Tulus and The Elephant

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The name Tulus has been quite a buzz this year. Starting with hit single “Sewindu” (Eight Years), the soul singer has just released his second album which also marked his steadier steps in the industry. We got a chance to have a short chitchat with him about bits and pieces of the album, Gajah”.

Hi, Tulus! Your second album is finally out, how was that for you?
Hello! The process of making the album was not that long; it’s actually been done since last year. However, I had to postpone the launching due to concert and tour schedule. So it’s really been a great relieve it’s finally out. This second album is more personal for me, because here I share stories about my childhood, my family. I also try to explore more diverse topic such as holidays and spirit of creativity, whereas in the first album was almost solely about love. “Sepatu” (Shoes) was the first song that we worked on in “Gajah” (Elephant). As soon as it’s done, we published it digitally via iTunes and aired it on the radio. Because the span between first and second album was quite long, I would like to present “Sepatu” as a teaser for the second album. A hook to keep the enthusiasm. This second album also sounds more cheerful, maybe because that’s how I was feeling throughout that one year back.

What is Gajah, anyway?
The name Gajah has a very personal meaning to me. So here I would like to express my gratitude for all the appreciation and support I have received by letting them know who I am, who I was.

That’s a nice gesture. Afterall, you can only love better when you know better, am I right? Now about love, where do you mostly get your inspiration for your love songs? Is there any best timing to write?
Well, inspiration is always something that is hard to explain. It could came out of thin air. There is no exact best timing to write a song, but it’s usually way easier when I’m savoring the highs and lows of my emotion. The fastest song I created was “Tuan Nona Kesepian” (Lonely Mr. and Ms.), it only took 15 minutes! That was the kind of emotional moment I meant before.

About the song “Jangan Cintai Aku Apa Adanya” ( Don’t Love Me The Way I Am), could it also mean universally, like from fans to their favorite artist?
Well, it’s really up to the listener on how to interpretate the relationship, but I personally wrote it based on my own story. I was in a relationship where I was loved for whatever I do, without critics nor demand. At first it was nice and smooth but as we went on, I felt like we’re going nowhere. We didn’t make each other better. So I want to tell you all that: don’t just love someone the way he/she is. Critic and demand which intended for improvement are essential, so that we could move forward and be better.

How do you compose the music for the lyrics you’ve wrote, can you play any musical instruments?
Not really, the tunes in my head are more like mere intuition and I get help from my friends. I collaborated with most of the musicians from my first album in the music arrangement.

This is very cliche, but how do you define your music? Is there any particular idols you look up to?
I would call my music ecletic, because in the album you can find jazz, soul, rnb, pop, anything! Haha. It doesn’t really matter, though. I listen to a wide range of music, from Amy Winehouse to Mark Ronson. No particular idols, cause it’s too hard to decide!

Do you plan to have another solo concert like the one you had in Bandung last year?
Yes, I do have that plan. The most exciting part about solo concert is the energy I received. In a big concert with several line-ups, the attention was of course divided and unfocused. While in a solo concert, all the efforts and excitement of people who want to see me perform –like how you queue for tickets and come all the way to the venue, I can feel it. I’m feeling your affection, and it becomes my fuel to always give my best.

You really value your listener.
Indeed. I have this fanbase named TemanTulus which has just had their second anniversary, congratulations! I hope they will always have the energy to support me, because it means a lot. It really does. I can only give my best to show them how grateful I am. To put into an analogy, it’s like I am the CD and they are the CD player; I can’t play without them.

How are you going to spend the year 2014?
I am planning to make a music video, do concert tour throughout Indonesia, join music festival, and there are also plans about going across country to introduce my music. Maybe that’s that, not too much so I would still have the time to play! Haha.

Tulus was talking to Dinda Kharisha