This delicate pop icon with a larger-than-life voice holds the record for the highest-selling Indonesian album of all time and an impressive list of awards and accolades that would take a minute to read.
Meet the iconic figure known simply as Rossa in Indonesia and Dato’ Sri Rossa in Malaysia.
Since her debut on the music scene in 1998, at merely 17, Sri Rossa Rosalina Handiyani has never looked back. Her attitude towards life and passion for performing skyrocketed her music career growth making her stature engraved in the Indonesian Music world. She is paving the way for young artists to follow her path, and she looks incredible doing it. Her dapper style and feminine fashion sense allowed her to become a brand ambassador of prominent beauty brands Pantene and Oriflame.
To top it all off, Rossa is a successful businesswoman, owning several businesses, including her beauty brand, Rossa Beauty.
Here is the one-on-one we had with the artist herself as she walked us through her journey to the top.
Take us back to the beginning. How did it all start for Rossa, and when did your dreams start coming to life?
I grew up in a small city named Sumedang in West Java, and ever since I was a child, I’ve always loved singing. I was hungry to perform in front of the public, in class, or at events in my hometown. When I was only ten years old, I did my first album, but it didn’t work out. However, my debut album titled Nada-nada Cinta, was released when I was 17. That was the start, it propelled my entry into the music industry, and I haven’t looked back.
When you listen to songs from the album: “Nada Nada Cinta,” how do you feel?
I was a teenager when that album was released whenever I listened to the songs; it brings back many fond memories of my younger self. A fun fact for you, songs from Nada Nada Cinta are still highly requested for many wedding events.
Who were some of your musical inspirations throughout the years?
I adore Ruth Sahanaya, who is a renowned Indonesian diva. I love her attitude, singing style, and her beautiful personality. As a teenager, Celine Dion was also a big inspiration.
From artists around the world, who would you like to perform a duo with?
It would be a dream to perform with Celine Dion.
How would you describe the music industry in Asia?
Asia has many talented musicians and is one of the biggest markets in the world. Countries in Asia such as South Korea, Japan, China, India, Indonesia, and Malaysia have their own unique talent. Nowadays, collaborations between international artists has become a trend, and together, we can showcase our songs to a broader audience.
Which one of your albums is dear to your heart?
Every album represents a different intersection in my life, and my latest releases are closest to my heart.
When it comes to songwriting, how do you decide which lyrics suit you more?
I don’t write my songs, but I do partake in the development of my music as I share my thoughts with my composers to create the theme and vibe of the songs we are about to produce. Close communications ensure that my composers create a masterpiece closest to my current mood, and my message gets across to my audience.
For young singers in Indonesia, what advice would you give to help push them on the right track to a successful singing career?
Work hard and enjoy the ride. Stay true to yourself and make sure always to respect everyone that you work with.
When it comes to your style and sense of fashion, how do you choose what gives you the most confidence while performing?
Since the start of my career, I have always maintained a feminine and girly style. Clothes are armor; they tell a lot about how you are feeling. At the moment, I am feeling more adventurous with fashion as I would like to explore another side of Rossa. Something unseen by my audience as I evolve along with my music to an international audience.
How do you make time for both your singing career and your life as a businesswoman?
I enjoy doing it all, and I have an outstanding professional team that helps me plan and manage time.
In your own words, what makes your music connect with your audience?
Most of my songs are love ballads that revolve around emotions, heartbreak and it resonates with my audience as they relate with messages from my songs.
You’ve already won so many awards and achieved so much in the music industry? What is your next step? What do you want to achieve next?
I enjoy singing, and getting awards is a bonus. The most important is that everyone who listens to my songs wants them. Since I joined Korea’s SM Entertainment at the end of 2019, I am looking forward to collaborating with other SM artists and diving into new experiences soon. We will have exciting plans once the pandemic is over.
Rossa is a powerhouse performer that has risen to the top with no intention of stepping down. Her career is an inspiration to many young performers that want to succeed in the music industry and her future collaboration is something to look forward to.