Grateful for Everything: Raisa Andriana talks with Prestige about her solo concert’s cancellation, her thoughts about perfectionism and her hopes for her daughter
Since we’re only a couple of months into 2021, it was only natural then, that our conversation with Indonesian singer Raisa Andriana – famously known by her mononym Raisa – began with a straightforward typical year in review question on what she thought about the year 2020. “Oh, wow … where do I even begin?” she says with a smile. “With a lot of challenges as well as blessings at the same time, it was really unpredictable. It was a year that taught all of us on how not to be selfish. 2020 drove me closer to my family, my support system, it helped me get to know myself better, and probably made me think about life and art in a different way. And I’m grateful for all of that.”
Before we continue, perhaps we’d best begin this story with a short recap. 2020 was supposed to be a good year for Raisa. At first, just like everybody else, she welcomed it with plans, hopes and dreams. One of them, in particular, was a solo concert that was initially scheduled to be held on June 27 at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta. Titled “Raisa Live in Concert 2020,” it was aimed at celebrating the 10th anniversary of Raisa’s first single, “Serba Salah.”
Moreover, it would also mark the first time an Indonesian female singer performed a solo concert in the stadium. The concert was first announced back in November 2019, and 10,000 tickets were sold within 14 hours. The rest of the tickets across various categories were sold out within the next couple of hours.
But, as with so many great things that were supposed to happen in 2020, the concert came face to face with the realities of the pandemic. At first, it was postponed from June to November 28. Raisa also mentioned that her team had actually planned various possible scenarios to hold the concert during the pandemic, which included physical distancing arrangements, among many other things. However, after fully taking into account the safety and health of everyone involved in the concert, including the concert-goers, it was then canceled altogether. Raisa then posted a video on her Instagram account, announcing the news and offering her apologies to her fans.
“From the time we changed the schedule from June to November, and then to postponing it to an undetermined time, the disappointment gradually wore off,” Raisa shares. “At the time, I just didn’t want to push too far, because it’s not only about the concert. One thing I learned from the pandemic is the importance of prioritizing other people’s needs over personal interests. So, we prioritized the safety and health of everyone is involved in the concert, my team and the fans.
“Of course, I’m sad. We already prepared everything for more than one and a half years. Preparations were already more than half done. But, then again, if we somehow forced our way to do it at the time, I think it would be chaotic. So, I’m just thinking that maybe I’ve got some extra time to prepare now. And maybe later, when my new album is out – which is something I’m currently preparing for – there will be some new songs to perform at the concert as well.”
Speaking of which, despite being held back by the pandemic, Raisa has also started working on a new album. She notes how it’s actually very important for her to always look for new challenges, in order to keep growing each and every day. “For me, when I’m back at the studio and creating new songs again for the new album, I’m trying more and more to be a perfectionist,” she passionately explains. “I mean, I’m not trying to compete with anyone in the music industry, I’m competing with myself to be the best. Even though it’s my umpteenth recording session, I’m still looking for new experiences; I’m always looking for a new way to create something in my new songs.
One thing I learned from the pandemic is the importance to prioritize other people’s needs over personal interests
“Sometimes, I feel like being a perfectionist makes trying to meet my goals ever more challenging. Like, for this new album, I’m comparing it to my previous album ‘Handmade,’ and made notes here and there. I don’t want to repeat the same vibes, or tones, that I think I already achieved in my previous songs. There was a time when I finished my recording session for a certain song, and I heard it over and over again in my car, and I would then feel that it’s not perfect and I’m not satisfied. I would request my team to do another recording session the next day. And it’s safe to say that I’m happy with the results from those new sessions that I took.”
Preparations for a new album is not the only update in Raisa’s story. She is also set to release two new projects at the first and second weeks of March. “First of all, I’ve got an offer from Disney to sing the original soundtrack of Disney’s Raya And the Last Dragon,” she opens up. “Raya is basically the first Southeast Asian Disney Princess, and for this original soundtrack, I collaborated with several Southeast Asian rappers. The following week, my latest single, which is titled ‘Ragu,’ will be released. I wrote this song back in 2016, and I can’t wait for singing this song in front of you guys.”
Our conversation then turned to the way artists performed these days and that she truly misses interacting with a live audience. “For me, nothing can replace that kind of synergy with the audience,” she quips. “The energy that we got from them – it’s unbelievable. I miss those moments. It doesn’t feel the same without an audience.
“The last time I was on air in a television station, I felt like Dora the Explorer,” Raisa says with a laugh. “I tried to be my usual self when performing, and asking the audience questions such as ‘How are you, guys?’ but they stayed silent. It instantly felt awkward as I tried pretending to have a big audience when there’s really nobody there. So, thanks to the pandemic, I will need to learn and adapt to talking in front of a camera with no audience in front of me, just like a vlogger.”
One thing for sure, amid all the challenges and obstacles, the singer also found quite a few silver linings amid the sombre days. For one, she shares that the free time she has now allowed her to spend more time with her family and her two-year-old daughter Zalina Raine Wyllie. “She keeps me busy and happy at the same time, as if there is nothing as gloomy like a pandemic outside,” Raisa happily explains. “We try to keep the atmosphere inside of the house always happy with songs like ‘Baby Shark’ and the ones from Moana.”
Raisa continues: “Zalina has been our greatest blessing for the past two years. Even though the past year has been hard for everyone, our little family is grateful to be able to go through all of this in each other’s company. That’s why, on Zalina’s second birthday, we would like to invite you guys, friends and relatives, to give gifts – not for Zalina, but for many other children who are not as lucky as her. A donation of any amount can be forwarded through the Kita Bisa platform, in the form of Learning Gifts containing activity books, colouring supplies like crayons, and toys. All of them will go towards helping other children during these difficult times, so that they can study at home with more enthusiasm.”
As our chat came to a close, Raisa expresses her hopes and dreams for her daughter Zalina: “I really hope that she can be anything that she wants. I want her to explore her dreams and I hope that she can fail comfortably. For me, if our children are not allowed to make mistakes, it will be a missed opportunity for them to learn. I hope to be a parent who can protect her and I also hope she will become a woman who has strong principles. So that wherever she is, she will stick to it, because that’s the most important thing. The most important thing is within ourselves, not our surroundings, in the sense that even if our surroundings are bad, we can still be good people, no matter what.”
Even though the past year has been hard for everyone, our little family is grateful to be able to go through all of this in each other’s company
CREATIVE DIRECTOR BRAD HOMES / PHOTOGRAPHER INDRA LEONARDI / STYLING PETER ZEWET / MAKE UP BUBAH ALFIAN / HAIR RANGGA YUSUF / STYLING ASSISTANT LINTANG HUTAMI