The whole nation has proudly watched Anggun Cipta Sasmi blossom from a young girl in her signature beret hats who was one of Indonesia’s prominent rock stars into a sophisticated lady who is also an acclaimed international phenomenon.
HighEnd sat down together with Anggun for a brief one-on-one at Pinewood Iskandar Studios, Johor Bahru, Malaysia, where she was filming the semi-final rounds of Asia’s Got Talent late last year. The talented singer is evidently excited to be back as one of the judges of the show’s third season, along with David Foster and Jay Park. Anggun admits that what she looks forward to the most in the hit talent show is the element of surprise the contestants send out to the judges. “I personally want to be blown away and to be touched by a performance. It could be anything! What I like about Asia’s Got Talent is that it’s not just singers or magicians. You know, my golden buzzer this year is a dance act. It’s because they really touched me in some level,” she stated.
Surely this particular role as a mentor has been giving her some kind of satisfaction, or else she would have stopped doing it a long time ago. Decades of living and breathing the entertainment industry have undoubtedly supplied Anggun with unlimited knowledge and wisdom to impart to newcomers hoping to make it big. “I guess what really moves me to the core is that I get to be a witness to someone’s life being changed for the better. For instance, the first time I saw (The Sacred) Riana, I never thought this person would become a major fixture in Indonesia’s entertainment scene. I’d like to think it was our immediate reaction as judges to her act, especially the first time she performed for us, that helped shape the viewers’ opinion of her,” Anggun reminisced fondly.
Working primarily outside of her home country since the mid ‘90s, Anggun has long been dubbed as the first Indonesian musician who succeeded in ‘going international.’ Funnily enough, she doesn’t really consider that achievement as something noteworthy, especially lately. “I’ve seen a growing number of ambitious people who keep saying that they want to go international, so to speak. The thing is, everybody can go international nowadays. With these online tools, you can just post something on YouTube and have people from all over the world watch your video. Back in my days, it was much harder than this.”
“We often get caught in this little phenomenon that is short-lived. I want to be long-lasting. I don’t want to be perceived as someone who is trendy, I’d rather be someone that is classic,” she mulled over, realizing that at the moment people tend to desire things that are instant, without taking account of the process. “I’m quite lucky I began my career long before the internet became big, before ‘streaming’ culture developed, when musical albums are still distributed organically in their physical form. Can you imagine the competition newcomers have to go through now to have a place in the market?” wondered Anggun.
“I discuss this very issue with David time and again. What would be the barometer of success should we release a new album? Is it through online streaming? Let’s say a singer has a really good music material and a loyal following, but not the streaming kind. Does that mean they are less successful than new artists who are lucratively grabbing the digital market? Time has undeniably changed, but I still think there are still people out there who yearn for music. Music… is important.”
Outside the music realm, Anggun busies herself with the written word, revealing that she has composed several essays for a literature platform. “I’m in love with writing! I really wish Indonesian people would have more eagerness to read, though. It should be a culture, because reading a book or an article teaches people to be more patient, since in order to have an opinion they have to finish reading, right?”
2018 has been incredibly generous to the Javanese beauty who started 2019 by touring Italy for a series of concerts. She wowed the crowd with her stunning voice at the opening ceremony of 2018 Asian Games which was held in Jakarta. Two of her songs from her latest album entered the Billboard Dance charts. The happiest blessing of all, tying the knot with the man of her dreams, Christian Kretschmar.
Asia’s Got Talent Season 3 will premiere on Thursday, 7th of February 2019, at 7:30 PM only on AXN Asia.
PHOTOS Courtesy of AXN Asia