This Puppet Has More Followers Than You: Interview
Don’t become a puppet to other people’s desires; live and create your life as you intend it to be — Steven Redhead
You might have seen him on national TV (Suria — Show Malam Ini);
You will continue seeing him on your TV screens in the near future;
And you can definitely continue seeing him on his socials;
Our celeb collaborator: It’s Samad the Puppet!
He can sing, rap, dance and play the keyboard;
He has an enviable following on social media;
And though he might have a hand up his you-know-what — he’s never uptight!
I caught up with Samad recently to bring you the scoop on what’s been pulling his strings:
Ayy yo Samad! Congratulations on gracing our national TV screens and rubbing shoulders with other Singaporean celebrities. The burning question on everyone’s minds: How did you come to be?
I was but a lonely soul sitting amongst other puppets on the cold, bleak shelf of a novelty store — y’know, life. That was until my manager, Aidil, spotted me on that fateful day in 2018 when he was memento-hunting. He just ended a puppeteering project and wanted something memorable to commemorate it.
Of course he picked me!
I was desolate; not a name to my, er, name; no home to go back to and certainly no followers on social media #firstworldproblems .
But my manager came in, bartered my body for some of his hard-earned cash with the novelty store owner and now we’re inseparable.
Funnily, I was only ever to occupy a nook on my manager’s study table (and his heart) but one day, while he was working on a skit, he ran into some difficulties: he needed another character!
Long story short, he saw the potential in me, y’know, good looks, thick hair, luscious mustache, and casted me in that skit. Seeing how great I was in that, he planned another video for Hari Raya that year and this time wanted me to be the star of that movie
(Manager interjects: Video only, not movie).
And then he thought that it’d be cheeky to name the… video (looks at manager)… Samad Hari Raya. Since I thought the name “Samad” was cool, fits my voice, style and personality, we decided to christen (eh, halal or not eh?) myself Samad!
Then of course came a raft of videos, ads and now also TV appearances. My manager has a lot of good ideas. He’s lucky I’m also very good lah; can do whatever he needs and wants. Puppet, what (grins).
Who or what inspires you?
Diego from Awkward Puppets. No question about it.
My manager and I spent countless nights binging on their YouTube channel and we can’t get enough of it y’know. The characters, the production quality… just WAHHH.
I hope to be able to reach that level and make my manager… and my country proud.
(Manager: Fuhhh, Samad…)
My manager was also inspired by some of our local puppeteering talents; people that he’s worked with on his projects. Some of these artists wield bigger puppets y’know, so it motivates my manager to handle me better as well.
Of all the celebrities you’ve worked with, who would you say is your favourite, and why?
(Manager: This is a touchy subject, you sure you wanna answer, Samad?)
(eyes manager wryly) Touchy? Okay la, they gerek one, they understand.
But seriously, all the celebrities I worked with before have been gerek. I think it’s because I gerek too y’know haha. But really, I think it’s been great to work with them because I’m friends with them first, so naturally the chemistry will be built up before we work on any of the projects.
(looks at manager) Like that answer can?
(Manager shows two thumbs up)
(whispers) But just between you and me, my favourite-st of the favourite is Suzairhe Sumari. He very the spontan (translation: spontaneous, fun) and was just very natural to work with. As you know, he’s a veteran in the Malay media industry but there was simply no airs from him. Power!
(Manager: Samad?! Why you whispering?)
No lah, I just told the interviewer to be more spontan only. Cannot ah? (winks at me)
So Samad, if anyone walks up to you asking for advice, what would be your best tip?
Tips, eh? I’d say just release.
Whatever you have in your mind when it comes to creating content, just go for it. But don’t force it. Once you’ve worked on your first video or whatever content, the subsequent ones will come naturally.
AND, once you get the hang of it, it is very important to self-QC: quality control. Make sure the quality is to the highest standard you set for yourself. And when you collaborate with other creators, make sure that the final product is a fair representation of not just you, but also the party you collaborated with.
If it’s not, don’t be pressured or rushed into posting just for the sake of posting. At the end of the day, quality trumps everything else!
Speaking of quality, you’d be releasing your first T-shirt in collaboration with WE THE PEEPUR. this coming week (late Aug-early Sept). How are you feeling about that, and what can your followers expect?
I’m very excited cuz’ I really love the design. At first my manager engaged them to design our logo and that was dope too. Then, now this collab. I can’t wait for my followers to see the design, I’m quite sure they’d love it too.
Oh, and make sure you’d buy as soon as it’s available okay? It’s of the highest quality available and there are only limited pieces... So faster get!
Any other future plans now that you’re a bonafide Singapore celeb?
(looks at manager) Bonafide apa binatang?
(Manager: not you)
Okay, not too sure about bonafide (haha!) but I do have other exciting plans in the pipeline too. My manager and I will be conducting a puppeteer workshop organised by Mendaki sometime at the end of 2020 and.. and… I will have my own segment on a new social media series, sponsored by Wisma Geylang Serai!
Other than that, I will also appear on a few more episodes on Show Malam Ini and my manager is working on tying up a few more collabs with other celebrities, time and COVID-19 permitting.
But y’know what I really wanna do? I wanna create and star in Singapore’s very own Sesame Street. But of course I need to find some friends to join me. Support ok? If got contact, send my manager.
And one more thing: y’know the Suria awards show Pesta Perdana or the more regional one like APM? Got red carpet all, right? I’d love to interview the celebs as they walk down those red carpets. Cool right?
There you have it — probably Singapore’s very first puppet celebrity, Samad! No airs, no bullshit, just quality. We, the peepur, wish you all the best in your future endeavours and when you’re a global superstar, don’t forget us, aight?
Follow us on our socials to find out exactly when they’ll be available!
Stay curious, peepur.