Matheos Viktor Messakh , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Sat, 11/22/2008 12:56 PM | Arts & Design
It took 10 albums before pop singer Rossa had enough courage to perform her first ever solo concert.
The concert, titled Persembahan Cinta (Gift of Love), will be staged Nov. 26 in the Jakarta Convention Center's Plenary Hall. It has been six months in the making, assisted by noted music director Erwin Gutawa and concert director Jay Subijakto.
"The concert is the answer to my prayers," the 30-year-old singer said. "I have been dreaming that one day I would have my own concert which would be seriously and carefully prepared but also entertaining."
Erwin has rearranged her songs, especially some of her mellow songs, to give different nuances. Different songs have been given different treatments to produce, for example, Arabian or Latin nuances.
"This is my homework and the test will be Nov. 26," Rosa said, whose real name is Sri Rosa Roslaina Handiyani.
Erwin said it did not take much effort to improve Rossa's performance, just needed to "expand her musical atmosphere".
"Everyone knows that her genre is pop but we will combine all kinds of music to make her performance different...," he said.
The concert will also be supported by more than 60 members of the Erwin Gutawa Orchestra, comprised mostly of young musicians, including a 15-year-old female drummer.
During the two-hour concert, Rossa will sing 18 of her hits including Nada-nada Cinta (Rhythms of love), Tegar (Brave), Hati Yang Terpilih (The chosen heart), Wanita Yang Kau Pilih (The woman you choose), Atas Nama Cinta (In the name of love) and Ayat-ayat Cinta (Verses of Love).
To prepare for this event, Rossa also canceled all of her shows across the country these past two months.
The concert will also feature Melly Goeslow, one of Rossa's best friends who wrote some of her songs, including her latest hit Ayat-ayat Cinta, as well as the Ungu band who collaborated with her on her latest album.
Jay Subijakto said he agreed to support Rossa because she knows how to deal with the trivialities of the country's music industry.
"She has lots of hits and this is something we have to support. A singer must have his or her own value and character. Many singing competitions now only rely on quantity rather than quality.
"Rossa knows how to deal with herself and with the music industry. While everyone else only relies on SMSs (text message) to boost their popularity, Rossa tries many channels to express her talent," Jay said.
The stage will be designed to accommodate some fast paces in a few of the new arrangements, which will be performed by 24 dancers from the United Dance Work (UDW), he said.
"We want people to know that Rossa is able to sing more than just slow and mellow songs."
Erwin said music is a way of expression.
"So when we hold a concert, not just the singer owns the concert. Everyone involved in the concert also has their own responsibilities, including me and Jay.
"We will combine our ideas and efforts to present our best," said the composer and conductor who established the Erwin Gutawa Orchestra in 1993.
Erwin said Rossa deserves to have a solo concert because of her many achievements, adding that usually a singer or musician will hold a solo concert after they have enough hits.
"A concerto in Latin means the best performance of an artist or a singer. So in the context of the music industry its a present to the audience after having many hit songs .... It means they must show their best."
Rossa, who was born in the West Java town of Sumedang, released her first album Nada-Nada Cinta (Rhythms of love) in 1996 and since 2002, she has released an album every year.
More than 180,000 copies of her soundtrack album Ayat-ayat Cinta (Verses of love) -- for the popular film of the same title -- have been sold. The album went platinum in March 2008.
Rossa, MTV Indonesia's best female singer in 2000, also received Malaysia's AIM Award for best foreign singer in May 2008.
Rossa's manager Intan said that about 95 percent of the tickets had been sold, and about 5 percent had been sold to countries where Rossa's albums are also released, such as Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia.
They are expecting 27 fans from Brunei, 52 from Malaysia and 40 from Hong Kong, she said.
"For a long time she did not have the courage to hold her own concert, and even after Erwin and Jay gave their support, she still hesitated," Intan said. "I think this is the right time for Rossa to show her best."