Goo Goo Dolls singer and guitarist John Rzeznik during the band performance in Poland. (Photo courtesy of Goo Goo Dolls official Instagram page)

Five Performances to Look Forward to at Java Jazz Festival 2018


FEBRUARY 27, 2018

Jakarta. Jakarta's Java Jazz Festival will be back for its 14th edition next month with more local and international pop and jazz artists promised in its ever expanding line-up.

Last year, the crowd favorites were Dira Sugandi, Lea Simanjuntak and Kamasean and international artists Sergio Mendes, Incognito and King.

This year the festival wants to delve into more sub-genres, sticking to its official theme of "Celebrate Jazz in Diversity."

From pop-rock legends Goo Goo Dolls to Indonesia's rebranded folk-pop favorite Pusakata, this year’s Java Jazz promises to dazzle audiences with a smorgasbord of styles and a combination of indie hits and big names.

1. Goo Goo Dolls 

Goo Goo Dolls singer and guitarist John Rzeznik during a performance in Poland this year. (Photo courtesy of Goo Goo Dolls' official Instagram page)

The Goo Goo Dolls is an American rock band formed in 1986 in Bufallo, New York, by singer and guitarist John Rzeznik, bassist Robby Takac and drummer Gorge Tutuska.

Worldwide fame came with their 1998 MTV hit single "Iris," but the band has also had several other notable and popular singles including "Name" and "Naked" from 1995’s A Boy Named Goo album.

The band have scored a total of 19 top ten singles on various charts and have sold more than 12 million albums worldwide.

Their biggest hit Iris was ranked number 1 on Billboard’s "Top 100 Pop Songs 1992-2012." The list also featured their other hits, "Slide," at number 9, and "Name" at number 24.

Iris spent nearly 12 straight months on the Billboard chart and held the number one position on the Hot 100 Airplay chart for 18 weeks.

The first single from their 2010 album, Something for the Rest of Us, "Home," extended the band’s record to 14 top ten hits in the hot AC radio format.

The band released their tenth album in 2013 and their eleventh studio album "Boxes" was released three years later.

2. Lauv

New York singer-songwriter Ari Staprans Leff, better known as Lauv. (Photo courtesy of Lauv's official Instagram page)

New York-based singer-songwriter Ari Staprans Leff, better known by his stage name Lauv, makes yearning, electronic, R&B-influenced pop.

Interested in music from a young age, the San Fransisco-born Leff took piano and viola lessons as a child before picking up the guitar at age 11.

Before discovering electronic music, young Leff had played in several bands and studied jazz during high school.

It was only in 2014 while he was attending New York University as a music tech major and after a bad breakup that Leff started to explore songwriting and recording experimentation — and found his alter ego Lauv.

His first song "The Other," co-written with songwriter and instrumentalist Michael Matosic, was released under his new name Lauv, the Latvian word for lion.

In 2015, Lauv released his debut EP "Lost in Light." More tracks followed, including 2016’s "Question," featuring Travis Mills.

Lauv's 2017 single "I Like Me Better" became a breakout international hit and was later featured on his second, self-titled EP released in October.

I Like Me Better yielded over a quarter of a billion Spotify streams in under a year and a sold out headline tour as his fame skyrocketed throughout 2017.

The song is also on the Spotify Global Top 50 Chart and Global Top 100 Artists playlists.

3. Daniel Caesar

Canadian rapper, singer and songwriter Daniel Caesar. (Photo courtesy of Caesar's official Instagram page)

Born in Toronto, Ontario in 1995, Canadian rapper, singer and songwriter Daniel Caesar launched his career in 2015.

His debut album, "Freudian," a compilation of smartly written melodic songs featuring the Canuck's distinct R&B lilt, was released in August 2017 to rave reviews.

Freudian reached number 1 on the iTunes charts and the lead single "Get You," featuring Kali Uchis, recently hit gold in both the US and Canada.

Caesar's musical style mashes up classic R&B and soul, and he deftly combines skillful songwriting with his heartfelt voice, especially in the 2017 singles, "We Find Love" and "Blessed."

Legends from Erykah Badu to Coldplay’s Chris Martin have celebrated Caesar's work and Apple Music chose him as its Up Next Artist in September last year.

4. Rendy Pandugo

Rendy Pandugo at his New Year's Eve concert last year. (Photo courtesy of Rendy's official Instagram page)

Medan-born Rendy Pandugo is an emerging singer and songwriter from Indonesia.

In June last year, Rendy released his first single "Sebuah Kisah Klasik" (A Classic Tale), a pop reworking of legendary Yogyakarta rock band Sheila on 7's hit song.

Young Rendy has already joined the biggest music label in the country, Sony Music Entertainment Indonesia.

In November last year, Rendy released another single "I Don’t Care," from his 2017 album "The Journey." Earlier that year, he also released another single in English titled "Silver Rain."

5. Pusakata

Muhammad Istiqomah Djamad, better known as Is, is going solo with Pusakata after splitting from folk-pop favorite Payung Teduh. (Photo courtesy of Is' official Instagram page)

Muhammad Istiqomah Djamad, best known for his stage name Is, is a former singer and guitarist of folk-pop miserabilists Payung Teduh.

Born in Makassar in 1984, Is writes harrowing songs that showcase his melancholic voice and clean guitar playing.

After dropping out of an Electrical Engineering course at Jakarta Polytechnic, Is won a scholarship from the Yamaha Master Course Academy and ended up teaching singing and guitar there.

Is is also an actor and a playwright and still occasionally involved in shows with the Pagupan theater company.

The singer-songwriter has won Indonesia's AMI Award for Best Artist and Best Soul/R&B/Urban Artist.

In 2007, Is and his best buddy Aziz Kariko formed Payung Teduh, a folk pop band that quickly became an indie kids' darling.

After a somewhat acrimonious split from the group last year, Is is now going solo as Pusakata.

Java Jazz Festival 2018 will be held at JIEXPO Kemayoran in North Jakarta on March 2-4. For more information, including schedules, visit the official website.