Category Archives: A Cuppa With…

A Cuppa with Eq Puradiredja

I remember back when I was still in junior high, I saw a video clip of a new Indonesian duo Humania on TV. It caught my attention straightaway, as their music was really different compared to what’s considered popular in the Indonesian music scene at the time. Armed with their skills, the producer duo Eki Puradiredja (or more commonly known as Eq Puradiredja) and Rediyanto Heru Nurcahyo (Heru) released three albums and all of them were very well received. After releasing the third album in 2000, they decided to take a break.

But that doesn’t mean they quit music altogether. Eq Puradiredja went on to produce and co-produce the albums of other artists such as Indra Lesmana, Jamie Aditya, Maliq & D’Essentials, Andien, Tohpati and the Malaysian songstress Sheila Majid. His works got nominated and even won awards! He recently produced Art of Tree’s debut album and one of the tracks “Gibberish” was nominated for “Best Urban Track Production” by Anugerah Musik Indonesia (AMI).

I first met Eq back in 2007 when I was performing with Sister Duke at the after party for Jakarta Crossover Jazz Festival. What impressed me the most from our first encounter was his sincere and friendly smile. At the time he was in charge for artist selection for Java Festival Production (JFP)—the organizer of festivals such as Soulnation Festival, Java Rocking Land and Java Jazz Festival.

A couple of months later I got to perform for the first time in one of the biggest jazz festivals in the world. I was really excited since I had been a loyal goer since it was first held. And I was blessed with the opportunities to take part in it in the following years. Every year I witnessed how Eq dedicatedly went from stage to stage to check out the performances of Indonesian artists. He’s truly got what every good music producer needs—the sincere desire to support the artists and watch them grow.

I had the chance to have a (quite long) talk with Mas (a Javanese word commonly used in Indonesia to address a—not necessarily older—man with respect) Eq last Sunday at Excelso, Bintaro Exchange, while his beautiful wife Antie and their two sons were playing in a nearby play land.  Over a cup of caffè latte that he rated 8 out 10, we talked about music, why he decided to leave his post as the Program Director at JFP, and what made him interested in history.

Hi, Mas Eq, thank you for taking your time to talk to me for my blog. How are you? I heard that as of this year you no longer work for JFP?

Yes, I am now working for Electric Ocean Asia as the Creative Director and currently we are busy preparing for Habibie Festival to celebrate BJ Habibie‘s 80th birthday. The event will be held from 11 to 14 August 2016 and will showcase his contribution to Indonesia and the the country’s developments in technology.

 

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Although it’s still in line with one of your previous job descriptions, which is creating concept for events, it is not related at all to music. May I know why you decided to make a detour in your career?

I actually had already prepared to leave my post at JFP in 2015. But they requested me to stay and so I did. I had been working for them from the start and it’s great to witness how Indonesian artists finally got to the point where they received the appreciation and recognition that they deserved. It wasn’t like that initially; I had to convince them that there were a lot of people who’d like to see Indonesian artists too. And eventually they saw it for themselves, how Indonesian artists attracted so many audiences.

After working for them for a decade, I felt that I’ve made my point, done my job and it’s time for me to move on to the next challenge. And finally this year I got to work at a new office, fulfilling my vision in a bigger scale.

What is your vision? Would you please elaborate more on it?

Heru and I founded Humania in the early 90s because we wanted to break the notion that the kind of music we produce was unpopular in Indonesia. We weren’t looking for spotlight but we actually wanted to make changes, which was the same motive that made me join JFP. And we managed to make that impact with our first album, paving the way for other artists such as Singiku, The Groove, Sova, etc.

Humania is based on our desire to produce not just music, but also events, films, etc. There were some issues that we want to discuss and we believe that these mediums can help us deliver our messages. But after releasing three albums, we felt like we got astray because the industry shaped us in a way that people view us as a band, as celebrities, not producers. That’s why we decided to take a break.

