Top Indonesian Musicians

Top Indonesian Musicians

While international artists the likes of Drake, Ariana Grande and Ed Sheeran are topping the charts worldwide, there's a homegrown local talent in the archipelago of Indonesia that promises to conquer hearts and souls. From sweetly calm notes to electrifying tunes and loud music, Indonesia's music scene is the breeding ground for top-class artists that run the gamut of music genres. With a sprawling music industry and a growing number of local musicians, Indonesian music scene is booming and it shows no signs of stopping. Here are some of Indonesian musicians you should check out.

Monita Tahalea (in photo)

She made her debut in the second season of Indonesian Idol, where she won over the audience with her bewitching voice. The multifaceted artist wears many hats; as a singer, producer and songwriter, she sure keeps herself busy which proves her love for music. Ever since releasing her second EP in 2005, Monita Tahalea has been busy compiling albums.

Andre Harihandoyo and Sonic People

Founded in 2006 by vocalist Andre Harihandoyo, Andreas Arianto (keyboard, accordion, saxophone), Tommy Setiawan (bass) and Tobias Ringga (drums), Andre Harihandoyo and Sonic People are a bluesy pop rock band that have a found a place in the market ever since they released their first album Good for the Soul in 2009. Some of their most notable songs from that album include “The Breakup”. “The Flood Song”, “Good” and ‘Justify”.

In 2013, they continued to top the charts after releasing their album Stronger Than Fiction, which included singles “Love Again”, “Fallin” and “Like a Song.” Their last release was Timelapse and one of its songs, “Impostor

Adhitia Sofyan

This is an Indonesian singer-songwriter who started writing acoustic tunes back in 2007. After sending some of his songs to an independent radio station, “Adelaide Sky” and “Memilihmu” became widely popular. Ever since, he has released the album Quiet Down (2009), Forget Your Plans (2010), How to Stop Time (2012), and Silver Painted Radiance (2016).

Grace Sahertian

Famously known as a jazz singer from Bandung who continuously performs at the Java Jazz Festival, Grace Sahertian is a sourful artist that tries to connect with her listeners' emotions. For instance, one of her singles “Better to Love” was released with the intention of spreading happiness. Her talent has attracted other artists the likes of The Milo, DJ Andezz and Starlite, who have collaborated with her music. She released her own record, Hela, in 2016, in which she sings in three languages - English, Bahasa Indonesia and Yamdena/Maluku.

Stars and Magic

This band is the result of the union between singer-songwriter Elda Suryani, and guitarist and arranger Adi Widodo. While she is a wizard creating lyrics and tunes, he is her perfect match by matching her artistic creations.

Although Indonesia is the birthplace of music stars, many Indonesian musicians are not eager to go international. According to Yonder Music CEO Adam Kidron (in an interview with The Jakarta Post), Indonesian artists think that targeting a global market is less profitable than focusing on the domestic audience.

That is why many Indonesian writers and producers are reluctant to create music that appeals to a global audience. “Indonesian musicians feel the local market is sufficient to make a living and a well-known musician can make enough money just by doing a weekly gig,” he added.

If an Indonesian musician did want to target the global market, they have one thing or two to learn from South Korea. Accordingly, K-Pop success is due to its ability to combine Western music with Korean lyrics. What K-Pop proves is that lyrics in English are not necessary for a song to receive international acclaim. For instance, Psy's “Gangnam Style” became the most visited YouTube videos when it was released and the lyrics are in Korean.

What Kidron noted is that Indonesians musicians did the opposite. Instead of adapting their music to global tastes, they translated their lyrics into English, which explains why they were less successful in the international arena.

Kidron proposes that Indonesian producers make room for fusion music, and once they have an Indonesian fanbase, they can go ahead and start translating those lyrics into English to target a global audience. “It is actually easier with Indonesian rather than Korea,” he added. Some of the musicians and producers whose work in fusion music is outstanding are Afghan, Raisa and Tulus, he concluded.

