Culture, Interviews, Pop — August 20, 2013 at 2:45 pm

An Intimate Interview with Afgan


The story of the musician discovered on YouTube has exploded and launched many fairytale music careers in the past decade. But it is more recently that the once-unconventional portal for finding new musical talent has since become the norm. In today’s hustle to strive for immediate fame, how does an aspiring young singer obtain a stand-out story of discovery amongst fellow starry-eyed hopefuls?

Afgansyah Reza had no intention of making it big but was blessed with one of those ‘right place at the right time’ scenarios. Casually singing karaoke with friends, he was spotted and soon picked up by a record label. Contrary to the 15-minute buzz that surrounds viral videos, this was only the beginning of Afgan’s story. The buzz has continued on for two albums and has advanced into an acting career, both of which have been acknowledged with dozens of awards and nominations.

Afgan joins us for an intimate interview and opens up about earning his successes and whether his career was really handed to him on a silver plate.

Afgan for Telkomsel / Mojopia © Naya Nurindra.

Afgan for Telkomsel / Mojopia © Naya Nurindra


How does it feel to have your fans watch you grow up in the public eye?

It feels like they’ve known me over the years and they’ve come to realise that I have grown up alongside them. I have become this more mature person and it feels like they are my friends. To have them watch me grow up in the public eye makes me even closer with my fans. They know me very well and I also know what they want in terms of my music. I have a very close relationship with my fans and it’s because they were able to watch me grow up.


Very few artists have achieved the amount of success you have in your career and you have managed to do it in such a short time. What goals have you set yourself from here?

I’m very fortunate to have able to achieve what I have right now. I have made a lot of sacrifices to get here. After I finish university, the next goal would be to continue making music and albums. My biggest goal is to have a big concert not only in Jakarta but probably in Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei too. That is one of my dreams. I also hope someday that I will be able collaborate with other musicians that come from other countries, so that people will know that Indonesia has a variety of great musicians.


Do you ever feel undeserving of your success, having not experienced the ‘struggle’ of an independent artist?

Earlier on in my career I started on an independent label;I was not found by a major label. Basically I had to struggle from the beginning. Nobody knew who my label was and of course that made it harder for a new artist to break into the industry. I was considered an independent artist back then. I feel like I have earned the success that I have right now.


You were discovered when recording a karaoke CD. What’s your go-to karaoke song?

My go-to karaoke song has always been John Legend’s “Ordinary People”. That is the reason why my producers back then realized that they want to produce me and sign me on their label because I sang that song.


What was it like making the transition from musician to actor?

It’s hard because when you do something for a very long time you get comfortable and you start to do things your own way. And when I first decided to be an actor, it was kind of difficult because you can’t be yourself. The movement, the way you talk, everything must change and it’s a little bit harder than singing. It takes a lot more time. Shooting takes time and it takes months to finish a movie. I guess it’s a whole different world and I enjoy both.


What can we look forward from you for the remainder of the year?

There’s going to be new singles from me. I’m going to launch a couple more new songs and after that I’m working on my fourth studio album and I’m developing the plan for my concert here in Jakarta. I just wanted to make the statement that over the years after the change of label, the university life in Malaysia I have to leave Indonesia for two years, I still be able to make music. So that’s a plan.


Don’t miss Afgan’s upcoming concert “AFGAN: Live To Love” at Esplanade Concert Hall, Singapore on Sunday, September 29 (5pm). Tickets available here, and more information via Raistar Entertainment.


Official Website

Homepage photo Afgan for Telkomsel / Mojopia © Naya Nurindra.