What sort of issues that you are referring to?

I have been intrigued with spirituality since I was 15 after I witnessed my friend passed away because of a traffic accident. A couple of years later, the same experience happened to me again, seeing a friend died in an accident. These experiences made me ponder upon many things and piqued my interest in politics and history. It also made move to Sydney, Australia where I got to meet many people from different countries and backgrounds which broadened my perspective.

From 1998 to 2000, amidst the chaos that happened in Indonesia, Heru and I left Jakarta, moved to Puncak and set up a studio to produce our third album. There were several other musicians who came to the studio and spent time with us. We had a lot of discussion, mainly on the current situation of Indonesia. We channel all of our thoughts to the music and lyrics we made. I could see that Indonesia would be able to rise after everything that happened so we made a song called “Ya’ll Be There”, because we believed that although we had to get through a slow and painful healing process, this country would eventually get “there”—the point where it’s supposed to be.

If you didn’t tell me this, I would’ve never thought that your songs have such deep meanings as you convey your messages in a very subtle way. Did you do it in purpose?

Yes, because we want to relate with as many people as we can. We’ve been doing it since the first album when we made a track called “Kuasa” (power). The song is about God but you can’t find the word God or any religious reference in it. We wanted it to be universal so it could touch anyone.

I read that you’ve always wanted to be a music producer since you were quite young. Could you tell me briefly about it?

During the 4th grade of elementary school, I was asked to replace my brother’s position as the drummer in our school band in Hong Kong because my brother went back to Indonesia. He was already in high school so I had to play with other high school students. Then I moved back home and started hanging out with his friends, playing music and going to the studio for rehearsal and even recording sessions. I was really immersed in music and liked to pay attention to the details and read the credit on the inlay of the album when I was listening to music. After listening to Quincy Jones’ “Back on the Block” album which was released in 1989, I got the epiphany that I wanted to be a music producer.

You mentioned that you’re interested in history and I also saw you posted several things related to history in your social media. Have you always been interested in history since you were little?

No. I think it all went back to 1998, the crisis and tragedies happening in Indonesia made me wonder a lot about who I was, where I came from, how to find my roots. I believe that the history of Indonesia is manipulated, and I’m really concerned. There’s a missing link in the history showing the greatness of our nation and there were researches conducted on it in Gunung Padang, but unfortunately the most recent one was stopped.

This missing link induced the inferior mentality that lead to the notion that foreigners are better than us—I got to witness it myself in my effort to prove Indonesian artists could also attract many people to the festival.

It’s crucial that the truth is revealed so we can realize how great we are as a nation and can finally unleash our true potential. Also, history is the key because by having profound understanding on it, we can figure out what steps we should take now to make us ready for the future.

I actually made a song about being lost and trying to find the way back to greatness. The track is called “Coba Sekali Lagi” and you can find it in Humania’s third album.

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With his firstborn, Quenra.

Now I can really see why you were referred as an idealist in some articles that I read. Like you said before, you really wanted to make an impact?

Yes. As a father, I want to leave a good legacy for my children. We can witness that there are recently a lot of movements to make the country flourish. I think Java Jazz Festival can be considered as one of them.

I totally agree. There are more and more talented young musicians nowadays, like Joey Alexander. I bet in a way the festival made an impact on their careers.

Yes.

Do you find it hard though? Being an idealist yet at the same time trying to make a living?

I’m doing what I truly believe to make a good impact. It is indeed tricky. But if you have something that you feel strongly about, somehow you will be redirected to it again. Like I mentioned before, I felt like I got astray after releasing three albums with Humania. But here I am again.

So far people identify you as singer, musician, songwriter, music producer, DJ, ex bar owner, consultant, etc. What do you think define yourself best?

Producer.

As a music producer, which three albums do you think  have the best production?

Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly

Snarky Puppy – Family Dinner

Stevie Wonder – Songs in the Key of Life

And what are the three things that make the production of these albums really good?

