Two female singers, Isyana Sarasvati and Raisa Andriana symbolize the birth of popular singers in the age of the internet. Some male bands are also popular and able to make good business. By Albert W Nonto
While Indonesia’s talent is acknowledged on the international stage, only a few musicians have made it big overseas. The major exception is Anggun Cipta Sasmi, who has long been based in France and has a strong following in Europe.
Multi-talented singer Agnes Monica has produced one album that made a mark internationally but recent plans to produce a second album with top-name producer John Wright, who produces Justin Timberlake, failed to get off the ground due to a number of problems.
On the home market Isyana Sarasvati, 23, and Raisa Andriana, 26, have made it big as song writers, musicians and singers over the past two years. Both have their own specific market and music genre.
Isyana trained as a musician and plays piano and electric organ and is a prolific composer. Her studies at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in Singapore and the Royal College of Music in London make her a unique singer, musician and composer with a richness in melody that stamps her as a long-term talent.
Her single Tetaplah Dalam Jiwa (Stay in My Soul) catapulted her to the top of the ranks of female singers in Indonesia. She has released a single album, Explore, and has won many international music competitions since a young age. Last year she was named Female Singer of the Year by Net TV. Tetaplah Dalam Jiwa has been watched by 61 million viewers on the internet and downloaded 20 million times, an all-time high for her recording company, Sony Music Indonesia.
Raisa has cut a different path through the industry, combining RnB, pop and soul. Her first album Raisa, released in 2011, rocketed her to local stardom. Her single LDR has been watched 4.5 million times. Her Kali Kedua (The Second Time) is the most downloaded song on iTunes and has been viewed 30 million times on various YouTube channels. On her way to becoming an industry veteran, she now has four albums to her name.
Peter Pan lives on
Among male performers, there is little argument that Noah, fronted by Ariel - Nazril Irham, 36 - is the country’s most popular act, leading the market for the past ten years. Formed in Bandung as Peter Pan, the group changed its name to Noah in 2012 and stars Ariel, Uki, Lukman, Reza and David.
The group’s 2014 album Second Chance sold 1.2 million CDs, making it the biggest album in the past three years. While album sales for the group are slowing, it is booked for live performances for a full year. After 30 years in the business, Slank has an estimated 4 million fans and continues to pull crowds wherever it performs.
Also well-established is Judika Nalon Abadi Sihotang, who shot to fame in Indonesia’s music industry on the second session of reality show Indonesia Idol in 2005. Since then he has released some seven albums for Sony Music Indonesia, with Mencari Cinta (Looking for Love) selling more than 1 million copies.
Gigi is another mainstay of the business after 20 years, with regular album releases and a tight schedule of shows throughout the country. Lead singer Armand Maulana stands out in his fans’ estimation because of his strong character and solid management.