Stood in his long black coat and leather boots while singing his heart out, Jeffri Ramli brings his style and class to the streets of Newcastle.
With a smile on his face and a microphone in his hand, he simply loves what he does – bringing joy to the lives of others through music.
“I work for fun,” he says, “I love to entertain people. For me, people appreciate the songs I sing, and what I try to do is make people happy.”
A singer from a young age, Jeffri gave his first public performance when he was just seven years old on a street in the Central Market in Kuala Lumpur where he sang ‘La Bamba’.
But it was his father that allowed him to realise his musical potential.
“My father bought me all these Disney songs, and from that I gained a lot of interest in singing,” he recalls. “That’s when I started my music career.”
Now, over 20 years later, Jeffri can’t believe what he has achieved. Not only has he been on national television, he has also performed for Malaysian Royalty and even won the Korean version of Pop Idol.
“I appeared on the UK television programme called The Voice last year. I was invited by the high commissioner of Malaysia to perform as well. I was also in a Korean competition it’s called KPS, K-pop Singing Competition, you have to sing in Korean. I won the competition; I got the first prize for best singer.”
Indeed, Jeffri can speak and sing fluently in six different languages. “Sometimes I take requests. I sing in different languages and some people know that. They will approach me and say “will you sing this Arabic song or this Hindi song.”
Not only that, he is also a fully qualified design engineer. But it is music and singing that is his real love.
“If I don’t sing for one week I think there is something wrong with me. Sometimes life can be quite hard but I think when you can sing for people you take a bit of the negative part of their life. That’s why I love singing.”
The multilingual musician sings in a variety of styles including Pop, Soul, R’n’B, and Jazz and has been busking in the Toon since 2014.
Though nervous at first, he slowly built up his confidence and has received lots of great feedback from the public.
“There have been times when people have brought me food or something to drink. People just appreciate what you do. One time someone even painted me. I am astonished how people react to my performances on the street.”
And it is Newcastle where he prefers to busk the most.
“In Newcastle, they encourage street performances to make the city more lively. We (buskers) just use the opportunity to entertain people and we can also earn some money from it.”
Content produced for the Press Association via Tunes of the Toon
Written by Chris Middleton and Juan Trillos. Interviews by Zeynet Musabaeva. Video produced by Jie Yin, Yan Li and Juan Trillos