PETALING JAYA – More than six years after taking a break from the music industry, Singaporean singer Hady Mirza is plotting his comeback on Malaysian reality singing series Gegar Vaganza.

The 39-year-old first came into the spotlight when he won Singapore Idol in 2006, and a year later, Asian Idol.

After releasing two albums, Hady went on a six-year hiatus beginning in 2012.

“I decided to stop and take a break because I didn’t know where my career was going. There were some other personal reasons too,” he said.

He spent some time in rehab last year.

“I thought that if I wasn’t comfortable doing it, I might as well not do it. Because when you do something, you have to put your heart and soul into it, ” he said.

Hady adds he did not take on any jobs as a singer during his break, focusing on growing his businesses instead.

“Some were good, some failed,” he shares of his ventures. “It’s a valuable learning experience for me. There were a lot of people who tried to get me to join their companies but unfortunately, after a few months, the companies went down.”

“So in the end, I started my own business – a small food and beverage business with my wife. We set up simple pop-up stores at various events, selling all sorts of things from snacks to curry dishes, ” he said.

This year, Hady started taking small steps back into the music scene.

“When I was around 20, even before Singapore Idol, I was part of a band and I remember I was so happy back then. We would sing all kinds of songs, in all kinds of genres.”

“So earlier this year, I got back on stage with them to feel happy like I used to last time. That’s all I was interested in.”

Stepping back on stage, the singer says his musical styling has not changed at all. He is still very much an R&B, soul artist.

When Hady got the call to audition for the sixth season of Gegar Vaganza – a singing competition featuring seasoned singers who have stepped away from the spotlight – the singer felt it was a golden opportunity. Gegar Vaganza Season Six premieres this Sunday (Oct 13).

Despite having a solid track record when it comes to singing competitions – coming out on top on both Singapore Idol and Asian Idol – Hady says he feels no pressure to keep the winning streak with Gegar Vaganza.

“You’re just supposed to enjoy yourself and soak up the energy from the audience,” he said. “I’ve never aimed to win. Even in Asian Idol, I just remember singing with friends from Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, India and so forth. We just had fun.”