We The Fest

We The Fest

Home to a We The Fest - a festival of music, arts, fashion and food - Indonesia's capital of Jakarta becomes a cultural mecca every summer. Whether you are into pop, rock, indie, hip hop or electronic music, this epic event packs a medley of top-class acts that run the gamut of music genres.

Despite offering a myriad of music genres rather than specialising in one, We The Fest is all about the big names, backed up by some of the greatest artists of the international music scene. As such, it has a year-on-year cracking lineup, the likes of The Kooks, Dua Lipa, Ellie Goulding, Big Sean, The 1975, G-Eazy, Mark Ronson, Phoenix, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, CL, The Temper Trap, Purity Ring, Flight Facilities, Jessie Ware, Potret, NAIF, Scaller, Barasuara, Sheila on 7, Raisa, The Trees and the Wild, Ramengvrl, Elephant Kind, and Stars & Rabbit amongst many others.

The first edition of the festival took place on August 24, 2014, and it has since been promoted by Ismaya Live. Although the three-day gathering used to be held at Parkir Timur Senayan ever since its opening, it was moved to Jakarta International Expo Kemayoran in 2017.

According to the festival's official website: “In 2017, We The Fest was held for 3 days for the first time ever and welcomed more than 50,000 festival-goers from around the globe over three days including the president of Indonesia, Joko Widodo.”

Described as "a classy festival" by Vice for its friendly vibe and how slickly it has been organized, the official website claims, “the festival is a pioneer of its kind in the Southeast Asian festival scene with elements such as arts, fashion and food presented through various whimsical activations and zones festival-goers can experience and explore.”

The third edition of the festival was a game changer for the event as it welcomed sixteen international acts and twenty-five local acts set to perform in three stages. While the WTF Stage was presented by Urban gigs, the Stage is B.A.N.A.N.A.S. was presented by H&M, and the Another Stage was presented by Joox in collaboration with Indonesian music label, Demajors.

Ismaya Live also introduced a competition called “Submit Your Band,” which allows the chosen bands to have a chance to perform at the We The Fest. This competition allows a solo artist to participate in the festival in the fourth edition, which is being held during three days at the Jakarta International Expo Kemayoran, North Jakarta.

There's an indie pop and soul music focus in 2018, with Lorde and James Bay performing at the main stage. The supporting acts include ODESZA, Alt-J, Nick Murphy, The Neighbourhood, Albert Hammond Jr., Barasuara, Efek Rumah Kaca, Gamaliet Audrey Cantika, Honne, Louis the Child, Majid Jordan, Maliq & D'Essentials, Medasin, Moon Boots, Padi Reborn, Petit Biscuit, SG Lewis, What So Not, White Shoes & The Couples Company, A. Nayaka & The Blue Room Boys, Abenk Alter, Aydra (featuring Prince Husein), Bam Mastro, Diskoria, Fun on a Weekend x Emotion All Stars, Kimokal, Mantra Vultura, Mooner, Neonomora, Patricia Schuldtz (featuring Bayu Risa and Yacko), Pijar, Polka Wars, Rayssa Dynta, Semenjana, Seringai, SoftAnimal, Teza Sumendra and w.W (featuring MC DRWE).

The organisers advise festival-goers to come early to the festival so you can experience everything it has to offer. “Apart from music, indulge yourself in a fantastic culinary experience at Eats & Beats featuring Ismaya Group's favorite resto concepts,” claims the official website. “Unleash your artsy side at our Art Village where you can create your own festival souvenir to take home. Your inner child will thank you when you and your friends have the time of your lives at our Games Area! By now we're absolutely sure you want to come early to the festival and experience We The Fest in its fullest.”

If you are wondering what you should wear for the festival, the organisers have some interesting advice for: “Confidence! Wear anything that you're most comfortable to wear because you're going to explore the festival all day and night. Since it's a summer festival, it's always a great idea to rock that summer look that you've always wanted to pull off.”

Before you go, remember that this is also a food festival, so bring your own food to the festival area is off limits. The organisers advise you, however, to “indulge yourself in a fantastic culinary experience at Eats and Beats, where all of Ismaya Group's amazing resto concepts are ready to serve you the most delicious food & drinks all day and night.”

