The Jakarta Post
Maudy Ayunda said she almost never made it to the University of Oxford because she listened to discouraging advice. (JP/Wienda Parwitasari)
A degree from one of the world’s most prestigious universities under her belt, movie roles, music, as well as being a beauty ambassador and a spokesperson for social movements, it seems nothing can stop Maudy Ayunda.
During a recent interview with The Jakarta Post, however, the 22-year-old singer shared one of the biggest setbacks she experienced that almost made her give up on her dream. Maudy said she almost never made it to the University of Oxford because she listened to discouraging advice.
Her busy schedule as a singer and actress during her senior year in high school was met with a caution from her headmaster, who discouraged her from applying to the leading UK university.
"In my last year of high school, I gave up on my dream," Maudy said. She did not apply to Oxford at the time.
Despite maintaining good grades that kept her on track, her headmaster was not convinced she would be among the few students from her high school to be accepted by the university.
"Listening to that and kind of negativity and succumbing to the pressure, I would say was a huge setback because I just allowed people to tell me what I couldn't achieve," Maudy said.
Nevertheless, the academically driven Maudy applied to Ivy League schools in the US, where she was accepted into Columbia University. After having committed to attend the school in New York, Maudy decided to postpone her studies for a year to remain in Jakarta and pursue her career in the entertainment industry.
It was only during this time, after having graduated high school, Maudy gathered the courage to apply to her dream university.
Fast forward to a few years later, the singer-songwriter in 2016 graduated with a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford and still maintains her career as a performer.
Twenty-two-year-old Maudy Ayunda is set to release a new album. (JP/Wienda Parwitasari)
She has come into her own and her newfound confidence, she said, is reflected in her upcoming album. Maudy took the driver's seat in her newest album and for the first time put on the producer's helmet.
"This time I actually had to trust my own instincts and find my own confidence in declaring that this is what I want to sound like," Maudy said.
A single titled "Kutunggu Kabarmu" (I'm waiting to hear from you) was released in October and hints to a new, more upbeat sound from the young singer.
There is still a lot of mystery surrounding the album, as Maudy is keeping silent about the release date, only saying it would be out either at end of 2017 or early next year.
The singer did reveal that half of the 11 tracks in the album are in English. Two of the songs, she said, were a collaboration with two male Indonesian singers.
"This is definitely more authentic compared to my last two albums, but authenticity changes all the time," she pondered, staying true to her philosophical background.
Putting into practice what she studied, Maudy said she is also set to release a book that would be written in English. She only described it as, "a little philosophical but also biographical".
In the book, she said, she shares her story, overcoming setbacks, as well as her perspectives on various issues she's passionate about, including education and female empowerment.
She said she wants to use her platform as a public figure wisely and "exude positivity".
Maudy said her parents encouraged her to do unconventional things, which has instilled confidence in her choices to juggle education and various projects at the same time. The Jakarta-based singer-slash-actress aims at doing more in the future, as she is also seeking more acting roles, as well as a Master's degree.
"I think the biggest lesson is probably from my mom. She always underlines the importance of being balanced," Maudy said. (asw)
Paragraph one in this article has been corrected.