Judika is following the footsteps of Ruth Sahanaya as the 2nd Indonesian artiste to hold a solo concert at the prestigious DFP
by RAHIMI YUNUS
HE CARVED his name in the entertainment industry after becoming a runner-up in Asia Bagus 1998, competing against some of the region’s up-and-coming artistes in the star-search programme.
Two years later, he won Romania’s “Cerbul de Aur” song festival with an acapella group Antero Boys.
However, it was perhaps Indonesian Idol in 2005 that catapulted Judika Nalon Abadi Sihotang (picture) into the spotlight.
Despite only settling for the runner-up position, the reality TV singing competition became the cornerstone of his career.
Judika ended up with a recording contract with Sony Music Entertainment in 2007, which was followed by his first single “Bukan Rayuan Gombal”, that became a hit not only in Indonesia, but Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei as well.
Judika marched on and became a household name in the region and his prowess was again recognised when his song Bukan Dia Tapi Aku clinched the Most Popular Song award at the Anugerah Planet Muzik (APM) in 2012.
The singer who was born in a small town called Sidikalang in North Sumatra, Indonesia continued to conquer the pop world when he bagged two more awards at the APM 2013, for Best Original Film Soundtrack by the song “Cinta Satukan Kita” and the Best Male Vocal with “Aku Yang Tersakiti.”
He has been among the favourites in the prestigious award ceremony dedicated to the Malay Archipelago’s music industry.
And it was at last year’s APM edition where the father of two won big time, clinching four awards in total — the Best Song, Best Male Vocal, Best Indonesian Song for “Jikalau Aku Cinta”, and the Best Duet and Collaboration through “Kisah Ku Inginkan” together with Malaysia’s Datuk Seri Siti Nurhaliza Tarudin.
Judika’s fandom, calling themselves the “Judikaholics”, just can’t get enough of the vocalist’s husky voice and musical versatility.
Apart from his solo career, few may have known that Judika was the lead vocalist of Mahadewa, a band fronted by Ahmad Dhani, until 2014.
The 41-year-old had also starred in five movies — “Si Jago Merah” in 2008, “The Tarix Jabrix 2” (2009), “Crazy Love” (2013), “Air dan Api” (2015) and a cameo in “Toba Dreams” (2015).
These days, we often see Judika on screen as a jury or mentor in singing competitions.
On Astro’s Big Stage 2019, the renowned Indonesian pop star increases the bar higher and higher in each round as a permanent jury alongside Siti Nurhaliza.
To him, talent and skill have proven to be insufficient in becoming a star, where one’s own identity is much needed to stand out and get noticed in this increasingly concentrated industry.
Boasting near-perfect vocal techniques is not enough for a singer, as the audience wants a performer with added value, who can engage and entertain them.
As a product of Indonesian Idol, Judika certainly knows what he’s talking about as he graduates to become the jury for the very same show that made him a star.
Meanwhile, as the second season of Big Stage aired its final stage last Sunday, the sixth of seven children is ready to embark on his next big project.
He is set to prove his mettle in singing yet again. This time, on an orchestral stage.
Judika “Live” with the MPO
Local fans waited over two years for Judika to return to the Malaysian stage.
The singer-cum-actor will be performing with a full orchestra at the Dewan Filharmonik Petronas (DFP) on Oct 19 and Oct 20 — the first time for the award-winning artiste.
“This would be my first time doing a solo concert with a classical orchestra. I thought it would be a challenge to combine pop and rock ballad songs, as well as my rock vocals, with an orchestra. It will be extraordinary,” Judika said in a press conference in Kuala Lumpur recently.
Judika is following the footsteps of Ruth Sahanaya as the second Indonesian artiste to hold a solo concert at the prestigious DFP.
Judika “Live” with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO), brought by DFP and Kelab Sukan dan Rekreasi Petronas, will deliver symphonic renditions of his most popular hits including “Aku Yang Tersakiti,”
“Apakah Ini Cinta” and many others.
“I will be doing a few rehearsals in October as I want to give the best to all the fans in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia,” he added.
Under the baton of Ahmad Muriz Che Rose, the concerts will feature the first Malaysian Idol, Jaclyn Victor, as a guest artiste.
The proceeds of the concert will be channelled to selected charity organisations.
Judika’s Rock Ballad and Orchestra — The Best of Both Worlds
The challenge is on Judika as much as it is on music director Ahmad Muriz.
“How do we marry the two elements — the singer who is so used to his way of singing, with an orchestra. Judika’s songs start with low dynamics and spike towards the end. To match the strength of the orchestra and his vocals is a challenging task to accomplish,” Ahmad Muriz said.
“The live concert will be special,” he added, “if not magical.”
The concert will feature 19 of Judika’s singles and other songs.
Members of the audience will have the chance to listen to Judika’s take on Ruth Sahayana’s “Kaulah Segalanya,” Search’s “Isabella” and Iklim’s “Suci Dalam Debu” in his orchestral debut.
Ahmad Muriz said the music arrangements will be simplified, intact and focused on delivery.
“We do not want to be too adventurous in terms of music arrangement. It needs to be working together with Judika symbiotically. The audience will have a feast of rock ballads from Judika,” he said.
For Judika, he wants to stay true to his element while delivering classy performances in the late César Pelli-designed concert hall.
“I will just be myself. It is just that, at a rock concert, I will be running all over the stage. With an orchestra, perhaps, at most, I will just give gestures and move around a bit,” said the vocalist.
New Folk Songs Album
Judika revealed that he has been working on an album featuring Indonesian folk songs.
He said there will be 10 folk songs of different ethnic groups in Indonesia to be included in the album.
He, who himself came from the Batak ethnicity, recorded his version of folk songs of his own ethnic, Maluku, Java, Minangkabau and few others in the album.
Judika said the album is already at 80% of completion and could be released by early next year. To date, Judika has six solo albums and two compilations under his belt.
Apart from the folk songs album, the singer is also working on new singles.
As it is, his latest single “Cinta Karena Cinta,” which was dropped a few months ago, was already topping the charts in Indonesia.
“This is one of my songs which were quick in becoming a hit.
‘Aku Yang Tersakiti’ took about a year but this song became the No 1 in Billboard Indonesia in less than three months. This is a remake and hence, not a new song.”
“But they feel like they are listening to the new ‘Aku Yang Tersakiti’ through this song,” Judika added.
“Cinta Karena Cinta” is an adaptation from a Mandarin song called “Yin Wei Suo Yi Ai.” Judika had collaborated with several Malaysian artistes in duet songs including Malaysian sweetheart, Siti Nurhaliza.
In the future, he said he wants to work with young singers who are not too technical in vocal, but full of soul.
When asked about tips on how he takes good care of his voice, the answer was simple: “Sleep”.
“If even after a good night’s sleep, my voice is not so good, I usually eat some ‘jeruk nipis’ (plum) with soy sauce and ginger. That is the best remedy.”
After more than 20 years in the industry, Judika is finally taking the DFP stage with a bang.
Judika and an orchestra — now that’s a performance to behold.