The Music of My Life

I have brought up in a family that loves music. My father was a singer who even won local competition.

So from my early childhood I listened to a lot of my dad’s favorite songs, both Indonesian (Simphoni yg Indah and Widuri) or international such as: Oh Carroll and Mr. Postman. My dad also introduced me to Frank Sinatra, Elvis and The Beatles.

As I entered school I started to have my own favorite songs, pretty much influenced by my friends. I listened to local artists such as Chrisye, Vina Panduwinata, Jayanti Mandasari, Gomloh, Iwan Fals and even Billbrod. At the same time I got to know Michael Jackson, Duran Duran, Madonna, Bon Jovi and many other. At that time, Indonesian TV are very much managed by the government. We dont get to see a lot of Music Video. So, Radio is my main source of musical influence.

At the time, if you like an artist so much, you buy their cassette. But, for an elementary school girl it is way too expensive. I remembered the first cassette that I have was bought by my mom. It was a mixed records with songs from Sonia, Tina Turner, Garth Brooks and many more. The year was 1989.

Then I started savings my pocket money. The first cassette that I bought was Repeat Offender from Richard Marx. I also bought A shoulder to cry on from Tommy Page.

During middle school I contracted the boyband fever. Yes, New Kids on The Block was the ultimate boyband to me. In addition to the NKOTB I also listened to Roxxette, Michael Learns To Rock, White Lion and Guns N Roses. In terms of Indonesian music I love to listen to Kla Project.

In high school I got influenced by my older brother taste of slow rocks. He even created a compilation that he called Rocks that Slipped Away period. This include among others Nelson, Warrant, Bad English, Damn Yankees, Europe and many more.

In the mid of 90s I moved to Surabaya to pursue my bachelor degree. During this period I listened to Kenny G and Stevie B. Then the second wave of Boyband came. I love Backstreet Boys songs that I refused anything related to ‘Nsync 🀣. Like many others I also got hit by Britney Spears. During this time I fell in love with Savage Garden and Lighthouse Family. It was a really difficult period for me juggling with adulthood and study. So, Oasis album Whats the Story Morning Glory was a real saviour of those times.

Towards the end of my study I bought two more cassettes from two divas: Shania Twain and Celine Dion.

Another era in my music began when I came to England to pursue my master degree. I got into the rythm of Britpop and listened to Blue, Westlife, Five, S Club 7 and Kylie Minogue. I also got to know Coldplay with their first song Yellow. To be honest I did not know that they will last until now πŸ‘ another music for me at that time was Travis.

During my PhD study I listened to a lot of pop alternative such as Maroon 5, Train and Five for Fighting. I also got to know Three Doors Down. Then Justin Timberlake produced his solo album. I love the songs Like I Love You that I made it into polyphonic ringtone for my first Panasonic handphone. Then I started to acknowledge that ‘Nsync also has a lot of good songs πŸ˜„

I came back to Indonesia and started to live in Surabaya in 2005. At that time, an Indonesian Band called Peterpan conquered the musical scene in Indonesia. As I started working I listened to Katy Perry, Beyonce, Rihanna, Ne-Yo. But during my visit to Japan I fell in love with Daniel Powter. Also came into my radar is The Script. One of the difficult period in my life is when I lost my father in 2010. At that time I listened a lot to Owl City’s Vanilla Twilight.

Nowadays the music industry has shifted. In the old days its very easy to recognise the artist who sings the song. Nowadays, a single track is a collaboration of many musicians. So there are alot of feat in the singer of the songs. The type of music is also changing with the introduction of EDM. I was not into it at first. Until I heard Coldplay collaboration with The Chainsmoker in Something Just like this.

It is now also very easy to get the music that you love.

I totally embrace the era of Spotify where I can create the playlists from each era of my life.


Playlist for Rainy November in Surabaya

After a long spell of dry season, finally, rain fell in Surabaya.

It really cool the air that has become unbearably humid over the past couple of weeks.

Rain always bring certain memories to me. In the early 80s, I live in an area in Denpasar, Bali where rain always resulted in flood. I remembered clearly, in one particular day when I was in elementary school, it rained really hard and the water level was up to my knees. It was the last day of school and we were supposed to take our report card. Our grandpa, dad, uncles gave us a piggyback ride to flooded-free areas so we can get to school. I remembered that we kinda enjoy the whole process πŸ™‚ The flood ceased as the local government cleaned up and develop the river in our area.

From early on, whenever rains, I always feel lucky that I have a home..

Then, during my teenage year I began listening to a lot of music. Come to think about it, there were two songs that came to my mind. First, is Lady Rain from Indecent Obsession (such a weird name for a Band right). The second is November Rain from Guns ‘N Roses. Yeah, what can I say, that’s how old I am.

