Another South Africa – Indonesia Collaboration

At the beginning of this year I was contacted by a young producer from South Africa, Blaque Essence who expressed his interest in collaborating with me. He sent me the instrumental of the track and I fell in love with it immediately! It sounded so sweet which I really like. So yes, I told him that I would love to collaborate with him and started working on the lyrics and melody as well as recorded my vocals. So far, it’s one of my personal favorite out of all the collaborations I have done.

And months later, look what showed up on my Facebook timeline!

Only You

Since it’s my personal favorite, I’m so excited to share it with you. Will definitely give you update when it’s out so stay tuned, peeps! :)

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Country Walks in Spring Time…

One of my favorite jazz tunes is “That’s All”, a song composed by Alan Brandt and Bob Haymes and first sung by the great Nat King Cole. It’s so sweet and romantic that I sang it so many times that I lost count!

So when Aimee from The Lady Who Sings asked me to sing a jazz tune, I immediately picked this song. You can listen to it from the recording below.

Now, who would take a country walk in spring time with me while listening to this tune? :)

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Swingin’ with Aimee!

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Catch me swingin’ with the lovely Aimee Saras on Hard Rock FM tonight!

For streaming, click here.

See you on air!

Jazz Jazzes Up My Life

I started listening to jazz in university. As a singer, it’s only natural that I’m mostly drawn to jazz singers. My first favorite female jazz singer’s Dinah Washington. I remember I bought her CD in campus, I think there was some kind of a market or bazaar at the time. I love her “Teach Me Tonight”!

Then I stumbled upon the fabulous and scattilicious Ms Ella Fitzgerald! Her musicality is over the top, and like most people, I really admire her scat-singing.

When I’m in love or broken hearted, I seek comfort from Billie Holiday. Listening to her is some kind of emotional therapy for me. She’s just so full of soul, I really could feel every word she sang. Like this next song, it’s just so sad that I got teary eyes.

I always find thick voice fascinating, such as Sarah Vaughan’s. And it also has a hint of opera singer’s voice – so divine.

And who doesn’t know Nina Simone? This singer-pianist recorded “Feeling Good”, a track from the musical “The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd” for her album “I Put a Spell on You” that was released in 1965. This song was a hit, became a standard and got covered by many artists such as jazz crooner Michael Buble, the rock band Muse, and…me! Two years ago I was playing around with this app called VoiceJam on my iPod and was inspired to make a very simple rendition of the tune using only my voice.

For modern female jazz singers, I’m in love with Gretchen Parlato. How could somebody turn the 90s R&B group SWV’s track “Weak” into this super crazy rendition? (big props to Robert Glapser too!)

Many associate me with jazz, because I performed in jazz festivals. It’s true that jazz plays a big role in my musical evolution, but I can’t say that I’m a jazz artist because I’m still learning to be one. And I think I will keep on learning because it has so much to offer and every time I learn something new out of it, it makes me feel more and more alive! Thank God for music and thank God for Jazz! Happy International Jazz Day, peeps :)

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Renewing US Visa Without Interview (Interview Waiver Program)

