Sham Kamikaze is Malaysia’s top guitarist, with an extensive resume that encompasses his peerless work as a bandleader, composer, producer, arranger, session veteran, educator and more.
Born Shamril Salleh in 1976 into a musical family, he eagerly absorbed many different musical genres from a very early age. He began learning guitar at age 12 and was playing in bands by age 14. Continually honing his skills, he eventually moved up to backing major artists in and outside of Malaysia. Kamikaze also taught at the Guitar Institute in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur.
He formed eponymously named band Kamikaze in 1999. All three albums by the group, Kontroversi, Inspirasi and 3, were nominated for honors by Malaysia’s music industry awards organization, Anugerah Industri Muzik (equivalent to the U.S. Grammy organization). Inspirasi was named best rock album of 2001.
Kamikaze has shared stages with several notable Western musicians, including Andy Timmons, Neil Zaza and T.M. Stevens. He opened several shows on the 2000 G3 tour with Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and Eric Johnson. He has recorded and performed with fellow Asian artists including Jacky Cheung, George Lam, Jenny Tsang, Jam Hsiao, Wang Li Hom, JJ Lin and many others. Kamikaze has also performed with Malaysia’s RTM Orchestra and the U.S. National Symphony Orchestra, in addition to various Malaysian jazz festivals featuring top international musicians.
Further, Kamikaze has served as music director for popular Malaysian artists such as Dato Siti Nurhaliza, Syafinaz, Erra Fazira, Jaclyn Victor, Ferhad, Misha Omar, M Nasir, Jamal Abdillah and more. He was in-house music director for Malaysian television network Astro Ria from 2000 to 2007, with his work appearing on popular programs including Akademi Fantasia, Macam Macam Aznil, Dari Studio Satu and others. More recently, he served as managing director for Malaysian recording facility Studio 21 Sdn Bhd and recording label Gothic Records Sdn Bhd; producing, composing and arranging for regional and international productions.
Amid all of this, Kamikaze’s still found time to teach jazz performance at Malaysian public university Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) and lecture at arts institution Akademi Seni Kebangsaan from 2003 to 2005. His devotion to teaching and sharing his knowledge continues today with music workshops throughout Malaysia.
Squier introduced its Sham Kamikaze Signature Stratocaster as a Malaysian regional signature model in 2009.