Flora Santos

Flora Santos - Music Journey

Flora grew up with a guitar in her home.  Her father used to play the guitar after dinner and the whole family would gather around and sing together.

At the age of 9, Sister Michael, her School Teacher asked if she would like to join a junior choir at the Stella Maris Catholic Church in Tanjong Aru, Sabah, Malaysia.  In 1973 Joseph, Flora’s father, retired and her family moved to a town called Tuaran.  Tuaran is 20 kms from Kota Kinabalu, the capital city of Sabah.  Soon after moving to Tuaran, Flora joined the St John Catholic Church choir.

At the age of 12, Flora attended the St John Secondary School in Tuaran.  Her new school held a singing competition in which Flora took part.  The competition was divided into three categories; English, Malay and Groups.  Flora won first prize in all sections and was given the Best Singer of the year award, which surprised Flora.

At this time, Flora’s father, was finding it hard to support a family of nine with a monthly retirement pension of Malaysian $300.00 RM (ringgit). 

The year is now 1976.  Flora was singing in the St John Church Choir that mainly consisted of her cousins.  Sabah’s Star Radio and Television Competition (otherwise known as Bintang RTM) was about to be launched and someone suggested that a group be formed from the church choir to compete.  Thus, the D’Tuareans trio, made up of Flora and her cousins Sylvia Batin and Diana Wong, was formed.

The D’Tuareans entered the State level competition and won first prize for their performance.  Fuelled with their success the group went on to represent Sabah in the 1976 National Bintang RTM, which was held in Malacca.  The young group (aged 16 years and under) received the consolation prize. 

At the 1976 National Bintang RTM final, the soloist winner of the competition, the late Sudirman Haji Arshad encouraged Flora to pursue a solo career.  A singer and musician in his younger days, Flora’s father had always encouraged Flora in the singing path.  Flora had been giving all her singing earnings to her father, which had supplemented her father’s retirement income. 

Flora Santos


Flora SantosFlora Santos

Flora SantosFlora SantosAt the age of 15, Flora competed as a soloist and won third place in the 1977 Sabah State Bintang RTM competition. In 1979, Flora competed again as a soloist in the Sabah State Bintang RTM competition. Flora SantosFlora Santos She composed two songs for the competition and won the first prize.  She represented Sabah for the National Bintang RTM competition, which was held in Kuala Lumpur in January 1980.  Jamal Abdillah won first place, Lanny Lim Mui Lan won second place and Flora came third.

In 1981, Life Records approached Flora to record her first album.  Flora has the distinction of being the first singer ever from Sabah to record a solo album in Malaysia.  Her first album was entitled “Doa Anak” (A child’s prayer) which was composed by the late famous Sabah Singer and Composer, John Gaisah.

Flora went on to record seven albums with Life Records.  Six albums were sung in Malay and one album in English:


Doa Anak

A Child’s prayer


Rindu, Oh Rindu

Missing you


Melodi Kasih

Love Melody


Gadis di Jendela

A girl by the window


Kasih ku pendam di dalam diam

I keep my love a secret


Demi Kebahagiaan mu

For your happiness


Near the One


It was reported that the song “Kasih Ku Pendam Di Dalam Diam” from Flora’s fifth album is still being played today in Malaysia, and it was number 1 on radio in Singapore’s charts for six weeks in the 1980s. Also in the 1980's, Flora toured with the famous singers Anita Sarawak, from Singapore and Hetty Koes Endang, from Indonesia.

Flora recorded her English Album, “Near the One”, in early 1986 and later moved to Perth, Western Australia.

In 1987, Flora joined a Country and Western Band, called Cimarron.  The band entered the West Australian Country Music Competition held in Brigadoon, and performed in five categories.  The band won four out of the five categories namely Best Performing Group, Best Vocal Group, Best Instrumentalist and Best original Song.  To her surprise, her composition “Cimarron” won the Best Original Song. Flora also won runner up as Queen of Country.  The band Cimarron recorded an album later that year to commemorate their success.

Flora SantosIn August 1989, Flora teamed up with a well known Singer and Songwriter from Malaysia, Royston Sta Maria who had just migrated to Perth.  The Roy and Flora duo first contract was the newly opened Vigneron Restaurant at the prestigious Vines Resort.

Flora SantosIn 1990, The Vigneron Restaurant won the Western Australian Gold Plate Award for Fine Dining six months after opening their doors.  The entertainment provided by Roy and Flora was acknowledged as a contributing factor in the achievement of this award.  After their contract with the Vines Resort, Roy and Flora continued singing at various establishments in Perth, mainly in the International Room at the Burswood International Resort. 

In 2004, after singing with Roy for fifteen years, Flora decided to spend more time with her family and thus ended the Roy and Flora duo.

The idea to record the Gospel CD popped into her head in September 2005 when she was asked by her TAFE Lecturer to give a presentation of a project in class.  Flora sponsored a child through Compassion Australia www.compassion.com.au a few years ago when the Radio Station 98.5 Sonshine FM www.sonshinefm.ws in Perth had their Sponsor a Child Day.  Through Compassion Australia she was made aware of the suffering and poverty of children from natural disasters and disease around the world.  Although she can never compare her past family situation to the people affected by the natural disasters in the world, she can identify the magnitude of help needed.  She prays her 50% contribution from the sale of her Gospel album “Eternity” to Compassion Australia will help fight poverty around the world and give innocent, suffering children a chance of a better life where it’s most needed. 

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