Hello! Like I mentioned in my previous post, starting this month I have a new segment in my blog called “A Cuppa with…” in which I interview people whom I find inspiring. And for the premiere edition of it, I’m so excited to feature my good friend Yacko! Many knows her as the leading female rapper in Indonesia, but she also works as a lecturer/head of program in one of educational institutes in Jakarta. Besides that, she is also a mother to a very cute daughter. I personally think she’s the perfect role model for young girls; she’s very smart, passionate about life, independent and a go-getter. Since April is the month in which we’re celebrating women’s empowerment in Indonesia, I reckon that she’s the perfect person for this month’s “A Cuppa with…”
She and I have gone way back to more than a decade ago when we both were still university students in Sydney. We both have big passion for music and have shared many unforgettable memories on stage.
The collaboration didn’t stop on stage. In 2008, I was featured on her deep and meaningful track called “Jalan Keluar” from her 2nd album.
Last Monday I came to her house to have a cuppa with her and Alana. We haven’t met for quite a while so this interview was actually an good opportunity for us to catch up!
I’m sure you’ll be inspired by her too by the time you’ve finished reading😉
Can you tell us a brief story about your musical journey that brings you to where you are now, as the leading female rapper in Indonesia?
I am always passionate about music since I was a kid. But the turning point was in 1992, when I listened to rap music on the radio. I was curious about the lyrics and the energy from the beat. Then, I began to search for more rap music, learn how to rap, spit some rhymes, write my own lyrics and join many rap gigs. That’s when I decided that I wanted to become a rapper. The stepping stone was when I joined Pesta Rap 2 in 1996, I started to know more people. 2001 was the year when I was featured on Iwa K’s single “Apa Seeh”. My first album, Refleksi was released in 2005, then followed by Mendua in 2008. The Experiment, my third album was released in 2013 and chosen to be one of the best albums in 2013 by Rolling Stone Indonesia. I also joined #HIPHOPISHIPHOP
, a charity project initiated by San-E, a Korean rapper that gathers rappers from all over the world including my inspiration, KRS-One, in 2015. Then, finally this year I released THANG.
What made you decide to be a lecturer? Do you find excitement in sharing your knowledge with others or…?
Other than rapping, I’ve always loved to share. By teaching, I get to share my experiences and listen to my students’ experiences. By listening to their experiences, I get to learn new things. Their characteristics, things they like, things they do, the trend nowadays. Knowing these information is like getting fresh materials for my musical journey too. So if people think that these are two different things, yes they might be different, but in my case, they’re related and supporting each other.
Can you tell us how a typical day of Yacko usually goes?
I get up at 6 and quickly prepare my kid for school. I ride a bike to work. I drop my kid to her school and then continue riding to my office. That way I could be faster and not stuck in Jakarta’s nasty traffic. My office hour is from 8 – 5. Normally I teach 1 class in a day, counsel students or just simply manage things around. Then I go back home. Play with my kid, help her with her study until she goes to sleep, then I start to work again. By working here, sometimes If I have recording schedule, I have to push it to the hour when Alana is already sleeping. Or it can also be a midnight gig. Put on my make up, gigging, and go back home afterwards. The cycle continues.
Wow. That sounds exhausting. So we can safely conclude that you’re the type of person that will be bored to death if have to spend one whole day being a couch potato?
Not really, I love being a couch potato. I rarely have time for that. And when I do have a chance, I embrace it LOL.
I’ve known you for quite a while now and you’ve always seemed full of energy that I wonder how you could manage to stay focused and energized throughout your super packed day. What’s your secret? How do you stay fit to do all your activities?
I am a Libra. Everything around me has to be balanced. Mentally and physically. And the secret is my family. Their happiness is the source of my strength. Another thing is I always have to work out e.g. riding a bike or jogging. In other words, for me to stay fit is by working out and by being happy.
What does motherhood mean to you?
Motherhood means being blessed by all the experiences and moments I enjoy with my daughter, Alana.
I’ve seen you posted videos and photos with your cute daughter on social media. I love seeing how you two seem to be really close, just like friends (dancing to Justin Bieber’s songs, etc). How do you manage to divide your time between your daughter, 9-5 work and musical work? What do you do to stay close to her?
I always tell her this before I have to go gigging at night, “I might not always be beside you when you’re sleeping, but I am always here before you go to sleep and when you’re awake.” And no matter how late I went to home after a gig, in the morning if she has to go to her science club, I always accompany her.
Also, we talk on the phone when she’s already home from school. I always try to push any schedule away if she has a test and accompany her to study. Any other activities have to be pushed back to another schedule until her needs are met.
Having to juggle so many roles in your life, do you still have me time? What do you usually do?
My me time is sleeping LOL! And riding a bike as well as jogging. These activities keep me sane. Also sometimes when Alana is attending her science club, I use the time to get a massage. But I also love doing it together with Alana since she loves getting a massage too.
From numerous achievements you’ve had, what do you consider as the biggest achievement so far in your career?
At the moment maybe to be able to join the #HIPHOPISHIPHOP project since it’s a worldwide project. But I think as long as I haven’t given back that much to the community, I consider that I still have more to achieve.
One of the many awards she received. This one is for her track “Ink & Paint”
We’ve witnessed you wearing so many hats: mother, female MC, lecturer, ex-radio announcer, entrepreneur. What’s next in store for Yacko?
I want to give back to the community more. By maybe starting a voluntary program to teach unfortunate children to rap or any activities that help them to aim high and that they can be whatever they want in the future.
Name three tracks that you listen the most recently.
M83 – Go!
Tupac – Changes
Porter Robinson – Fellow Feeling
Since the title of this segment is “A Cuppa with…”, I will ask everyone featured on it to review the drink that they have during the interview. Now, let’s pretend we’re tea experts😀 What do you think about the tea? How would you rate it out of 10?
I must say it’s an 8. Dont put too much sugar in it though, because the original taste is already good. I love the packaging and the tea bag. The tea bag is unlike the usual one with bleached paper. So I guess it’s more healthy.
The tea that we had that evening.
And last but not least. We both know that there’s no business like show business but unfortunately it can be a tough, rough and mean one too. Any tips for any young female artist wishing to make it in the music industry?
First, you gotta decide what your objective is. Play along with the industry or just create your own shape and be yourself. Because honestly the industry can be so harsh and sometimes you have to follow what they want you to be. But the most important thing is for you to be honest to yourself. Be consiflex! Consistent to your objective, but flexible in the way to reach your objective. Also do not skip the process. in order to be where you wanna be, you have to go through each of the process and enjoy every challenge that occur. Don’t mind the haters, just do your thang!