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THE HOT & SPICY BAND : Jessie, Mimi, Marbun and Ivy

At a glance, they do not resemble a band whose singers and keyboardist are anyone but Sabahans. That’s what most guests think too when they first see them on stage at the Yaaha Cowboy Bar.

Probably the notion is automatic given the years the local entertainment scene has been dominated by Filipino bands.

How time has changed. The Sabah entertainment scene has undergone a tremendous facelift.

Hot & Spicy band comprises three talented female singers, going by their stage names as Mimi (the band leader), Ivy, and Jessie as well as Abdul Marbun and his deft fingers on the keyboard.

Other than Marbun, who has some 15 years experience on the melody-churning machine, the lasses have a mere combined experience of five years on the rostrum.

"It’s hard work but I love my job…singing and entertaining the crowd is fun," says Mimi, the most experienced of the lot on stage.

A vibrant character, Mimi says she understands when guests who don’t know their background think "we are not locals".

"I guess we need to sing more local dialect songs to change that perception," she quips.

Joke aside, Mimi says discipline must comes first to be in the entertaining business, with practising and more practising to get the tune and act right.

"Of course, there is such a thing called keeping fit," says the energetic singer.

Being an entertainer is not just the ‘voice alone’ that carries weight, she says, as there is choreography, costumes and of course the music.

"I’m confident local bands can go far…we don’t want to be just seasonal entertainers. This is a career," she adds.

"Given a chance to go overseas, we will be there," Ivy chips in, a singer that has just about two years in the field.

"I got the encouragement an support from my family to go into the line although it was tough in the beginning.

"I believe local bands like us are here to stay… we can deliver what the guests are expecting," she says confidently.

The latest member of the band, Jessie has just been on the job for five months.

"I love this stint … it is fun. We can show others what we (locals) can do," says Jessie.

Between them, they can croon songs popularised by Britney Spears, Tracy Chapman, Westlife to name a few and also ‘dangdut’ numbers, Hindustan, Chinese or Kadazandusun songs to boot.

"We all should give local singers a chance to prove themselves," adds Mimi.

The three twenty-somethings believe that they are on the right track. But first our perception on local entertainers should change.

Time has changed. And we should change too.


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