I got to experience a different type of Rain while I studied in England. Its usually drizzle, rather than heavy rain…and it can go on and on and on…Its not surprising that during this period I get to know two more songs about rain from Brit artist πŸ™‚ First is Why Does it Always Rain on Me from Travis. The second one is Its Raining Men, originally from the Weather Girl. But I knew Geri Halliwell’s version from the Bridget Jones’s Diary soundtrack πŸ™‚

Back in Surabaya,Β I added Please Dont Stop the Rain from James Morrison and Set Fire to the Rain from Adele…Both British…what a coincidence, right?

These days, I started listening to the radio again. It really reminded me of how the music has changed. Many of the songs are sung by artists I never heard of. Lots of musical collaboration, so artist A feat. Artist B…The genre has somewhat changed to EDM and dance…but thankfully there are some that I can relate to…and they are also well suited for the Rain theme…

The first song is from The Script called RAIN πŸ™‚ I loved the band since I heard their songs, The Man Who Cant Be Moved and Breakeven. Though, at that time I did not know whether they will continue producing great music or became one, err, two hit wonders. I was really happy that they will then follow up with more great songs such as Hall of Fame, and now Rain!!

My playlist also consists two songs from Linkin’ Park latest album: One More Light and Heavy. I came to know them, in the wake of Chester Bennington passing (R.I.P Chester).

Other songs on my playlist these days are Thunder (Imagine Dragon), lots of Ed Sheeran (Galway Girl, Perfect and Shape of You), Superhero (Coldplay feat. The Chainsmoker). SO, plenty of tunes to accompany my rainy season.

Set it All Free via Sing

We really loveΒ the Movie Sing. The story itself is simple, but since my two girls really love animals they get really excited to see them sing. The plot is so relevant since there are so many so talent competition on TV right now. There are also a lot of lovable characters. Buster the Panda that own a teather, Gunter the over-excited Pig, Rosita the over-worked Mom of 25 piglets (this itself get them giggles), Meena the shy elephant, Ash the punk rocker porcupine, Johnny the Gorrila, Ms. Crawley the devoted chameleon and many more.

For me the most interesting thing is the brilliant song choice! We can immediately recognize “Firework” by Katy Perry…but some of the songs are from a different year and even different era. I learned about Beatles’ Golden Slumber because Nana Noodleman sings it in the opening scene. Then there is Elton John’s I’m still standing, Stevie Wonder’s Don’t You Worry Bout a Thing. Not to mention the songs from the audition. While I wont introduce the entire Crazy Town’s Butterfly to my girls, the movie cut to the perfect part. The fishes singing Beyonce’s Crazy in Love and the Red Panda girls that sing Kira Kira Killer are spot on. I think the writers really did a good job scouring and picking the songs and matching them with the characters of the movie.

The icing on the cake for us is the only original song in the movie. Yup, Set it All Free by Ash. My girls see her as a really cool girl. So, we really love to watch her sing it. After watching the movie we resort to youtube to watch Ash’s part. But, we came across the cover of Set it All Free by Sam Tsui & Madilyn Bailey. While Scarlett Johansson’s vocal is perfect to capture Ash’s strong and feisty character, we really enjoy the softer take of Sam and Madilyn πŸ™‚


Melody of my life :)

One of my best friend told me that I am an auditory person. I work best through “audio”. That translates into listening, talking…I even write according to how I talk. No wonder that if I listen to something it stuck in my memory. Not just the voice but all the atmosphere.

Just today, I happened to listen to U2 With or Without You and my mind goes straight to Ross and Rachel’s moment of breakup in “Friends”..aren’t we all? πŸ˜‰

Then I started to test my memory with a few other songs…I came up with a very interesting walk of memory lane πŸ™‚

1981 – 1983

My earliest memory is an Indonesian song called Symphony Yang Indah by one of Indonesia’s Great Singer, Bob Tutupoly. This song was my dad’s favorite song. I still remembered the cover of its cassette. It has a corn like shape. Amazingly, I Googled it and…voila…found it! Listening again to this song now, I still vividly remembered the tape that we used to play it with in the living room from our first house πŸ™‚


1984 – 1985

Another song that will also bring me back to the early eighties is You Give Love a Bad Name – Bon Jovi…One of my neighbor used to sing this song loudly…even in a rather jumbled words πŸ™‚

1984 – 1987

Then during my primary school I listened mostly Indonesian songs. The only means to get to know popular songs were radio and TV. But, Michael Jackson, Madonna were huge that even without MTV and we only had a few channels on TV we still know their songs.

