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The Jakarta Post
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Band of Sisters

  • Felix Dass


Jakarta | Sun, October 30 2011 | 07:52 am
Band of Sisters

Nine teenage girls united in one band. They aim to conquer the world with their talents. That band’s name is Cherry Belle.

The waves of Korean wannabe vocal groups are now becoming the real deal in the Indonesian music industry, with more than a dozen bands having released singles and probably another dozen on the way.

Courtesy of Catz Records

They all sell the same thing: catchy tunes, good choreography — they dance and sing,
some better than others — and good look.

At some point, it’s a good change, healthy for the industry, but at another point, when they become overrated, only the strong will survive and happily proceed to the next level of their careers. The real
task is how to survive — not just how to steal 15 minutes of fame.

Jakarta-based girl band Cherry Belle, or just ChiBi for short, is one those fi ghting for survival in the harsh industry. The nine girls, all in their early 20s, came with dreams of doing something they liked.

Remembering their names may be a challenge, it’s hard at fi rst to tell who’s who. But after spending some time making small talk, their names — Angel, Anisa, Cherly, Christy, Devi, Felly, Gigi, Ryn and
Wenda — easily sink in. They are all making ChiBi their surname.

“We don’t want to be a one-hit wonder band,” says Gigi ChiBi, the one ChiBi with a masculine air.

In their young age, efforts to avoid one-hit-wonder status come through constant action.

“We were only formed on Feb. 27 this year, so we’re like only a few months old,” says Anisa ChiBi, the only member who is originally from outside Jakarta.

A broadcast message on BlackBerry started the band’s conception.

“We got invitations on BBM [BlackBerry Messenger] that said there was an open audition happening in Kelapa Gading. It turned out that there were around 400 people coming for the audition. Dino
Raturandang — ChiBi’s creator — picked 20 girls and then the last girls standing were
the nine of us,” remembers Cherly ChiBi, the most talkative member of the band.

Lots of tears and smiles have come over the past few months, but it all has helped them see more clearly and stand tall for the bigger picture.

“This is our dream,” says Christy ChiBi. “I decided to put my school aside,” adds Ryn ChiBi, who just finished her high school years.

Wenda ChiBi also faces the same problemwith her college.

“At first, I needed to ask my mom about this. Since she was OK with it, I kept on
doing it. It’s something I wanted for a long time,” she says.

The months of time alone together to create chemistry and a creative atmosphere were tiring, but the bright result has slowly been revealing itself.

“I reckoned the days at that point were even harsher than what we’ve got now. We often finished a training session at around two or three in the morning,” Wenda ChiBi said. “We always wanted to get better at singing, dancing or even putting on a good show on stage. We wanted to improve since
day one.”

Cherly ChiBi said that dealing with each others’ moods is the biggest concern.

“Being in all girls band, especially with nine members, can be tough to deal with,” she said, chuckling.
The wisest member, Devi ChiBi, believes it is impossible to unite nine people without any a few problems.

“It’s all a learning process. This is a band; each member needs to learn to control her ego,” she said.

Stories behind the band are actually typical for a vocal group — a creator formed the ground and controls the band on a daily basis. In ChiBi’s case, it was Dino Raturandang who created the band.
In Dino’s hands, all the members must be equipped with basic talents for singing and dancing, in addition to being good looking.

“We probably have the Asian look that people seek nowadays, but actually, we’re more than that,” Wenda ChiBi said.

With their dreams in hand, the band faces one of the most challenging phases in their career — to jump into stardom safely, considering that their schedules slip by without their control. Events and shows keep popping up.

“If you ask me what we are doing tomorrow, I probably won’t know,” said Felly ChiBi, probably the easiest-going member of the band. “It’s all in the management’s hands. We just wait for their words and go to some place.”

Cherly ChiBi said that each time the band performs they wait for the code from the management.

“Well, we only have fi ve songs. If we need to sing more songs, then we’ll do cover versions,” she said.

For a band with an album of only five songs, their schedule is quite full, both on and off the air, which is an extraordinary situation.

“We once had three shows in a day in Jakarta and Bandung. It’s pretty tiring,” Devi ChiBi said.

ChiBi’s debut album, Love is You, was released in August 2011. Apart from their regular CD, they also released a special deluxe edition CD, which cost Rp 199,000 (US$22.50) — very expensive compared to other CDs.

It also makes them a bit different from other bands in the same movement, as most of them have not released a CD and rely on digital singles.

“We’re happy that we’re finally there, seeing our album in stores, especially when we heard that the repeat order came not too long after the CD’s release,” Cherly ChiBi said.

Gigi ChiBi said that, at fi rst, hearing their voices on the radio was surreal.

“But then, when we saw the CD, we were very happy and proud of what we had done.”

For each member of ChiBi, the year 2011 has treated them well in terms of achievement, with many things happening along the way, and most being interpreted as success stories.

“We want to have a long and prosperous career,” Gigi ChiBi said.

One good thing about these girls is that they can deal with the negative noise coming from their naysayers, calling them copycats of Korean girl bands.

“We’re really not vulnerable to issues like that. If someone attacks us on Twitter, we just laugh and don’t care,” Felly ChiBi said.

They also handle competitions with similar bands in stride.

“With other bands, we make friends. Some even chat regularly with us on BBM,” Cherly ChiBi said.

“We don’t want a competition. That’s the beginning of a downfall. We should avoid that,” Christy ChiBi added.

At the very least, these girls know what they are doing. Let’s just hope what Gigi ChiBi said earlier comes true — that they’re not just a one-hit wonder band.


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