The Jakarta Post
Posting video clips on YouTube might be a new way to cruise to instant stardom, but newcomer Raisa Andriana took the classic path to enter the music industry.
She is a familiar face on YouTube. Her official channel has several videos she has uploaded since 2008. She has sung a number of covers of songs of various singers, including US R&B musicians Brian McKnight, John Legend and Whitney Huston.
Some of the songs, she said, were uploaded as requested by her friends.
“People thought that I was someone who was found after performing on YouTube, but no, I was not suddenly found,” she said.
The 21-year-old girl said she started singing with a band during her senior high school years when she was 16 years old.
Raisa said she often hung out with Asta Andoko, a guitarist from RAN band long before they became famous. The friendship grew into a partnership when Asta offered Raisa a chance to go to the next level: making an album.
“I still sang with my band after RAN released their album. In 2009, I met Asta again and he wondered why I hadn’t made an album. He said, ‘Do you want me to make you an album?’” Raisa said, recounting the day when the door to the music industry opened wider to her.
She attributed credit to radio stations, which allowed her voice heard by a wide range of music listeners.
Her first single, “Serba Salah”, was launched by a number of radio stations across the country in 2010, raising curiosity among listeners as to the singer of the song.
“People started asking, ‘Who is the singer?’ But we could not afford to make a video clip yet,” she said.
The idea of posting a video clip to YouTube came to the rescue.
Raisa said a video clip featuring an acoustic version of the song that was made in Asta’s bedroom. It has had 120,000 hits since it was first uploaded.
Early this year, she finally launched her debut album under the Universal Music Indonesia label with the help of Asta, Ramadhan Handy and Adrianto Ario Seto from Soulvibe band.
Performing on a big stage before huge audiences is no longer a distant dream.
Raisa got a chance to perform in three big festivals – Java Jazz, LA Lights Indiefest and Java Soulnation — this year. Most people knew her songs when sang at the recent Java Soulnation Festival 2011.
Her soulful voice filled the air as she sang “Serba Salah” ( All wrong ) and “Apalah Arti Menunggu” ( What’s the waiting for ). The audience sang loudly along with her. She also sang Brian McKnight’s “Back to One” wholeheartedly.
During the performance, Raisa fulfilled a promise she made earlier on Twitter and Facebook to give an exclusive preview on her latest video clip, “Apalah Arti Menunggu”. It was her second video clip after the launch of her debut single video clip. Both video clips along with some others are available for viewing on her YouTube channel, Raisa6690.
“I am very nervous, you know, not knowing whether you will like it,” she told the audience, adding that the song talks about a girl who finally gives up after waiting in vain for the love of a man.
Raisa delivered a lively performance in the festival. Wearing a green mini-dress accentuated with a black belt and an elbow-length glittery blazer, she enthusiastically made small jumps on her high heels when feeling excited.
The audience was excited every time she showed off her high voice, which sounds nice and friendly to the ears when she hits the right keys.
She did not only entertain the audience with her singing performance, but also interacted with them with her cheerful and chatty manner.
She told them Asta taught her to get the confidence to create songs and she wanted to share the skill with them.
“There is one thing required to make a song: inspiration,” she said, adding that performing in front of such huge audience had inspired her a lot.
She asked the audience to throw four random words to her and she – for the first time in her stage life – played a keyboard and directly sang a completely new song. There was no doubt that she really enjoyed the gig that evening.
After the performance was over, she admitted that she and her band member were a bit nervous before they got to the stage because they only had a few rehearsals.
“Behind the stage, I always told band that we would have fun and do our best to get across our message to the audience,” she said.
Raisa said her penchant in music appeared when she was a 3-year-old toddler.
“I was born in 1990, the time when Disney became very popular here. My mother said I sang Disney songs and my favorite one was ‘A Whole New World’ in Aladdin,” she said.
Ambitious mothers today may rush to singing competitions or courses when they recognize their children’s talent, but Raisa said her mother was not a kind of person who pushed her to join contests.
She said she was the one who figured out her passion in singing and decided to pursue the dream.
“My family just let me flow. In making the album, I took care of everything on my own, including meeting with the producer.
“I only told my mother when the process was about to begin. She was surprised, but very much supported me,” she said.
She might have fallen in love with music since she was little, but music is not her only passion in life.
The student at Bina Nusantara University who takes marketing as her major also has an interest in interior design.
“I have many dreams, but singing has always been one of them. I study marketing to get communication and advertising skills, which are interesting to me because I am a talkative person,” she said.
Raisa wrote seven of the 10 songs on her first album and hopes to write all the songs on her next album. She refused to mention her favorite song on the first album, saying that all of them were her babies.
Although her first album is comprised of pop songs, she said she was very much influenced by the R&B genre. Her list of favorite local soloists includes Afgan Syah Reza, Marcell Siahaan and Dira Sugandi, but her number one favorite international artist is – as you may have guessed – Brian McKnight.
Collaborating with musicians from various genres will not be a problem for her, Raisa said.
“I love singing and want to sing, so if I get a chance to do it, I will take the chance and sing the song with my style,” she said.
Raisa said her next focus will be taking a vocal course to polish her technique and giving more attention to her skill in song writing.
“When I made my first album, I only wanted to sing and nothing else, but now I want to have a balance in singing and song writing. I want to write many songs that reflect me.”