Indonesian pop singer Lyodra has released her long-awaited debut studio album, “Lyodra”.
The eight-track album, released last Friday (July 16), followed the release of four singles: “Gemintang Hatiku”, “Mengapa Kita (Terlanjur Mencinta)”, “Tentang Kamu” and “Sabda Rindu”. The album release was also accompanied by a music video for ‘Kalau Bosan’.
For her debut album, the 18-year-old singer and actress was helped by producers Anji Manji, Laleilmanino, Yovie Widianto, Dipha Barus, Ade Govinda and Mario G. Klau – who together helped Lyodra create a melting pot of pop, R&B, dance and rock ballads.
NME met Lyodra to discuss the recording of the album, take inspiration from Agnez Mo and pay tribute to her Karo heritage on the record. Read the interview below.
In this industry, it can be difficult for a young newcomer to have the privilege of recording a feature film. When did you learn that your label Universal Music Indonesia had finally given the green light to your album?
âIt was my dream to record an album from day one. But obviously I had to release standalone singles first, just to see how people would respond to them and how excited they were. It turned out that they wanted more and more. I think I finally got that green light towards the end of 2020 – after releasing my third single ‘Tentang Kamu’.
Apart from the vocals, how involved were you in the making of this album?
âHonestly: a lot. From the concept of the album, lyricism, arrangement, etc. The thing I’m grateful for is that I’ve had the chance to work with songwriters and producers who are very supportive and open to discussion. Throughout the registration process we have always tried to come up with ideas and we have always tried to find the best solution together.
‘Lyodra’ offers different sounds. How did you manage to achieve cohesion?
âWhen I made this album, I didn’t deliberately try to create something coherent or a little ‘neat’. But the end product turned out to be pretty consistent anyway, so I was really moved by that. [laughs]
âIn terms of production, I really wanted to offer a lot of variety. I didn’t want to make an album that was like break-up ballads from start to finish because I didn’t want listeners to be bored. The album must have something for everyone.
âWhen recording this album, I took inspiration from Agnez Mo – especially her music from the mid-2000s. Also, I got a lot of inspiration from my big sister Ariana Grande. [laughs] I was very inspired by the way Grande composes her arrangement, her rhythms and how she balances the lyrics with the music. Dua Lipa also provided some influence.
Many considered âMengapa Kita (Terlanjur Mencinta)â written by Yovie Widianto as your flagship song. A year after its release, this song remains popular. Why do you think it is?
âBecause the song is good and the singer is great. [laughs] Seriously, it’s a really good song. The emotion is perfect from start to finish and, from a narrative point of view, this song is also quite painful. People can always relate to situations where you can’t help but fall in love despite the circumstances. This is the kind of problem that is relatable, universal, and will exist forever. “
Compared to the previous songs produced by Laleilmanino, ‘Sabda Rindu’ seems to be their most complex work to date. Was this the most difficult song you have ever recorded?
âI have to say: I performed this song live three times and each time I felt like I didn’t pull it off. It’s a really tough song – especially when I have to perform it on stage. The tone changes, the voice changes, and then, the whistle in the bridge. On top of that, the lyrics are very tight and there is also some added choreography. It was totally overwhelming at first.
âBut, over time, I pretty much got used to it. Besides, if I suck at singing my own song, what would my mom say? [laughs]
‘Kalau Bosan’ is your first rock-influenced ballad. Can you talk a bit about the recording process with the song’s producer, Ade Govinda?
âWhen I first heard the demo of the song, I liked it. However, there were several tweaks and changes that I proposed to Govinda. Surprisingly, he was very open and I thought “My God, he is so nice!”. There was a lot of talk between us until we finally got on the same page with this song.
âI describe ‘Kalau Bosan’ as very ‘addicting’. The more you listen to it, the more you want to press repeat. The lyrics are simple and memorable while the production is really catchy. Again, we were looking for the relatability factor. Just look at the lyrics: ‘If you’re bored with me don’t disappear / If you’re bored with me tell me. ‘ I mean, sad but true, right? This line looks very simple, but in real life it is very difficult to do. In addition, the “ghost” is all the rage these days.
Does the next track “Dibanding Dia” continue the story of “Kalau Bosan”?
âBoth songs were produced by Govinda and honestly when we recorded those songs we didn’t think that far. But, if you listen to these two songs, they’re kind of related, aren’t they? ‘Kalau Bosan’ is about the guy who ignores the girl, and ‘Dibanding Dia’ might be about the girl who finds out why.
The dance floor ‘Oe .. Oe ..’ refers to the Karo heritage. Can you talk about it a bit?
âThe producer of the song, Dipha Barus and I are both of Karo origin. We figured that since this opportunity was hard to find, why not do a dance song with Karo references? We decided to add traditional instruments, ethnic drums, and the song title is actually in the Karo language. ‘Oe‘ means ‘Yes‘ In English.”
You end the album with the sad ‘Pesan Terakhir’. Why?
âI admit that this song is very sad. I’m talking about a little sad “misery in small pieces”. It was written by Mario G. Klau and I was amazed at it. This song is so desperate, heartbreaking and devastating. That’s why I decided to have it as the final track – as if all the pent-up emotions on the album were completely released through this song.
âAt the end of the day, this album is an emotional roller coaster. First I build the emotion, then I break it down, then I keep it still and calm, then I lift it, and when the listeners reach the final track, I drop it on the ground.
Finally, how do you see this album, from a personal point of view?
âI see this album not only as a debut album, but also as a reward for hard and hard work. I’ve worked so hard to make sure this album delivers the best of the best. Plus, I can’t help but think about enemies and opponents. I didn’t make this album to prove the enemies were wrong. This album is kind of my way of saying: “I don’t care what all the enemies say, it’s me and it’s my album!”