Surabaya first creative city in Indonesia

Surabaya first creative city in Indonesia

With modern skyscrapers standing alongside canals and buildings from its Dutch colonial past, Surabaya is a city of contrasts where the future mingles with the past in absolute harmony. What once was a trading hub for the illustrious inland empires of Java is now a modern industrial city and the economic and trading centre of the province. Situated on the mouth of the Brantas river, this vibrant metropolis is a port city on the Indonesian island of Java and it is home to a sprawling Chinatown and an Arab Quarter whose Ampel Mosque was built in the 15th century.

But Surabaya has an added symbolic value as it houses the Tugu Pahlawan (Heroes Monument), which honours the independence battles waged in Surabaya's streets back in 1945. That is one of the reasons the mayor of this metropolis has targeted the East Java provincial capital to be first city in Indonesia to house the Startup Nation Summit. Through this summit, the City of Heroes becomes the first creative city in Indonesia.

Tri Rishmahrini (Risma), the mayor of Surabaya, stated: "Surabaya has been well known in ASEAN and Asia but not yet in part of European countries and others, and so, the Startup Nation Summit will be the right moment to make it a creative city."

Named second runner-up for World's Best Mayor in 2015 by Fortune Magazine, Rishmaharini is determined to turn the city of 3.5 million into a thriving hub for entrepreneurs. One of her initiatives is called Start Surabaya and is the first city-level tech startup incubator in Indonesia centred on creative entrepreneurs in digital industries.

This is an exciting year for the Startup Nation Summit as 2018 is meant to look different from previous years. That is why the City Government of Surabaya made it its mission to package the even with the nuances of today, called Innovation Creative Digital Industry.

Over 180 delegates from a myriad of countries flock to The Startup Nation Summit to collaborate with the digital creative industry event with millennial nuances. This innovation creative event is tasked to present different topics, including music performance, digital art, community activity, virtual reality, interactive zone workshop and interactive game.

Tri Rishmahrini noted, “to be presented with many events, we hope all ages can join, because our target is to attract one million visitors.” Risma's master plan is to incorporate the Startup Nation Summit with creative digital agenda to realize Surabaya as the first creative city in Indonesia, to foster the startup world of Surabaya, and to put the City of Heroes on the world map.

The promotion of the event will be carried out through promotional media, mass mobilization, poster billboards, and flyers in schools.

Funded and co-hosted by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Startup Nations is an initiative run by the Global Entrepreneurship Network. The Startup Nations Summit website claims that the event “gathers a network of entrepreneurship policy shapers from around the world to identify, test and track innovative policy levers and smart public sector driven programmes for new and young businesses.”

The announcement of Surabaya becoming the host of the 2018 SMS comes after the Global Entrepreneurship Network announced its intentions to expand its efforts to help policymakers navigate a fast-changing environment for public policy and entrepreneurship. One of the main objectives of the Summit is to detect the most promising efforts to bring before a gathering of government ministers months later at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress. Apart from those gatherings, the Global Entrepreneurship Network has begun to roll out a series of policy panels and policy hackathons at all levels to facility broad knowledge sharing.

“Many government leaders have demonstrated a commitment to settling a policy environment that allows entrepreneurship to flourish,” said Jonathan Ortmans, president of the Global Entrepreneurship Network. “Startup Nations is our commitment to help them identify and implement policies and programmes that can provide meaningful impact.”

Previous summits have been held in Toronto in 2012, Kuala Lumpur in 2013, Seoul in 2014, Monterrey in 2015 and Cork in 2016 and most recently in Tallinn, Estonia, in 2017. Each year, the summit represents the official closing of the Global Entrepreneurship Week, which houses 35,000 events, activities and competitions held in more over 170 countries around the world. This summit is aimed at making it easier for anyone, anywhere to start and scale a business.

Indonesian president is a metal head

Indonesian president is a metal head

Also known as Jokowi, Joko Widodo is President of Indonesia since the elections of 2014, and ever since he has changed the political landscape of the country with his different personality. For starters, he is the first Indonesian president not to come from an elite political or military background, he is a humble man, he's not letting religion lead politics like other politicians do in Indonesia and unlike former rulers, he is famously known as a metal head.

