by Gavin Yap and Joe Hasham and directed one of the four plays for EMP’s upcoming production ‘Bars and Bedrooms’. He also wrote two songs for ‘Life Sdn Bhd 6: Abuse’ and ‘Malaysian Girls’.

His latest feature film ‘Relationship Status’ was released on January 5th in selected TGV cinemas starring Gavin Yap, Davina Goh, Susan Lankester, Daphne Iking, Tony Eusoff, Amanda Ang, Adeline Ong, Benji Lim, Alfred Loh, Shuba Jay, Ruzana Ibrahim, Baki Zainal, Will Quah and Pete Teo. The film was very well received with a number of glowing reviews.


Open Mic @ The Venue #1 was held on Sept 3, 2012. We had 2 featured acts, The Impatient Sisters and Paolo Delfino. 

Sign-ups: 9:00PM
Open Mic starts: 9:30PM 

EVENT PAGE: Official FB Event Page for Open Mic @ The Venue #1


[Open Mic @ The Venue #1] 3 Sept, 2012 - Complete Photos by Yin 
Open Mic @ The Venue #1 Hosted by Az Samad (Highlight Photos)




I've always had a thing for open mics.

Just the whole atmosphere of undiscovered musicians, travelling acts, new songs, old songs, familiar faces and the random possibility of magical creative moments on stage. There's something special about it. I grew up a lot by performing on open mics from my very first one organized by Peter Hassan Brown and Markiza to later ones by Pete Teo, Jasmine Low and Reza Salleh. Folks always seem to make friends at these sessions. In fact, many of my favorite musicians are people I first saw at an open mic years ago. 

So, when I was aproached to host an open mic session myself, I was elated. It's always been something I thought of doing but never really got to (sort of like a lot of things on my list, but that's another blog post altogether). 

Anyhow, yes! Guess what? 

If you like open mics, you're in luck as there's a new one in Kuala Lumpur.

I'm hosting a new open mic at The Venue, Pavilion KL beginning September 2012.

We have the first one on Monday, Sept 3, 2012! 

It will be open to all sorts of acts so if you do stand-up comedy, you're more than welcomed. If you juggle, sure! If you're a solo instrumentalist, please come on by & if you're a singer-songwriter or band, you can come too. 


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