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Amid the sea of talent in the country, musician and singer Harvey Malaihollo is a graceful survivor.
He has entertained both local audiences and fans in neighboring countries with his heavenly voice and love songs for more than three decades.
Born as Harvey Benjamin Malaihollo in Jakarta 50 years ago, the balladeer started his singing career in the 1970s. At that time, Harvey, who was raised by his music-loving parents, Daniel Benjamin Malaihollo and Maudy Titaley, shared the stage with Indonesian stars like the late Broery Marantika, Mergie Segers and Trio Bimbo.
In the 1980s, Harvey’s hard work and patience earned him solid star status in the industry, especially after winning national pop song festival “Bintang Radio and TV”.
Since then, Harvey has produced 12 solo albums and 10 duet records. His most recent release was a compilation solo record Reflections of Harvey Malaihollo: Greatest Hits 1987-2007. Harvey has won various national and international song festivals, bringing home the Kawakami Special Award in the 13th World Popular Song Festival in Tokyo in 1982 with “Lady”, written by Anton Issoedibyo.
Amid his laudable achievements, Harvey is still known as macan festival, or the festival tiger, for his deep involvement in local and international song festivals.
“And now I’m here — feeling very grateful, blessed and humbled to mark my 35 years in music, and having the chance to hold another concert,” Harvey told a press conference ahead of his upcoming concert “Harvey Malaihollo’s 35 Years in Music – Stay With Me” at the Jakarta Convention Center, set for Sept. 27.
Harvey intends to treat the upcoming concert as a memorable birthday bash, so he can share the moment with loved ones and long-time fans.
“In my forthcoming concert, I’m going to stay close and intimate with those who come. This is in appreciation of those who have supported me so far, and because it’s also my birthday party. So, I want to sing along with them and share a great nostalgic moment with all,” added Harvey.
Harvey admitted that he was no longer the darling of the current industry, adding that he must stay up and running to remain in Indonesian music.
For that reason, Harvey has invited young performers to join him in the Sept. 27 concert in order to attract a young generation to his work.
“Besides having [the country’s senior singer] Bob Tutupoly and Sheila Majid, we will also feature artists like Mikha Tambayong, Mike Mohede and SM*SH boys as guest stars,” said Harvey, who featured Malaysian Majid on his “Begitulah Cinta” (That’s Love) single in 2000.
Standing against the current trend of heavily Korean-influenced pop bands, Harvey said that he didn’t have the heart to be under the spotlight alone. So, he has done his best to keep names like the late Broery, Bob and Titik Puspa on the radar of Indonesian listeners by singing their songs during his on-air and off-air events.
“We have great singers who don’t get the chance to do things like I do. Thank God, I still get invitations to sing in cities nationwide and even overseas. I also get opportunities to hold concerts, and even release singles.
“This is the luxury that some of my friends don’t get, and I feel responsible to help raise their profiles so that the new generation recognizes them and their great work,” shared Harvey.
The greatness of international stars like Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Nat King Cole continues to inspire Harvey to keep on supporting Indonesia’s singing legends.
“Sinatra, Bennett and Nat King Cole are still relevant now. They have a huge amount of support from the young generation,” he said, “I’d love to do the same.”
Harvey openly blamed an overly profit-oriented music industry, for having passed over the country’s senior singers.
“I understand that the industry needs to make a profit, but is it hard for them to take care of five senior artists per record label, for example, and give them chance to produce an album?
“For most true artists, it’s not just about the money — having their work in record stores is a priceless thing.
“Those senior singers are great artists who can definitely sing and still have solid fans. I believe many of us are still willing to buy senior artists’ records,” Harvey said.
Harvey, who will make his debut as a producer as he distributes his upcoming single, “Adilkah” (Is It Fair), said that he would continue to produce music as long as it came from his heart.
“I always try to be honest in all of my work. I also keep reminding my younger fellow singers to create a great and pure work of art to become respectable artists, and good art must come from the heart. If it comes from a clean heart, it will be great art.”
— Photo by Niken Prathivi