If you were an 80’s kid, you would have been lucky to witness and experience one of the most exciting periods in Singapore’s local music scene. One of the biggest contributors to arguably the golden age of Singapore music is the veteran pop-rock band Gingerbread. Famed for Malay and English radio hits such as "Mat Jiwa Jiwa", "Ku Cari Damai Di Hati", "Rindu Oh Rindu" and "Roses", they have recorded 5 chart-topping albums, which has helped extend the popularity beyond our shores to countries such as Malaysia 😱
But that wasn’t just the biggest thing to happen to lead singer-keyboardist Ms Ann Hussein and band leader-drummer, Mr Shahul Hameed. We spoke to the happily married couple to share with us the beginnings of their love story, and how they maintain a lasting bond over 35 years 😍
First impressions count but last impressions are forever
A radio interview in Kuala Lumpur in 1987. From left to right: guitarist the late Idris, keyboardist Dudley Nonis, Mr Shahul, bassist Raffy Aspier, and Ms Ann Hussein. The band line-up changes over the years. Credit: Courtesy of Ms Ann Hussein
It all started in 1982, 2 years after Ms Ann won Singapore Broadcasting Corporation (SBC, now known as Mediacorp)’s English Talentime Competition. She received a call from a music agent to be a substitute singer for Gingerbread, who was at the time in its early years of formation, at the American Club Singapore. The band had just lost their singer and needed a temporary replacement urgently. She decided to take the opportunity and went to meet the band leader Mr Shahul to discuss songs and finalise details, but it was definitely not love at first sight for Ms Ann.
“He looked and spoke with a hint of arrogance, which put me off slightly. But I wanted to perform, so it was just me singing with the band for 2 weeks while they find a permanent singer, so I didn’t put too much thought into it,” Ms Ann recounted.
During a practice session with the band, however, Mr Shahul discovered she could play the piano, and Ms Ann was instantly invited to join the band. Less than 3 weeks later, Mr Shahul asked her out and it feels like a page taken out of a Singaporean romance novel 😉
“He pretended to organise a mee goreng party that he wanted to cook for me and the guitarist (the late Bani Farouk), but little did I know that he told the guitarist not to turn up so it’s just me and him!,” Ms Ann shared.
“But unfortunately, he couldn’t cook and the whole pot had to be thrown away!”, she continued with a chuckle. Fast forward to 1987, after 5 years of being a prominent name in the music scene while having even more adorable dates, they got married and are still happily married to this day with two sons.
Mr Shahul Hameed on drums and Ms Ann Hussein on vocals and keyboard reuniting with other Gingerbread members in a local television show. Credit: Courtesy of Ms Ann Hussein
While Gingerbread may no longer be as active as before, the couple continued working together for 20 years (and counting! 😱) at their home-based music studio, Gingerbread Studios. It is where they record music by local pop acts, as well as jingles and voice-overs for corporate clients such as MediaCorp and Universal Studios Singapore. Many may avoid the idea of spouses working together, but these 8 tips they’ve shared are proof that nothing is bigger than the commitment they have to each other.
The album was the first one with the Gold hit, "Ku Cari Damai di Hati", released in 1983. Credit: Courtesy of Ms Ann Hussein
Tip #1: Love has never lost a battle
There’s really no big special secret or a surefire formula to a successful marriage, but we believe first and foremost there must be true love between a husband and a wife because ultimately LOVE is the one ingredient that will weather through any and many storms that happens in every marriage.
Tip #2: Patience is key
When you make a promise to each other, there’s a lot of time you have to give and take, and also sacrifice too. This comes with a ton of patience, respect for each other’s lifestyle, feelings and emotions; and at the same allowing some space and freedom for each other to be our own individuals too.
Tip #3: Keep the flame burning
When you’ve been married for such a long time, simply having love isn’t enough, so find ways to be spontaneous to keep the excitement or fire alive. A small gift, nice gesture or even compliments to each other always help make each others’ day a little brighter and maintain the love. For us, despite managing a couple of side businesses in the music industry (Ms Ann being a vocal director and singing coach as well), we still compliment and constantly work together as a team.
Credit: Courtesy of Ms Ann Hussein
Tip #4: Deal with disagreements calmly
When there are disagreements, always try to speak gently or calmly, listen to both sides and together come up with a solution that is agreeable to both sides. If you simply cannot find a solution, seek help! Never allow resentment or unhappiness to fester ever!
Tip #5: Never go to bed angry
Never go to bed angry at each other or with a problem that’s not solved! You won’t sleep well and it’s just going to be awkward the next day.
Tip #6: Remember important dates
Remember anniversaries, birthdays and any other occasion that have meaning to each other, and make the effort to do something to celebrate! You’re going to be spending the rest of your lives with each other anyway, so keep creating all these memories together.
P.S. Now it's your turn to create some lasting memories with your spouse! Need a little help? We got you covered with these articles:
- 9 Places In Singapore To Go To Reignite Your Romance With Your Spouse
- 8 Things To Do With Your Partner For A Parisian-Inspired Date In SG
- 8 Affordable Halal Romantic Restaurants In Singapore (Less Than $50 For 2 Pax!)