The talent, composition, and the concept of the recording.

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A Cuppa with Wizzow

Wisnu Prastowo a.k.a Wizzow is my mentor in music production. We first met in 2005 when we shared the stage to support our girl Yacko (but being an “old forgetful man” that he is, he doesn’t remember :p).

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At Yacko’s crib, preparing for her show.

We then met again in 2008 at Yacko’s concert. He was there with Batik Tribe and they asked me to do a collaboration with me. A few days after, I went to the studio to lay my vocals down to this awesome track that Wizzow produced. The track is called “Give Me Your Love (Global Warming)” and was one of the tracks in their debut album “Melangkah”.

I have never met a person as passionate as Wizzow when it comes to music. With no formal training and proper studio gear, he produced, mixed and mastered Ras Muhamad’s debut album which was released in 2006. Amazingly this album landed an Anugerah Musik Indonesia (AMI) nomination for Best Reggae Composition in 2008!

So far Wizzow have worked with big names in the industry such as Glenn Fredly, Afgan, Dewi Sandra, Tompi, Malaysian singer-songwriter Nadhira, and many more. After my collaboration with Batik Tribe, Wisnu and I became good friends and we also worked several times in some jingle projects.

What I like best from Wizzow is that he happily and patiently answers all my questions regarding music production, from how to set the EQ to how to do a quick mastering. Back then I thought I wouldn’t be able to mix and master my own track but with the help from him, I managed to record, produce, mix and master this track below.

Wow, that’s quite a long introduction. I think it’s time for you to read my conversation with him over my favorite drink from Sharetea to know more about this amazing self-taught MC/music producer 😉

Hi Wizzow! It’s been a while, huh? What are you up to now?

I just finished producing the debut album of a neo-soul singer, Bakhes. We were working on it for three years and finally it will be released this September. And I also just finished working on a religious compilation album entitled “Hidayah” with Glenn Fredly, featuring artists like Indra Lesmana and Kamila which was just released this month for the holy month of Ramadan. Right now I’m working on the debut album of Tiara Degrasia of The Voice Indonesia Season 1 and the soundtrack for the film “Ben & Jody (Filosofi Kopi 2)”.

You started your music career as an MC when you were a teenager. Why hip hop?  

I love basketball and the time I was a big fan of Shaquille O’Neal and Gary Payton. Every time I went to the court to practice, there’s always someone playing hip hop tunes. That’s how I fell in love with the music and started to learn how to rap. Besides practicing using the minus one inside the cassette that I bought for 10 thousand rupiahs (around 76 cents), I honed my skill by reading articles in magazines or newspapers in a fast pace, pretending like I’m rapping.

What made you intrigued to learn music production and how did you learn it? Were you relying on Internet and if so, was there any site that you frequented the most?

Back then I had a hip hop group and one of them was the producer. One day he looked at me and said, “Without me, you wouldn’t be able to make music”. I wanted to make music with other producers but couldn’t afford it. So I tried arranging music using a Technic KN 2000 keyboard and bought a computer afterwards. I made several tracks and sold each of them for 50 thousand rupiahs (around 3,80 dollars) that only covered for food. Having not enough money to hire a mixing engineer, I realized that I needed to learn it myself. So I gathered several different speakers in my room and learned the various characters of sound frequency by listening to Dr. Dre’s “2001” album using each speaker.

Do you have any music production mentor? What’s the one thing he taught you that you won’t forget?

Yudis Dwikorana. He taught me to compose song pattern and to differentiate the verse and chorus. For mixing, Nti told me that the first thing that needed to be mixed was the beat (kick, snare, hihat), followed by bass, other instruments, and vocals.

What is the most memorable experience in your music production career?

After listening to Ras Muhamad’s debut album, many thought that I did the recording and mixing in a professional studio when I actually didn’t use a proper studio speaker, only a simple stereo. We also only used a second-hand SM58 dynamic microphone during recording. That was truly memorable.