So, that afternoon I received an e-mail from a US embassy official with the subject “Important Message Regarding Your US Visa”. I was instantaneously reminded with my US visa that was about to expire soon. The e-mail explained that there’s a new program called IWP or Interview Waiver Program in which a person with prior visa didn’t have to come in person to the embassy to renew their visa. But of course, not everyone is qualified for this program. To check whether you’re qualified or not, click here. I was thrilled to find out that I was qualified for the program, meaning I didn’t have to wake up so early in the morning and then queue in front of the embassy while feeling anxious that the interview wouldn’t turn out well and all. So, yeah, I thought why not go ahead and apply? Turns out, the process is really simple once you understand all the required steps, but I found the website a bit complex (hence I made this blog post in hope that it can help anyone wanting to renew their visa through IWP). And it’s relatively fast too! I dropped off all the required documents on Thursday at the drop box location, and picked up my passport with the issued visa the next Wednesday. Here are the steps for applying for US visa renewal with Interview Waiver Program: 1. Pay the NIV Application Fee This fee depends on the type of visa you’re applying. Find out what type of visa you’re applying, and check the amount you have to pay here. In my case, since I was renewing my B1/B2 visa, I had to pay USD 160. There are two payment options: online or straight at a local bank. Because I don’t have any account in Permata Bank, I opted for the latter. If, like me, you choose to pay at a local bank, you must first print out the deposit slip that you can find here and then take it to the bank. You can pay at any Standard Chartered or Permata Bank listed here. At first I went to Permata Bank branch in Setiabudi as it’s closer to my house. After more than half an hour of queuing, it was finally my turn but contrary to what the website says, the teller told me that it took more time for the payment to be processed if done in their bank (5-7 working days) compared to Standard Chartered (4 hours after payment)! Luckily there’s a Standard Chartered bank nearby that’s still open so I went there instead. *phew* So yeah, I guess you better go straight to Standard Chartered instead if you don’t want to wait that long. At the bank, I filled out the USA MRV Fee slip with my name as shown in the Passport, my Passport number, the visa fee amount and then sign it. I then gave this along with the deposit slip I printed at home to the teller. After validating them, she returned the payment receipt for the MRV fee and the Customer Copy of the deposit slip. Don’t lose the payment receipt, as you will need to submit it along with all other documents. For step-by-step procedures of this payment, click here. 2. Complete the DS-160 form Make sure you have a digital 5×5 cm formal photo in color with white background which was taken no longer than 6 months ago before you fill out this form as the first thing they’ll ask you is to upload this photo. You can read the photo requirements here but if you’re not sure you can take and edit the photo by yourself, just do what I did: go to the nearest  photo service and tell them you need a photo for US visa. When you’ve already got the required photo, go to this link and follow the steps to fill out the DS-160 form. After you fill out the form, electronically sign it and submit it online, you will get the DS-160 confirmation page, which you will submit along with all other documents. 3. Retrieve the Drop Box Confirmation Letter If you pay at the Standard Cartered bank, four hours after you made the payment (or one day after the payment just to make sure it’s already processed) go to this link, create an account and then login with that account. Even though with IWP we don’t have to make an appointment for an interview, just click “New Application/Schedule Appointment”. Answer the questions and after you finish, you will see “Drop Box Confirmation Letter” on the homepage. Click this and print it out. 4. Submit All Required Documents to the Drop Box Location As stated in the Drop Box Confirmation letter, drop off the following documents:

  1. Drop Box Confirmation Letter
  2. Current passport and prior passport which contains your most recent US visa
  3. Original Standard Chartered Bank or Permata Bank payment receipt for MRV fee
  4. DS-160 confirmation page
  5. One color, white-background, 5×5 cm photograph (just use the same one as the one you submitted online when filling out the DS-160 form)
  6. Children under age 14: original birth certificate (which will be returned along with the passport once the visa is issued)
  7. Student (F) visa applicants: original form I-20; Returning students – evidence that you continue to be a student in good standing, for example transcript or grade card; Exchange (J) visa applicants: original form DS-2019
  8. Crew (C1/D) visa applicants: Sponsor employment letter from crewing agency

at the nearest RPX courier. You can find the locations of the courier here. You don’t need other documents beside those mentioned above, not even a bank statement. And that’s it! Those are the 4 simple steps that you need to do to renew visa without having to go through the interview. Again, I hope you find this blog post helpful and if you have any question, just shoot! Hopefully I can help :)

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Two Nominations from VIMA Asia!

Another happy news in 2014!

“I Miss You” got nominated for “Best Pop Song” while Chymamusique’s track featuring yours truly, “Live Your Life” got nominated for “Best Genre Bender Song” by VIMA Asia :)

But we need your vote to help us win, and I promise you, it’s no hassle!

To vote, simply go to:

http://bit.ly/vimaasia-pop (for “Best Pop Song” category)

and

http://bit.ly/vimaasia-gbender (for “Best Genre Bender” category)

Then log in with your Facebook or Twitter account, click on the “Follow icon” or “human” icon at the bottom of the card and you’re done! It’s as simple as that :)

Voting will be closed next Monday, 10 February 2014, so please cast your vote before that ;)

Thank you!

Record of the Year!

It’s an indescribable feeling to know that others enjoy your music, it’s even more indescribable to know that your track was picked as one of the “Records of the Year”! Thank you friends at Volare FM! I’m really happy that my track for my beloved late brother Gede could touch your hearts…

A little update on the progress of my own EP, seems like we have to push back the date of release as I really want to make it special for you all… So please, do stay tuned, peeps!

Happy New Year!

I think it’s gonna be a very exciting year for all of us, thus….

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….shall we?

And on the first day of the year, you can download this special gift from me, a rendition of one of my favorite Musiq Soulchild’s tunes, “So Beautiful” from this link.

ENJOY!!!

Ho ho ho!

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South Africa – Indonesia Collaboration

Last year my friend Robert from Goodnws shared this information on Facebook about Chymamusique, a DJ/producer from South Africa, who’s looking for a vocalist to be featured on his new track. I really dig the soulful house vibe from the track preview and decided to give it a try and sent him the track I made for Sister Duke.

And turned out, he liked my voice! So he sent me the track via e-mail and I worked on the melodies and lyrics, recorded my voice and sent the tracks to him. And… he liked my work!

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This track will be on his album, out in early next year – don’t forget to buy it ;) In the mean time, you can listen to the preview below.

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