Ashanty, Titi DJ & Eka Gustiwana On Their Music And Exciting Collaboration
As the year began and Indonesia entered its second year in the throes of the Covid-19 pandemic, staying productive would require hard work and persistence, among many other factors. Many people, thankfully, had learned and graduated from 2021 with flying colours to remain creative and adaptable as the new normality now settles in. Different sectors are slowly emerging from the shadows at their own pace, trying to find a balance in a changing world. Although the music industry does suffer in some aspects, for example, musicians still have a place because people still need music as a balm for the soul. Today, musicians need to be creative in creation and delivery, which saw memorable collaborations sometimes crossing generations.
Titi DJ, the preeminent 1990s Indonesian diva, was included among those fruitfully coming up with new works last year. “I did two collaborations: Show Off Your Colors with Sara Fajira, at the beginning of the year, and then Superwoman with Ashanty, in November,” Titi said. “Eka Gustiwana created the music for both songs, and I am looking forward to working with him next year.” The rising young musician, hailing from the electronic music genre, gave some nice beats and bops to her works typically labelled as ballads.
However, the collaborations with Titi and Ashanty happened suddenly, stemming from his wish to collaborate again with Titi. “For Superwoman, we wrote the song together and then she had an idea to add a duet partner: Ashanty was the one,” Eka said. “Furthermore, we agreed to become a group: when Titi or Ashanty would make a song, I would become the producer, or for other collaborations, the three of us would be in it.”
However, Titi said, whether it is a collaboration or solo creation, she shall see when the idea comes and takes form. “Pure inspirations often come unexpectedly, and I like spontaneity in my works,” she said. Eka also added that “when it comes to making your music stands out from the rest, create what you would like to, and let your character shine through. Try not too hard to make it a viral phenomenon, and even starting to think about it is not the right step—for me.” The recipe of spontaneity and sincerity did work wonders for the creation of Superwoman, a catchy tune with colourful tones quickly gaining viewers on social media by the millions in just one month.
“With the quick advancement of the music industry today, there are many different genres to enjoy,” Ashanty said. “Anyone now could publish their creations in the virtual realm; nevertheless, their quality would speak for themselves.” As such, this is an exciting time to be a musician, and Indonesia has a rapidly growing industry. “I sincerely hope for more original works to come out, for the creators to be brave in being different and enrich our music scene,” said Eka. Their encouragement for new talents to keep on churning fresh, inventive works resonate well with the need for regeneration within the music industry.
“I am enthusiastic to see many young singers grow today, although natural selections would eventually seed those who stay or leave,” Titi said. “With many means to present your gifts, social media, talent search on TV, and many more, my advice is to be sincere. Be yourself and never imitate others. Find your unique signature style, and make it your voice that shines.” Besides being the best of self, a message the trio imparted in Superwoman, supporting one another is equally important, especially among women.
“My advice for parents whose children have a specific talent is to train them and find good channels to develop the gift further,” Ashanty said. “I was not allowed to pursue a career path as a musician when I was younger and only had it as a hobby. As such, I am letting my children find and follow their passions, to support and guide their path for the changing years ahead.” For Titi, she gives her children room to leave the nest and pursue their dreams. “As a single parent, success is my achievement in equipping my kids with good life skills and ushering them into their journey to success.”
Meanwhile, as a singer, success for Titi is when her songs become the theme song for many of her fans’ journeys—a feat she achieved with an illustrious career of almost four decades and many chart-topping songs. The recent, upbeat collaboration with Sara Fajira, Show Off Your Colors, is a successful example of remaking her 1988 hit Ekspresi. “I am thankful to be here and remain relevant throughout the decades. Luck, I would say, is the factor behind my continuous presence and appreciation in the industry,” she
said. “It’s a happy thing to have people request my performance or record a song with me. Moreover, I am grateful for the solid management team who work hard to maintain the network and my bookings.”
Also remaining abreast, Ashanty has planned many things in a hopeful outlook for a better 2022. “There are many things I would like to do, such as doing another song collaboration, perhaps with my husband or exploring another genre. I would also be a grandmum next year, a busy one who will be opening another business.” Under her line Ashanty ID, she already has eight different products, ranging from body care to cosmetics, all made in Indonesia. On the other hand, family is her top priority as well. “Since I did not spend much time with mine when I was growing up, I decided to be the glue to my family today, hoping that my kids would grow with both parents by their side always,” she said. “Thus, for me, success is about balancing our lives and doing the best, be it in the family or workplace.”
As for Eka, he has been quite busy in the studio preparing for new releases in 2022. “My goal is to be even more productive, especially under my name, instead of making them for other artists.” Under EGP Productions, Eka often works with traditional Indonesian artists and even has the Ethnic Team as a band with musicians from different regions. Its first performance started with a bang at the recent G20’s First Finance and Central Bank Deputy meeting in Bali. “When it comes to incorporating traditional Indonesian music elements into my works, I chose those that sound exotic and fitting,” he said. “Next up is some instruments from the Batak culture, namely some flutes and the taganing percussions.”
One could only be excited to hear the results, looking at Eka’s work with his group, Weird Genius, that garnered 120mil views within the past year for the Lathi song. Despite all these successes, the eventual goal for Titi, Ashanty and Eka was to share stories and messages through songs. “Try to create what you thought would be the best work, and there would be an audience of the same frequency to appreciate it,” Eka said. With Superwoman, indeed, the message of empowerment and inspiration has reached the hearts of their fans—and will only grow even more.
This story appears in the January 2022 issue of Tatler Indonesia. Read our e-magazine and their full story here.