Do you consider yourself more of a analog or digital person?

Digital.

Who is your favorite producer and why?

Dr. Dre because he is a skillful MC and also really good in producing. With his good technical skills, all artists that he produced like Tupac, Snoop Dogg, Eminem & Mary J. Blige managed to go platinum.

What are the best three tracks produced by him?

Tupac feat. Dr. Dre & Roger Troutman – California Love

Snoop Dogg – Gin and Juice

Eminem feat. Dr. Dre – Guilty Conscience

You collaborated with Akil of Jurassic 5 for your solo album. I’m sure there are other artists you’d like to collaborate with. If you could choose, which artist would you feature in your next album and in which studio would you produce the track?

Talib Kweli, because he has a very cool flow and his lyrics are on point. It doesn’t matter in which studio I get to work with him.

What do you think about popular hip hop nowadays? 

I like new artists like Kendrick Lamar. He is really good. In general, the rapping style nowadays is more simple. Too bad most of the famous hip hop tracks now only expose fame, sex, fortune and drugs in the lyrics.

It’s obvious that you really enjoy producing hip hop, R&B and soul music. What genre of music that you surprisingly enjoyed producing?

EDM wasn’t my cup of tea before but I had to produce an EDM track for several projects and turned out I really enjoyed it.

Last but not least, do you enjoy the drink we had? What do you think of it on a scale of 10?

I had Avocado Coccoa Rocksalt & Cheese with additional pearl. I love how the smooth blend of Avocado mix well with the savory cheese cream. It’s really good so it gets 9,2 from me. Hahaha!

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I had a really good time catching up with Wizzow at his studio. It’s too bad that I had limited time. But hopefully I get to spend more time with him before he’s busy taking care of his baby boy who is due soon. Hope everything goes well before and during the D-day, Wizzow & Ivy!

A Cuppa with Melanie Putria

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A month has passed since I interviewed Yacko for the segment “A Cuppa with…” and this month I had the opportunity to interview my favorit Puteri Indonesia (Indonesian beauty queen) who also happens to be a friend of mine, Melanie Putria!

Melanie’s and my paths crossed in 2011 through running. With other fellow runners, we went together for Singapore Standard Chartered Marathon. Although at the time she had just been running for less than 6 months, she went there to do her first marathon (in which she got a quite good timing for a first timer who didn’t really prepare for it!) while I was doing my first half marathon (I obviously didn’t perform as well as her, you can easily tell who the fast runner is and who the fun runner is 😉 ).

She’s such a lovely person that everybody loves. I got the chance to work with her once as an MC/Race Announcer. Although she’s more experienced than me, I can tell you that she’s not cocky at all!

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Partnering for Lippo Mall Kemang 10K – Run for Childhood Cancer.

Spending that afternoon with her and listening to her stories at Starbucks, Kota Kasablanka, made me realize how this person could even be more inspiring.

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Also met Helen and Joe that afternoon!

Hi Uni (an endearing term for sister used by the ethnic group of Minangkabau in West Sumatra), thank you for taking your time to have a chat with me for my blog. You are well known as a Puteri Indonesia who has a successful career in the entertainment industry. What inspired you to embark on this career?

It all started from singing. Thinking that I had the talent, my mother got me enrolled in a singing course and had to drag me there because I didn’t think that I had any sense of music. But mother knows better, of course! Eventually I started to really like singing and entered quite a lot of singing contests and became the winner. I became the backing vocal for a couple of bands, performed more and started to make my own money.  Then one day at the campus, I saw an ad for Puteri Indonesia and got intrigued. I thought to myself, “Why don’t I give it a shot?” All those experiences from the singing contests and on the stage gave me enough confidence to present myself in front of a crowd. Even though I was clueless when it came to beauty and modeling, I filled out the form and sent it over. Turned out I got picked as a finalist to represent West Sumatra and won the title. This really opened the door for me as a presenter and MC. I learned how to be an MC by watching my mother who often brought me to work as an MC for Minangkabau weddings when I was little.

