Ning Baizura (born Ning Baizura binti Sheikh Hamzah on 28 June 1975 in Kajang, Malaysia), also known as Ning, is a Malaysian pop and R&B singer who records and sings in several different languages, including Bahasa Malaysia and English. She was born in Kajang, Malaysia from Arab Malay and Javanese parents.
Ning started singing professionally at the age of six by recording radio and television jingles and began formal studies in voice at the age of nine under the renowned Indonesian opera linguist and soprano Siti Chairani for five years. In that time, she also sang with the National Choir at the Akademi Seni Kebangsaan, and was offered a full scholarship in music at the prestigious Vienna Conservatoire, which she turned down). At the age of 16, Ning had won the 'Best Artiste Development' award at the prestigious Voice of Asia Competition.
Ning crossed over into the commercial scene in 1992 and became a recording artiste under various international labels (Sony, BMG, AMS Records Japan, and currently Warner Music Group), where she recorded within the genres of pop and R&B. Her discography includes nine full studio albums (two of which are full English albums), as well as numerous compilations. Ning has also won various industry awards and prizes, and has performed in the UK, Italy, France, China, Indonesia, Korea, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Pakistan and Monte Carlo, Monaco.
Ning is best known for her live stage performances, an extensive repertoire and her versatility especially in cross-over projects. She is also an actor and has taken roles in a musical, seven major films, a short film and several tele-movies. Most significant is her critically acclaimed performance in the short film 'Malaikat Di Jendela' (Angel by My Window), directed by Osman Ali. The short film had participated in several film festivals in Cannes, Rotterdam and Singapore. Beside singing and acting, Ning is also a violinist and played 1st violin in the National Youth Orchestra in her teens.
In 2006, Ning set up her own recording company, 'Artiste United Records (AUR)'. Her stable of artistes are her proteges, Nicolette Palikat or 'Nikki' from Malaysian Idol Season 1) and Siti Surianie Julkarim (Yanie) (from Mentor Season 1). Ning is currently in the midst of recording both her latest English and Malay studio albums.
She has been the brand ambassador for TIME.com, IMEDEEN, F1 Malaysia, The Singapore Tourism Board, Curlers & Trimmers, Yuzari Batik, and has had strong brand associations with Christian DIOR couture, Christian DIOR parfums, the Carat Club and REDKEN in the past. NING is currently the brand ambassador for SSANGYONG and was recently appointed the Judo Ambassador by the Judo Association of Selangor to create awareness of self-defence for women.
Ning was engaged to Omar Shariff Christopher Layton Dalton on 19 July 2007. Omar Shariff (His name after converting to Islam on 7th July 2007) from Nottingham, United Kingdom is a regional Consulting Director for Landmark Graphics for Asia Pacific Region. The couple has said they plan to marry by January 2008.
In 1996, Ning's first professional manager created a stir when it was alleged that he had cheated her out of significant revenue.
In 1998, Ning performed in Singapore wearing a "tank top". Criticism in the Malaysian media was swift as her choice of clothing was deemed "inappropriate" for a Muslim woman.
In the July 2000 issue of the Malaysian version of FHM (For Him Magazine), Ning gave a tell-all interview where she mentioned, among other things, that she prefers G-string underwear, she likes sex in the morning, and that her personal fantasy was to sleep with five guys at the same time. Initially, this English-language interview was little noticed by the general Malaysian society. But within a few weeks, a translation of the interview appeared in a popular and widely-read Malay-language daily newspaper. Public outrage in predominantly Muslim Malaysia was immediate and widespread and Ning was subsequently ordered to appear at the Malaysia Ministry of Information. FHM magazine was subject to increased scrutiny by Malaysian authorities.
Useful website links:
***note: previous version contained links to her manager's blog, seeing it was inappropriate to be placed here, therefore was removed from this version***