1988 – 1989

As I enrolled to Junior High Schools, I started to buy cassettes with my pocket money. One of the first cassettes that I bought was Repeat Offender from Richard Marx. I love that album so much. I think it was in 1990. That same year like most girls in Indonesia, I came to know Tommy Page. Yes, him haha…bought all his cassettes too πŸ˜‰


Come 1990 I became NKOTB fan. I remembered watching the video with my little sister. We were crazy about NKOTB! Pin, posters, T-shirts you name it. Too bad I did not put them properly…

The 90’s was also the glam rock era, when my brother started to influence me with Bon Jovi, Guns n Roses, even Metallica :)) What a range rite, from squeaky clean boy band to Rock Metal.


Mane Attraction – White Lion especially You’re All I Need. It was a really special song for me as it was played in my Junior High School Farewell Party.

The song Whenever You Close Your Eyes from Tommy Page reminded me of the time when I went Camping as part of High school freshmen inauguration


Definitely the year of Guns n’ Roses with Twin Album Use your Illusion I and Use your Illusion I. One rainy day sometimes in 1992, my classroom got leaky roof and the guys started singing November Rain :))

1993 Belong to Bryan Adams So Far So Good Album.

1995 –

Big Ones Album – AerosmithΒ  and What’s the Story Morning Glory – Oasis!

1996 – You and I – Scorpion

1997 – 1998 – Savage Garden’s self entitled first album with songs like Truly Madly Deeply and To the Moon and Back –

In this period I also bought Come on Over Album from Shania Twain. I remember every song by heart πŸ˜‰

1998 – Postcards from Heaven – Lighthouse Family

High is my favorite song from this album. And it was played when I was cruising the highway in Jakarta to the Airport as I about to depart to the UK on 5th October 1999! The driver played the song in the car. It was such a moment. I was torn between the excitement of embarking into a new life but also apprehension of leaving everything behind.

1999 – definitely belong to Backstreet Boys Millenium and Celine Dion’s All the Way…a Decade of Song!

2000 –Β  2004

One of only a few album that I bought while I was studying in the UK was Affirmation Album from Savage Garden. Listening to the song Crash and Burn reminded me of my friends Yatti, Julien and Vincent. We were having lunch at Yatti’s place when the music video of Crash and Burn played on TV.

2002 – Pure Shores – All Saint…watched The Beach with special someone

During this period I also listened a lot of British Music. Ranging from boyband such as Westlife and Blue, to Coldplay, to Dido.

Justin Timberlake’s Like I love You was my polyphonic ringtone for my first handphone

There were also period when I got really holed up in my flat just trying to finish up my Ph.D. The songs that really get my going was: Train – Drops Over Jupiter, 3 Doors Down – Here Without You, The Calling – Wherever you Will Go.

2004 – 2008

Lots of Beyonce, Leona Lewis, Ne-Yo, Katy Perry etc


Had a chance to go for a 2 weeks training in Japan. During this time I get to watch Mama Mia – the Movie. It really made me fell in love with ABBA πŸ˜€ Most importantly, I fell in love with Daniel Powter Album Under the Radar. The songs from this album such as Next Plane Home, Love You Lately, Best of Me accompanied me during those days in Kumamoto Japan.


I lost my dad suddenly in March 2010. During this time I listened songs from Michael Jackson’s – Gone Too Soon and Owl City’s – Vanilla Twilight, Daughtry’s – Life after You.


In 2012 I went for International Visitor Leadership Program, and Jessie J’s song Domino really dominated the airwaves. I heard it many times during the trip

Well, thats my list, what are yours? Perhaps not too different from mine πŸ™‚

How I get to the music that I love

I have always loved Music but I don’t always have the time to really follow the latest one.

Thankfully, music is delivered to various media these days, so eventually good ones will come around πŸ™‚ The keywords is “eventually” because it may not be the current hit song. In fact it might be 1 to 4 years late πŸ˜€

For me, the best chance to get to know the latest music is in the 15 or so minutes I drove my car back and forth from my home to the office or when I drove to do some errands, which is really not that long. But, during that short period, sometimes I got lucky to hear some music that would be my favorite. Just like love at first sight, the best music to me is those that I can really get the moment I heard it.

Back in 2002 I heard the song Drops over Jupiter from Train on the radio. I actually have to called the radio station to know the artist and the title πŸ˜€

Nowadays, it was really easy now to catch just a few phrase of the song and then Googled it to find out who sings it and search on Youtube to watch the music video.

Just like the other day, I suddenly heard this song…

Tell them all I know now
Shout it from the roof tops
Write it on the skyline
all we had is gone now

It was sung wholeheartedly by a guy with a very deep and unique voice. The songs it self was quite easy to catch. I just googled some of the lyrics that I remember and found out that it was originally sung by Shontelle, a female artist around 2010! While her original version was great, I wanted to know the guy who recycled the song. So, I browse through the google search and voila!