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Caught her in the act in Jakarta Marathon 2014.

You’re also known to promote healthy lifestyle, being an avid runner and all. Can you tell us a briefly how your story with sports and health begun?

I used to be this chubby girl who hated sport and often pretended to be sick so I could skip physical education classes. After winning the title of Puteri Indonesia, I still didn’t embrace the healthy lifestyle–I didn’t exercise, didn’t eat vegetables nor fruits. I thought that I had no problem with my body until YPI (Yayasan Puteri Indonesia – the organizer of the beauty pageant) sent me a warning letter saying that I had to lose a couple kilograms. I felt shocked because it was the first time for a Puteri Indonesia receiving such letter. I wasn’t that fat, but I obviously didn’t look toned either. So I decided to join the gym and try to live a healthy lifestyle. It was the turning point. But I was too excited with it that I took things a bit too far for five years. I adopted the lifestyle of a bodybuilder – did their weight training routines, followed their diet without proper knowledge. It was extreme that my health started to be affected.

What made you finally found balance in this quest for a healthy lifestyle?

My body was so lean that it no longer produced estrogen. Doctor told me that I was already in a pre menopause phase and I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to have children. I went to see a gynecologist who told me to gain 3 kilograms and voilà, I got my period back one week before I got married!

What about running? How did you find your love for it?

After I gave birth to Sheemar, I wanted to shed those extra pounds. Going back to the gym was hard because I felt intimidated by other members who looked good and it didn’t help to hear my personal trainer said I looked like a double door fridge. I felt like I had to find other way and saw the running-related posts on social media by my friends Maylaffayza and Yasha. Then I found my passion and have done 5 marathon ever since.

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Our Singapore Marathon trip in 2011.

You just had your last marathon in Tokyo and you worked with Pocari Sweat for the preparation. How was it?

I underwent training for 2 months for Tokyo Marathon 2016. It was hard because I had only been running for a couple of years and had to follow a comprehensive training plan. Although the plan was made for athletes, I was still living my life like normal that I failed to follow the recovery program properly and got typhoid fever. I recovered one week before the marathon and the people from Pocari Sweat told me it’s ok for me not to go but I realized that I had this huge responsibility to finish what we’d started. When I managed to get to the finish line and broke my PB (personal best time), I felt really grateful. It made me realize even more that we could get what we wanted and there’s nothing impossible if we’re really determined and if we really honored the commitment we’d made to ourselves and other people.

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We could say that you’re a hard worker and a go-getter. What drives you to be that person?

I always tell myself to give 100% to everything that I do and to finish what I started. People who don’t know me that well would think that I shouldn’t be overly serious in what I do. I think part of it is because I’m an Aries–we’re known to be uncompromising when it comes to what we want. Besides of that, I had a bad experience at school when I was little. I was this chubby and lousy girl who often got picked on by other students. I want to show that I’m no longer that person. We can say that it’s how I avenge myself in a good way. Also, Sheemar is one of the reasons why I work hard. I want to be a good example for him and make him proud.

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Aww!!!

It’s a bit of surprise to know that a lovely person like you could be a victim of bullying at school. Would you mind sharing a little bit of the story with us?

In elementary school, almost all the girls in the class hate me. They accused me of snitching something to the teacher so the whole class got punished. One time the boys put glue on my chair so my skirt got sticky and dirty. Sometimes they liked to drop my things in front of my eyes and then gave me these mocking facial expressions. They also liked to make fun of me really bad because I was fat and it made me cry. But now things have changed and I’m obviously no longer that fat girl.

Hope you’re not bored having to answer this question but I’m really curious. How do you balance your family and career?

