Most people may not be familiar with the name Shazrina Azman. Shazrina is the daughter of Tan Sri Dato’ Azman Hashim, ranked the 11th richest person in Malaysia with an estimated net worth of US$600 million according to Forbes.
But mention ‘Mizz Nina’ and recognition is instantaneous. Mizz Nina is the only female member of Teh Tarik Crew, one of the pioneer groups of hip-hop music in Malaysia. Her sultry and gorgeous looks constantly turn heads and command attention wherever she goes.
Starting at the tender age of only eight, and with the support of her family which appreciate artistic expression, Mizz Nina ventured into the world of hip hop music and has never looked back.
Gaining tutelage under vocal teacher Mark M. Echivarre from The Singing Shop in PJ, she quickly learned the ropes and moved onto underground hip hop gigs and college shows in 1996. In 1997 she formed First Born Troopz with Fiquetional, with whom she would later co-found the Malaysian hip hop group, the Teh Tarik Crew (TTC) in 1999. It was with TTC that her musical career truly took off, with two AIM nominations in 2002 for the group’s full-length album “How’s The Level?” and her own WOW FM radio show “WowVibe.”
Critical and popular acclaim poured in, with TTC being ranked as one of KLue Magazine’s best local groups. An advertising campaign for Ribena exposed Mizz Nina’s image and music to the public on an unprecedented level. By 2004, Mizz Nina had under her belt a modeling career, more radio shows (Spin and Urbanitez, on RedFM), and two more AIM nominations for Teh Tarik Crew’s “What’s Next?” album.
She went on a national Hotlink tour, and performed at such notable events as Rock The World and the Asian X-Games. Mizz Nina also expanded her repertoire to hosting, racking up engagements for Salem, Nike, KLue and Johnson & Johnson, culminating in a solo ad campaign for Johnson & Johnson and TV hosting gigs on 8TV’s Flava and Channel V.
Since then, Mizz Nina has become a force to be reckoned with in the local entertainment industry. Now also an alumni DJ at FlyFM, she has attained the post of Managing Director of The Singing Shop PJ, where her musical education began, as well as running her own recording studio. She’s also collaborated with many of Malaysia’s musical leading voices, such as Reshmonu and Vandal, lending her unique take on hip hop artistry.
On July 17 2010, Mizz Nina launched her debut solo album “What You Waiting For?” hot off the release of the single of the same title, featuring collaboration with American pop/R&B singer-song writer and producer Colby O’Donis. Recorded in both Malaysia and Los Angeles, the album has been one year in the making. Working with producers, arrangers and composer from California, the Netherlands, Singapore and Malaysia, Mizz Nina co-wrote most of the songs and self penned the track “Never Leave You Behind” on the album. Besides working with Colby O’Donis, vocal collaborators on the album include MC Dandee from Bangkok’s Thaitanium Entertainment, Noh from Hujan, Mawar Berduri from Ahli Fiqir, Teeflii and Grammy nominee Planet Asia. The album features 14 tracks, 5 of which are in the Malay language.
Colby, the Akon protégé rode the charts with his hit “What You Got’ featuring Akon and is a sought after collaborator featuring on Akon’s “Beautiful” and Lady Gaga’s “Just dance” which was a nominee for best dance recording at the 50th Grammy Awards.
Mizz Nina’s video for ‘What You Waiting For?’ which was directed by Scott McCullough and shot in Los Angeles, has already garnered almost 500,000 views on YouTube.
These days, you can’t seem to go a day without hearing ‘What You Waiting For?’ on the radio; the song’s infectious melody and beats–and guest appearance by Colby O’Donis–make it impossible to resist singing along. A slickly produced pop album mixed with a dope twist of hip hop, Mizz Nina’s long-awaited solo debut like a coming-out party that shows her true vocal flexibility in both English and Malay. There’s a great assimilation of genres too with hard-hitting rap on ‘Sri Kandi’ (with Ahli Fiqir’s Mawar Berduri), floetic rhymin’ on ‘Never Leave You Behind’, chilled out love on ‘Kurnia’ (with other half Noh from Hujan), cheeky boy-girl interaction on ‘Sometime’ (with Dandee from Bangkok’s Thaitainium) and bright-eyed soul on ‘Ping Pong’ (with Mode of Ruffedge).
She might not quite have the pipes of Mary J Blige, but her sexy Kelis-like, raspy voice is pleasant enough and easy on the ears. Something of a little Lauryn Hill, Mizz Nina has certainly proven herself with an album of brilliant recordings. It is a polished debut that will put her on the pedestal as Malaysia’s latest pop princess.
That’s Mizz Nina to you – make way. What you waiting for?