For all of her accolades, achievements, and accomplishments as “the most awarded Indonesian artist ever,” AGNEZ MO tellingly points to a recent decision when asked to describe a pivotal moment in her career…
“One-day last year, I decided, ‘Fuck it, I’m going to shave my head’,” she recalls. “In Indonesia, that’s not something you see on a woman. Even in the United States, people will say that you’re being rebellious—because you’re supposed to have straight or wavy hair in order to look feminine. I don’t care. I’m going to always express who I am. I came up with this hashtag #iAMme to represent it. It’s meant to inspire everyone.”
That independent spirit (coupled with a powerhouse voice) transformed her into a global superstar beloved by millions. Since the onset of her career as a child, she has consistently made history in her native Indonesia and Asia at large as a pop singer, songwriter, actress, entrepreneur, and humanitarian. Amassing a total of 170 awards over the years, these honors notably include eight Panasonic Awards, five Nickelodeon Indonesia Kids’ Choice Awards, and four MTV Indonesia Awards. Numerous multiplatinum singles and albums comprise her Asian discography, and she regularly speaks to a social following of 35 million-plus fans.
With that foundation, her Western infiltration initially commenced with “Coke Bottle” [feat. Timbaland & T.I.]. Racking up 16 million views in under two months, it paved the way for her 2017 independent EP, X, which notched praise from Idolator, Vogue, Hollywood Life, and more. However, it was just the beginning for Agnez.
Signing to 300 Entertainment in 2018, she ignited the next chapter with the single “Overdose” [feat. Chris Brown]. Ethereal production reverberates just beneath smooth verses as the track builds towards an intoxicating refrain. The track illuminates the dramatic scope of Agnez’s range and demonstrates her ability to seamlessly fuse genres, bringing pop, R&B, and hip-hop. Within two weeks, it clocked over 3 million Spotify streams and garnered acclaim from HotNewHipHop and Billboard who dubbed it, “a steamy ode to bright-burning relationships and addicting love.” “It’s all about overdosing on love,” she explains. “I’m pretty sure this happens more often than you’d think. Sometimes, you meet someone, and you’re that person would never be your type. You think, ‘Shit, I’d never date this guy’. When you really sit down and talk to him though, he becomes your addiction. Here I am just completely in love. Opposites do attract. It’s a metaphor for the kind of love the song references.”
As “Overdose” paves the way for more music on the horizon, this maverick continues to blur genre lines and borders as only she can. Nothing is off limits on her debut EP. “I don’t want to just be outside the box, I want to move it,” she laughs.
At the same time, it becomes a foundation for something much bigger hinted at by that brief hashtag #iAMme whose tagline is “I am me. My own version of me.”
“I’m an artist,” exclaims Agnez. “I believe in art more than anything. That’s my first love. I always want to make sure I use my platform to be a good influence and inspire. I’ve got this quote that I love to share, ‘Dream, Believe and Make It Happen’. It’s my mantra.”
It’s also something she lives up to on the daily in every facet of life. In the end, Agnez Mo will always inspire by simply being herself.
“When you listen to me, I want you to hear honesty,” she leaves off. “My music, videos, poems, and basically any art that I create is my diary. That’s why honesty and realness is so important. It might not be perfect; but at least it’s MY imperfection. I’m just doing Agnez Mo, and that will always change and evolve. I’m excited to see what other side of me I can figure out and show to the world.”
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