I must be honest, it’s not easy. It’s such a luxury for me if I could sleep 4 hours in a day. This is such a big challenge for me as I’m still figuring out how I can manage to take care of my family, have my own me time, but also thrives in my career at the same time. But thankfully I have a husband who understands me and is willing to remind me if I start to be overly focused on one aspect in my life and abandon the others.

How do you manage to stay fit to do all the things that you do? Where do all those energies come from? And also, how do you manage your mood? The entertainment business is quite a b*tch and it’s easy for the artist’s mood to be affected.

I’m actually a very moody person and I used to have a hard time in managing it. In the past, you could easily tell if I was sad or angry just by looking at my face. And it’s a big no-no in the entertainment industry, as you must not allow the camera or the crowd to capture that. Then I found my outlet in sports. I have to exercise to get the energy that I need to do my activities as well as to control my mood. If I don’t exercise for three days, I can turn to be this very cranky person. Yes, I’m a self-confessed endorphin addict.

So that’s why you always seem to be this pleasant and cheerful person?

Yes, exercising really helps me with that. But, here’s the thing. Back when I just found the key to control my mood, I felt that I was obliged to be this delightful person in front of everyone, that I had to please them. But we live in a world where people have their own agenda and sometimes your happiness is not in it. I used to try to understand these people and let things go their way. But it was tiring. Two years ago I realized that I actually had to be happy first so I could sincerely make other people happy. So I started to muster up the courage to say “no” or show how I’m unhappy with someone if that how I truly feel.

As a beauty queen, what is your definition of beauty? But please don’t say beauty, brain and behavior. Let us know what Melanie Putria really thinks 😀

Beauty is when you feel comfortable. If you think you look pretty but you’re actually hurting, you feel awkward with the clothes and makeup that you wear, then you’re definitely not being beautiful. You exuberate beauty when you can be yourself and proud of it.

Now I get why the judges chose you to be Puteri Indonesia. *chuckles

Awh, you!

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Crowned in 2002 (picture taken from Tempo website).

Okay, this is my attempt to relate this interview with the title of the blog segment, “A Cuppa with…”  What are you having and how would you rate it out of 10?

Non-fat Green Tea Frappuccino with less ice, one shot of espresso di affogato and no whipped cream. I like it so much that I’d give it a 9.

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Back to you. Do you have any tips for people who want to be a successful presenter and host like yourself?

You can’t be a good TV personality and host if you don’t know what your strength and skill is. For me personally, I love to be connected to the people I’m talking to. So I try to have eye contact with them and it actually helps me to talk better, converse better with them. Also you have to know what makes you unique. What sort of image that you want the audience to relate you to? Are you a sexy MC? A funny one? Or a sporty one? And one more thing, always keep a good relationship with everyone in the industry. I’ve met quite a number of new presenters who stick their nose up in the air. Even though you’re very skillful and talented, you obviously can’t thrive in the industry with that unpleasant manner.

You have so many things going on in your life, so many achievements. Is there any particular project that you would like to realize in the near future?

I have one thing that still hasn’t come true yet. I want to release an album. I’ve discussed this with my husband Angga, but he said that I didn’t really have to have an album to be a singer. Well, I still feel the need to have a work of art that can be appreciated by others. Before we got married in 2010, Angga made a promise that he would help me make an album yet it still hasn’t come true! Hopefully soon.

As a singer, what three tracks that you love to sing?

Whitney Houston – I Will Always Love You

Melissa Manchester – Looking Through the Eyes of Love

Rita Effendy – Sebatas Mimpi

I know this is a typical job interview question, but how do you envision yourself in 10 years?

I will be a hot momma, hahaha! Well, I truly love sports and healthy lifestyle and I want to get as much knowledge as I can from this field. So I really want to be a good personal trainer who has certifications in nutrition and hopefully by being one I can eventually inspire and help many people.

 

A Cuppa with Yacko (and Alana)

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…”

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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.

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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.
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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.

 

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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!