Upon winning the 2012 Jakarta gubernatorial election, he improved the city's bureaucracy, reduced corruption, introduced programs to improve quality of life in the city - such as healthcare and dredging the city's main river to reduce flooding - and he inaugurated construction of the city's subway system.

After all these reforms, he started to gain prominence in Indonesian politicians and became increasingly popular amongst Indonesians. That is when PDI-P nominated him as their presidential candidate in the 2014 presidential election, and the rest is History.

But there is much more to Joko Widodo than his political accomplishments. He is also loves metal music, which is also a reflection of the country's music scene. According to The Economist, Kokowi “has a penchant for loud rock music” and he even owned a bass guitar signed by Robert Trujillo of heavy metal band Metallica. Unfortunately, the guitar was confiscated by the anti-corruption commission, KPK. While he was the Governor of Jakarta, he was seen in the rock festival Rock in Solo. He also attended the festival in 2011.

Clearly, he is a big fan of Metallica, but he is also a professed fan of Lamb of God, Led Zeppelin, and Napalm Dead. The latter band is famous for their humanist, socialist and political views. Although Nepalm Death went as far as congratulating the president on their Facebook page, they also criticized him after the Bali Nine and the Lindsay Sandiford case. This band wasn't the only band who criticized the president for those cases, but he also came under the fire from other bands within the metal scene, such as Tony Iommi, after their their pleas for clemency were ignored.

Axl Rose was another artist who pleaded for clemency fo two members of the so-called “Bali Nine”- nine people arrested in 2005 for allegedly planning to smuggle heroin out of Denpasar - and he went as far as sending a letter to Indonesian President Joko Widodo. According rep for Axl Rose told Rolling Stone magazine that the rocker made his letter public because was “quite upset with such injustice.”

The Guns N' Roses singer wrote in the letter: "I appeal to you Mr. President, Mr. Joko Widodo to use your show your country's strength and allow the world to witness an extraordinary act of humanity and bravery on yours and your country's part." Rose also sent the letter to three ambassadors and the chairman of the National Commission on Human Rights of Indonesia.

"Their crimes were now long ago, their hearts and minds forever changed by their crimes," Rose wrote. "In a world where the bad often outweighs the good and evil and negativity would appear more and more prevalent we need and can use every person choosing to make a difference.... In doing so we show the entire world that we are capable of forgiveness and mercy, a much greater sense of courage, strength and humanity and being so much more than that which seeks to overcome and destroy us."

Rose wrote that not sparing the prisoners' lives would be a "cold, cruel and uncaring message of hopelessness," and he pleaded that Joko not be "blinded by rigidity and inflexibility." He also described their death sentences as "draconian" and the act of killing them "barbaric, backward and truly disgraceful."

Rose wrote that "executing those on the bottom rungs of the ladder in the chain of drug trafficking...seems more than unfair." He continued. "Only the lives of these three human beings are what's important now."

He closed the letter by asking Joko to consider the message he is sending. "You've made your point and struck fear in both the hearts and minds of the condemned and anyone even remotely considering bad choices or already involved in those worlds," Rose wrote. "Life is the only thing important now, not death but life."

Despite Rose's letter, the government executed eight people – seven of whom were foreigners, including Chan and Sukumaran. Accordingly, Joko had said that the country was facing "a national emergency" of drug abuse which is why the pleas for mercy were rejected.

Joko Widodo's popularity as a metalhead has also reached Scandinavian shores, and when Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen Løkke Rasmussen visited Jakarta on diplomatic terms, he gifted Widodo a Metallica Master of Puppets vinyl box set, which was signed by the band's drummer and co-founder, Lars Ulrich, a Danish native. Widodo paid 11 million rupiah out of his own money to claim the record and avoid accusations of corruption.

Ulrich commented on the diplomatic gift on his Instagram account: “This is way cool… I signed an MOP box set for Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen to give to Indonesian President Joko Widodo who is well known as a huge fan of rock music and came to see us in Jakarta in ‘13… music really does connect people!!!”