In seven years and with three albums all produced through his self-owned label founded with his brother, Tulus has been much in demand. With his cool, soft voice grooving pop, jazz-pop and R&B tunes, this towering figure first received an award as the Rookie of the Year by Rolling Stone Indonesia in 2013. Today, he’s the Male Singer of the Year at the 2017 Indonesia Choice Awards. Learn more about the man behind the mic below.

What does Jakarta mean to you since you’ve lived in Bandung the longest?

Initially, I moved to Jakarta for efficiency in my musical career so the city is a central place that supports me with access to many different things.

Summarise your singing style in one sentence.

I sing with my heart: techniques can be studied, but singing with your heart and soul is difficult and authentically different from one person to another.

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Photo courtesy of: Rendha Rais

How do you sing with your heart and soul?
I always write very personal lines into the songs I write for myself and others, which helps remind me about what happened back then when I wrote that certain song.

What is your proudest accomplishment?

No one in my family has ever had a career in music, which is why everyone had some doubts when I started my career—even my own mother, who always supports me regardless. So when I was able to be independent through music, it was an accomplishment.

What do you love most about singing?

I love singing because I can share so many things in such a short duration. I love telling stories, but I couldn’t stick with long conversations.

Read also: Isyana Sarasvati and her singing journey

What do you think about the Indonesian music scene in a few years forward?

Although all this time it’s been called a creative industry, even today the rules about intellectual property rights seem invisible. The big musicians from the past, for example, now lead lives in hardship though their songs are still played on many stations. So, I expect that these imperfect rules will get better in the years ahead and our creative industry will be more impactful—or even be a more effective tool for diplomacy between two countries.

Who inspires you and why?

Everything that I see, hear and feel can be a story of me or for others, which, along with what I or other people hear to tell me about, inspires me in the end.

Looking back, do you wish you had done anything differently?

So far, I don’t have that much regret over all the good and bad things I’ve been through. But were I to be given a chance to go back, I’d go for a double degree in architecture and arts, or product design. I had a senior who studied architecture and design interior, which I used to think as ridiculous because it’s hard to divide your focus; now, however, he’s very successful.

What’s your end goal?

I never put a limit to my dreams, or stop at a certain achievement point and do nothing anymore. Why? Because I’d like to be the good part of Indonesia’s history in musical development, which I’d fight for until I couldn’t work anymore.

What are your words to live by?

Humans are equipped with weak points, but at the same time we are given more in other areas by the One above. For me, weaknesses are learning points.

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Tags: Indonesia, Celebrity, Jazz, Interview, Music, People, Singer, Generation T, Pop, Tulus, Tatler 10, Young