Show­biz Sim­ply her best

Why In­done­sian singer-song­writer Ang­gun is her own big­gest critic.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Living - By ANGELIN YEOH entertainment@thes­

AS one of the judges on Asia’s Got Tal­ent, it’s not easy for Ang­gun to say no to a hope­ful yet un­qual­i­fied con­tes­tant.

“Some con­tes­tants have prob­a­bly re­ceived so much en­cour­age­ment from their fam­ily mem­bers. They have dreams to turn their tal­ent into a pro­fes­sional ca­reer but they can’t... It’s re­ally hard to be the one to break the re­al­ity to them,” Ang­gun, 43, said in a phone in­ter­view from Sin­ga­pore.

In­done­sian singer­song­writer Ang­gun along with mu­sic pro­ducer David Fos­ter and Korean rap­per Jay Park make up the judg­ing panel for Asia’s Got Tal­ent. Now in its se­cond sea­son, Ang­gun be­lieves she and her fel­low judges have some­how learned to mas­ter the art of hand­ing out re­jec­tion. The key is to be kind.

“We try not to hurt them of course. When we have to say no, we try to be gen­tle,” she said.

It only gets harder when a con­tes­tant doesn’t take no for an an­swer.

“They are so con­vinced that they have tal­ent and it just makes things com­pli­cated,” she con­tin­ued.

Ang­gun’s singing ca­reer be­gan in 1986 when she re­leased her de­but al­bum Du­nia Aku Punya at 12 years old. By the time she turned 20, the Jakarta­born songstress has al­ready sold four mil­lion al­bums in In­done­sia and even es­tab­lished her own record com­pany. In 1994, she sold the com­pany and left In­done­sia to start a mu­sic ca­reer in Europe.

She was re­jected by a num­ber of la­bels and strug­gled to find her foot­ing be­fore achiev­ing in­ter­na­tional suc­cess in 1997 with the hit sin­gle Snow On The Sa­hara.

If any­thing, Ang­gun would ar­gue that re­jec­tion doesn’t mean it’s the end for a per­son’s hopes and dreams. For some, it could mean get­ting a chance to start over with a new­found per­spec­tive.

“When I got re­jected, I ap­pre­ci­ate it when they (the la­bels) told me why.Ihavetofind­outwhoIwas first,” she re­called.

It made sense that Ang­gun would also be her own big­gest critic. She is about to re­lease her new al­bum, her first since the French­lan­guage Tou­jours un ailleurs which came out in 2015. Ang­gun ad­mits that she has kept fans wait­ing be­cause she wants to put out the best.

“I would never do some­thing that I’m not happy with and I have to be 100% sure about it. Plus, I’m ac­tu­ally my big­gest critic. When I write songs, I tend to throw away a lot of what I’ve done. Some­times, I re­write. Then I’ll re­visit my work, throw it away just to start again,” she ex­plained.

Ang­gun added: “I don’t want to write songs that are use­less. Songs have to change some­thing, to in­spire peo­ple or move them. With that in mind, it al­ways takes time for me to be happy with what I’ve done.”

Some of the things that in­spire her song­writ­ing in­clude movies, books, con­ver­sa­tions with friends and even the smell of warm bread. Be­ing a mother to a nine­year­old daugh­ter liv­ing in France also makes the list.

She also writes about liv­ing in a for­eign land. “The fact that I’m an In­done­sian who has lived in Europe for a long time, but don’t un­der­stand many things about the coun­try. And I will never un­der­stand. These un­fa­mil­iar­i­ties evoke feel­ings, and they are good to write about,” she said.

Ang­gun hints that the up­com­ing al­bum which fea­tures her new sin­gle What We Re­mem­ber will show­case dif­fer­ent sides of her.

“If I have to put into words to describe my al­bum, then it’s pop with grit and some rock,” she said, laugh­ing.

Singer-song­writer Ang­gun is set to re­lease her lat­est al­bum. The In­done­sian star says fans have to wait be­cause she is crit­i­cal of her own work. — Univer­sal Mu­sic

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