Top Indonesian Musicians


Monita Tahalea

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.


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