Found that it was sung by James Arthur on the final of UK X Factor in 2012. As I watched his performance I was really really moved. The song really blend with his voice. SO It came to my playlist really late πŸ˜€

If not through the radio, sometimes I got to know good music through other media. Top of the list would be Movies! Yes, good movies typically comes with good music. For example, watching Frozen really get me (and my girls) singing “Let it Go” and “Do you wanna build a Snowman”.

Another mean would be award ceremonies. During the Oscar ceremonies I watched Pharrell Williams got everyone dancing with his song “Happy” from Despicable Me. Actually, I have watched Despicable Me 2 with my girls so many time, but I did not noticed the song….so, at that time, I was rooting for Idina Menzel’s Let it Go for “Original Score from the Movie” and it did. But now I really cant get the song out of my head πŸ˜€

Clap Along if You Feel Like a Room without a Roof!!

Finally, I get introduced to the latest hit through entertainment news! I for example get to know Sara Barailles “Brave” because it was compared to Katy Perry’s “Roar”. I also get intrigued to listen to Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball” because it was heavily cited in the news.

How do you get your music??

32.5 Celcius in Surabaya, Yet Completely “Frozen”

LOVE can Melt a Frozen Heart

Ever since we went to watch Disney’s latest movie Frozen at the cinema, my girls and I have really gotten Frozen-Frenzy πŸ˜€

Completely Frozen by it
Completely Frozen by it

Tangled set the bar really high even for Disney. But Frozen certainly more than live up to the expectation. The movie was really entertaining. It has all the good elements of a Disney classics. At the center is of course a royal princess. Wait, not just one but two princesses. To me, what I can relate most from the movie and sets it apart from the rest of the Disney’s franchise is the relationships between the two princesses. I have a sister and we were really close. So, imagining that as sisters we have to be kept apart for years was really really sad. Call me sentimental but without knowing, I shed a few tears during the movie.

But, its not all sad…Just like Tangled has Pascal and Maximus to provide all the laughs, Frozen has the hug-worthy Olaf the Snowman, Svenn the Reindeer and the trolls to create the funny moments. The Princess love interests are a little extraordinary too…if Rapunzel end up with a thief turn hero, Flynn a.k.a. Eugene Fitzherbert then we saw a twist in Frozen from the typical prince (Prince Hans) to the awkward yet noble Kristoff. As if to teach us that nobility are not always inherited in your genes..

The animation were really beautiful. I especially love the scenes when Elsa build the Ice Castle πŸ˜€

Then the icing of the cake must be the wonderful soundtrack. There’s the powerful anthem of Let It Go. It’s full of energy and completely blend with Elsa’s transformation. Both Ratih and Hita loves the song so much. Ratih can even sing and imitate the entire Elsa’s action while singing the song. From the running part when she sang “Let it Goo..let it gooo…” and started building staircases…up to the closing “The Cold never bothered me anyway”. Even Hita, my younger girl who is just 3 year and 7 months, also sings it with her lovely toddler voice.

Apparently my girls are not alone…Check this video on how a 9-year old sings the song beautifully πŸ˜€,,20777883,00.html

The other tunes such as “Do You Wanna Build a Snowman” also got my two girls singing πŸ™‚ They will take turn to sing Elsa’s and Anna’s part.

Thoroughly, enjoyable piece of Disney! Cant wait for another Disney outing πŸ˜€

Two Princesses and a Snowman
Two Princesses and a Snowman

How do you train Adele, Jessie J and Leona Lewis?

I have been meaning to write about this for so long.

I worked as a lecturer in the university. So I pretty much accustomed on how such formal education work.

Well, when I got the chance to visit Cambridge University and the infamous apple tree where Sir Isaac Newton got the inspiration for his Theory of Gravitation, I am still at awe, of how this great mind is nurtured by the university.
But, teaching physics, math or IT appears to be more straightforward to me then teaching art.

Now live in the age where entertainment industries play a big role in our day to day life…and the backbone of the entertainment industry is artistic people. How do you measure great art? It is not a straightforward 1 + 1 = 2. In the entertainment industry now, you are great if your work is received by your audience.

So, I was really impressed to find out that all my favorite female singers Adele, Jessie J and Leona Lewis have studied in the same school!

The name of the school is BRIT School…

you can read all about it here

or here

How do you train these “students” not only singing, but writing music that everybody on earth loves? The school seemed to do a great job, I just wonder how…:D It will certainly come on my list of places to visit if I ever get the chance to visit Britain, again ^^