Born in Payakumbuh, West Sumateraon 19 September 1924, Saiful received his early education from the Meer Uitgebreid Lager Onderwijs (MULO) in Kayutaman, West Sumatera. While at MULO Saiful’s talent and interest music were particularly evident, where he formed his own band. Soon after he left for Jakarta to seek his fame and fortune, and landed the role of conductor orkes Studio Jakarta from 1950 to 1960.
In 1960, together with fellow artistes Titiek Puspa, Bing Slamet, Mochtar Embut dan Sam Saimun, Saiful toured Peninsular Malaysia, performing at various venues.Saiful’s trip to Malaysia left a lasting impression on him, inspiring him to compose the popular song Semalam Di Malaya, and later to make Malaysia his permanent home.
After takin up residence in Malaysia, Saiful was appointed Special Assistant to the information Minister at that time, Senu Abdul Rahman and then later promoted to Music director of Filem Negara Malaysia given his extensive musical expertise. Up until his retirement from Filem Nagara Malaysia in 1975, Saiful composed and arranged many patriotic pieces, such as Malaysia Berjaya, Malaysia Berjaya, Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka and Senjakala. Other famous tunes composed by Saiful are Dewi Manja, Surat Tak Bernama, Kenangan Masa dan Fajar Harapan. Before his death in Tokyo on 5 December 1976, Saiful was also involved in scoring of many films produced by N.V. Perfini, Golden Arrow, and Bintang Surabaya.