Proud to Join the DefJam South East Asia: Ariel Nayaka

Ariel Nayaka adalah seorang rapper asal Indonesia yang kariernya mulai menanjak di dunia internasional. Musisi berumur 26 tahun kini resmi bergabung label internasional ternama DefJam, which is known to have musicians the likes of Justin Bieber, Public Enemy, LL Cool J, Nas, Jay-Z, Kanye West to the latest DefJam rappers such as Logic, Big Sean & 2 Chainz. Ariel Nayaka himself became the second artist after Agnez Mo to join the label. Since Universal Music Group expanded its reach to Southeast Asia circa 2019, Nayaka is actually the first Indonesian to be recruited under the label.

Nayaka mencapai suatu pencerahan tentang pentingnya self-love melalui pengalamannya dalam hubungan romantis. Hal ini ditunjukkan lewat single berjudul “Waktu Tiba”. This recent project was produced by SonaOne, who is an old friend of Nayaka’s. SonaOne tried to translate this illuminating point in his first bilingual track. This time, Nayaka explored and emphasizes his own self-clarity about romantic relationships.

Being the first Indonesian under DefJam South East Asia, how does that make you feel?
First of all, I’m super blessed to be given the opportunity to be included in the all-star lineup of DefJam Southeast Asia. Being recruited there felt like being recruited for the Avengers of South East Asian Hip Hop. Even though our plans and experiences were put on hold due to the pandemic, there has always been a positive vibe with the people in the mix. So many label mates that are like my mentors and big brothers such as SonaOne, Joe Flizzow, Alif, Daboyway and many more. One of the most memorable moment is every time we do a show outside of Indonesia, lovely fans would come up to take pictures and show love.”
Hip-hop artists are known to have hidden messages in their songs. What about you? What is the message that you’d like to convey in your songs?

Of course, each song would have their own different and distinct message. But if I can say overall, my message is to be yourself. Being yourself can get you so far ahead in life. We shouldn’t focus on trying to stand out when being yourself will stand you out like crazy. Everyone’s built different, have had different journeys in their lifetime, so show people what “you” is all about.”

How would you describe your rap style? Did you start off also with that style or has it changed throughout the time?

My rap style nowadays is diverse. I can do pop songs, hard hitting lyrical story telling songs, hard trap songs, melodic borderline R&B records and everything in between, you name it! Of course, it’s started out with just one style, and that was old school, lyrical boom bap hip hop. That’s where I got my sense of lyricism first, then it just evolved from there.”

How would you describe the hip-hop scene in Indonesia as of right now?
“Di Indonesia, hip-hop masih sangat muda. But that’s a good thing! We are constantly evolving and it’s a direct effect of young independent musicians just releasing new music almost every day. In a way, I think it’s unfair comparing scenes from one country to another so I’m not gonna do that. Instead it’s better to focus on what makes scenes in each country stand out. For example, Indonesia has many languages and dialects within the country. That in its sense has the potential to be showcased to the rest of the world and that is something not a lot of countries have the ability to show.”
Now that you are in the same label as so many other well-known hip-hop artist, do you have any dream collab with any of them?

Of course! My bucket list is to be in a studio session with Kanye and Justin Bieber. The music doesn’t even have to be for me, it could literally be for anyone. It’s just one of the things I’m most curious with in this world, and that is their process of writing, recording, and thinking in general when it comes to making a record.”


Editor: Galuh Tathya
Writer: Dela Naufalia
Photographer: Vicky Melly
Digital Imaging: Ari Angga
Stylist: Sasqia Ayuningtyas
Wardrobe: Legiteamate, available at The F Thing

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