Teza Sumendra’s eponymous debut album in 2015 marked his name as one of Indonesia’s finest R&B singers, period. Maybe it’s his distinguished husky voice, his good looks, or the undeniable talent shown through his body of work, it’s obvious that the 31-year-old has the ability to command your ears to have a good time. Now a few years have passed, Teza is currently working on his next EP and just released a taste of what’s to come with WKNDCRUISIN, the track affirmed us about what he’s really good at: making people dance, different thing is, now he’s evolving in a way that’s even better than before. Nowadays sporting a long curly hair, we sat down with the singer on set where his dry sense of humor was on full display making #cottoninkteam member who’s present that day in the studio all laughing and dancing (he was kind enough to sing for us) throughout the interview. Read below to see how our conversation with the Piscean goes.
Text by Lala Claudia. Photographs by Ila Schaffer.
This might be random, but how does a day in the life of Teza Sumendra look like?
Haha, here we go. Eh.. Is this a human way to spend the day? I play video games, order food by delivery, maybe play some pool. But nothing beats cozying up in your blanket, especially when it rains outside. Alone. Sad. [Laughs]
So in 2015, you actually did a #cottoninkmen interview with us. Way back, you said that ‘R&B hasn’t got a big place in the industry’, do you think things have changed?
I see that the genre itself is developing rapidly, and there are a lot of awesome indie musicians around, and it affirms that this community really do exist and finally got recognition from people!
Did you ever think that you set up a benchmark for the genre itself in the local music scene?
I don’t really know about that. When I released my album back then, I have no expectations regarding it, but somehow this whole other community got discovered and eventually I’m not alone in it. It made me realize that there’s a lot of potential in this lane of music, and now I have more comrades in creating things.
It’s been a while since you’ve released new stuff, where they at?
People kept on asking me this, simply put, I’M WORKING ON IT!
What are you currently working on?
Singles and the plan is to release a 5-track EP, because I’m too lazy to make an album with many tracks, so an EP it will be. [Laughs]
Do you ever feel burdened by your previous beloved works?
I don’t know what other people expect of me, but I do know what I expect from myself. I want to upgrade my sound, develop something that’s a bit different and elevated from what I already did. That’s the situation I’m currently in, figuring out how I can achieve this. Of course there’s pressure, but I’m going to do it confidently and go for it. I don’t want to put a lot of expectation on people because I’m not born to please everyone.
With all this pressure, what kept you going in making music?
BILLS! Haha! No, I don’t want to put it that way, I’m just trying to be realistic. And the other factor is my family, I still support my parents. And since I have listeners that wanted to hear my music and demand new works from me too, they also pushed me to be productive.
What are the most common misconception of you?
My name! Someone once called me Reza Sumendap, also Reza Mahendra [Laughs]. Also, people often think I’m not friendly because of my face and prevented people from getting to know me better, but seriously, I’m not trying to be bitchy, this is just my face! I’m not really like that, you guys..
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned throughout your career?
How to be consistent in whatever you’re doing. Consistency is the hardest part in every aspect.
What makes music good?
If the song can make you dance, no matter how you feel that day. If it takes you somewhere, takes you in the place, in the mood. Then, that’s good music.
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