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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Indonesian Rising Star GANGGA Talks It’s Never Easy, TikTok And His Indonesian Heritage

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Indonesian Rising Star GANGGA Talks It’s Never Easy, TikTok And His Indonesian Heritage

Are you looking for a new obsession in your life? Then stop looking because we got the brilliant Indonesian singer-songwriter Gangga for you right here! He just dropped his debut EP, It’s Never Easy, and it was absolutely worth the wait. The young singer was born in Surabaya, Indonesia, where he lived and grew up until he moved to Jakarta to pursue further his dreams of becoming a singer.

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At the young age of 15, Gangga started to compose music which led to him singing in a school band by 2015, and the rest is history. Now, he is making numbers when it comes to streams of his songs. His hard work is paying off as he was the only Indonesian artist to be invited to TikTok’s Music Night Asia. Gangga is only 23 years old, and he is already making history! King!

Image Source: Giphy

On the high of his debut album release, we got to talk with this talented singer-songwriter, so don’t go anywhere and keep scrolling through our exclusive chat with the artist!

First of all, congratulations on the release of your debut album, It’s Never Easy! How does it feel for the project to be finally out in the world? What have the fan reactions been like?
I feel relieved after releasing my debut album It’s Never Easy. I feel proud of myself and proud of my team who worked on this album together with me. For the fans’ reaction, so far, they’re loving the album, there are also people who criticize this album but overall, I feel relieved and proud of myself.   

You love to be heavily involved in the making of your music, as in you predominately wrote the lyrics for your debut album yourself. Where does your inspiration come from? What do you do when you are stuck on a certain line?
My inspiration for this album is honestly my own personal story. I write what I feel, and I wrote songs about my personal experiences. So I poured my heart into this album. When I’m stuck on a certain line, I try to remember my personal experiences, my past and listen to sad songs. Usually, it’ll help me a lot. 

Songs usually tell stories, and you have a wonderful way to describe your feelings in a very intimate way. If you could choose one of your songs to be made into a full feature movie. Which one would it be?
It’s hard to pick one of my songs because they have their own character. But if I have to choose, then I’ll choose ‘Blue Jeans!’ 

You have proven your songwriting skills with your debut album yet again. Have you ever played with the idea of writing songs for other people? Who do you think would suit one of your songs best?
I always imagine writing songs for other people or other musicians. But right now, I haven’t found the perfect match for that, so I don’t know who would suit one of my songs the best.

As an artist from Indonesia, what do you want to take from your home country to the world? What’s something that would surprise people to find out about Indonesia?
From Indonesia, of course, I want people around the world to realize that there’s a lot of good musicians here. I want people to know that Indonesia’s music genres are very wide, and I want people to listen to minimalist music like mine. 

‘Blue Jeans’ has slowly but surely become your breakthrough hit. We had a peak at videos on TikTok using the sound. How do you feel about your song being used as a trend? What was it like seeing more and more people using it in their TikToks?
I still think that it’s an unreal experience, but I always think that the universe has its own unique way to introduce my songs to the world, as for this case for TikTok. Seeing more and more people using it in their TikToks really makes me happy and motivates me to create new songs and contribute more to the Indonesian music scene. 

You are very good at mixing your songs with r&b, jazz, and pop elements. What is a genre you’d love to try? Could we ever expect a rock version of one of your songs?
I always love to try different genres. Before making my own music, I used to cover rock songs. I want to discover and try to make music with different genres, but we’ll see. 🙂

All of your songs so far are you, your amazing smooth vocals, the music, and your brilliant lyrics. What would a collaboration with Gangga look like? Do you have any dream collabs?
Because I love minimalist songs, I love songs about heartbreak and sad songs, I really want to collabs with Niki Zefanya because I really like her music & her lyrics.

You were the only Indonesian artist to be invited to TikTok’s Music Night Asia. What was that experience like? Did you gain any experiences from it that will help you in the future?
I didn’t imagine I’d be singing in TikTok’s Music Night Asia, representing Indonesia along with other musicians from Asia. It felt really great & I learned a lot from other musicians there.

Coming from Indonesia, how do you think your culture influences your approach to your music? Any traditional Indonesian elements you’d like to try to include in your music?
Maybe because Indonesian pop songs are dominated by sad songs, it influences me to write such songs as well. I really want to try traditional Indonesian percussion for a musical instrument on my next songs, but I haven’t figured out when will I try to start making that kind of song. 

You have a song called ‘Journey on September,’ since September 2021 recently passed. What was your journey like in September?
I don’t know why but my September is always hard from year to year. I wrote it based on my personal experiences, and I feel like I always face some obstacles such as personal problems, including heartbreak.

Since you learned to play the guitar at a very young age, do you still own the guitar you learned on? Do you name your guitars?
I had my very first guitar when I was in elementary school, and it was years ago. Before coming to Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia, I lived in Surabaya, and I left my guitar there in my hometown. I haven’t named my guitars but probably will, thanks for the suggestion haha.

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Starting a career during a pandemic is hard as it is, but you have been doing it amazingly. What has your journey been like so far? What would you tell Gangga from 2019?
I often feel blessed with my musical journey. I never thought I’d be in this position right now. I want to say to 2019 Gangga that you shouldn’t give up on music and you should work as hard as you can. Because in 2019, there was a time that I doubted myself that I couldn’t survive in the music industry. 

Your first debut single, ‘Don’t’ came out in 2019 and we are now in the year 2021. Has your view on music changed since then? How has Gangga changed from ‘Don’t’ to ‘This Love Will Never End?’
My view of music never changes from years ago until now. I always feel like music is an escape for me. I can tell all my worries through music, I can pour all my heart out through music. I feel like Gangga from ‘Don’t’ and Gangga from ‘This Love Will Never End’ have changed. I feel like I’m more mature now, there’s a lot of things I learned, and from the musical side, I feel like I’m more accustomed to writing songs and making music than before. 

We are huge music lovers here at THP and always enjoy new music, that’s what was so refreshing about finding your music for us. Do you have any musical recommendations for us from Indonesia? Which songs are on your heavy rotation lately?
My No. 1 musical recommendation from Indonesia is obviously Niki Zefaya, she’s one of my top 5 singers! And you should try to listen to Tulus because his songs are very simple yet magical for me hahahaha. My heavy rotation songs are all songs from Frank Ocean.

Noted Gangga, we love all the recommendations and can’t wait to check out more artists from Indonesia! It’s Never Easy is really a well-made debut EP and we can only recommend you check it out here. What do you think about It’s Never Easy? What’s your favorite Gangga song? Let us know on Twitter @TheHoneyPOP or by commenting below! You can also find us on Instagram and Facebook.

Craving more sweet interviews? We’ve got what you need! 


Featured Image Source: Gangga via Instaram, Edited by: Momodou Sonko – THP Graphic Design Team

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