ISA RAJA - "I Gotta Stop"
Review by Adam Jones - MUSIC FARMER 5
Indonesia's Rock Star Delivers an Anthemic Musical Masterpiece
Isa Raja's single, "I Gotta Stop," is a breathtaking pop rock tour de force that showcases the Indonesian musician's distinctive vocal talents; a voice reminiscent of Kings of Leon, Adam Levine, and Harry Styles (with a dash of Rush's Geddy Lee). This emotionally charged anthem captivates listeners with Isa Raja's powerful combination of soaring melodies and poignant lyrics.
The song begins with a captivating verse that sets the tone for the entire track, with Isa singing the opening line "I wanna make you smile" (it's a complex and clever juxtaposition for what's-to-come). The pre-chorus introduces an unexpected chord change that roars with anticipation and urgency. The intensity build at the chorus as Isa belts out, "I think I gotta stop / Sorry babe, I gotta stop now," leaving listeners hanging on every word. His vocal passion during the rhythmic emphasis on the word "STOP" in particular is literally breathtaking; reminiscent of what someone might feel in the midst of a breakup.
This emotionally charged anthem captivates listeners with Isa Raja's powerful combination of soaring melodies and poignant lyrics.
The bridge takes the song to new heights, with Isa crooning, "The wind... that blows against my skin it brings me peace." The lyrics evoke the sensation of being propelled forward, as if the wind itself is urging us to explore new (and perhaps cold) emotional territories. The track culminates in an electrifying outro, where Isa Raja passionately delivers the line, "Gotta stop now," imbuing the word "NOW!" with the intense & raw emotion that underscores the song's central theme.
Isa Raja's "I Gotta Stop" is a spellbinding musical anthem that highlights his exceptional vocal prowess and unique sound. The song masterfully conveys a powerful narrative and an emotional message that will resonate with anyone who's had to make tough decisions in relationships (which is all of us!) For those unfamiliar with Isa Raja, "I Gotta Stop" serves as a thrilling introduction to the world's next great rock star.
Check out "I Gotta Stop" by Isa Raja below!👇
MusicFarmer5 Exclusive Interview
Your single, "I Gotta Stop," showcases your unique and passionate vocal sound. What are your influences, and how did you develop your distinctive vocal style?
I found myself to be influenced mostly by Annie Lennox, Eurythmics, Cyndi Lauper, U2, Stereophonics, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tears For Fears, Goo Goo Dolls, Collective Soul, and Tracy Chapman.
It’s nice when you think my vocal style is so distinctive, but honestly, how I try to develop my vocal is by trying to be true to how I like to sing while also trying to stay original.
The narrative of "I Gotta Stop" revolves around a tumultuous love affair that ends in a breakup. Can you tell us more about the inspiration behind this story and how you channeled those emotions into the song's lyrics and melody?
The inspiration behind the story was from a personal experience I had back then. My ex wants to know if the relationship is serious, and wanted to settle down. At that time, my thought is that I tried to explain how I feel and how I see things in the lyric, explaining to her that no need to worry about the relationship, and that hopefully eventually we'll end in marriage. However, I just thought that it takes time for two characters to blend in, to see the chemistry of each other, and to adjust each other’s habits and points of view on how we see and perceive things in life. Through the up and downs of the relationship, I think it is better to stop discussing it when things got too heated up.
Seeing now, I think I kinda enjoyed the process of trying to make her understand the importance of enjoying the moment with all its good and its bad within our relationship.
I channeled the conversation I should have with her through the lyrics that I made in the song, the effort of trying to make her see that everything between us was in high contrast and feeling sad knowing the adjustment of trying to let her see things the way I see things didn't end up with being understood, it only made her feel miserable while we were together.
What was the creative process behind the song-what formed the basis for it?
I started playing a simple chord and tried to make a cycle for the verse part. The vocal melody was created going with the feeling of having a chat with a person. After I made the whole vocal melody then I tried to complete and finalize the lyric.
You also have a passion for photography. How does this influence your music, and do you find it contributes to your overall creative vision?
Yes, I think from photography, the way I used to see things changed through the camera viewfinder when everything becomes subjectively viewed and perceived and somehow it contributes to how I express my feelings subjectively when pouring down all the things that I feel into my music.
Having been a finalist in a national singing contest and collaborated with well-known musicians such as Ahmad Dhani, Dewa 19, Piyu of Padi Reborn, Pas band, and Aria Baron, how have these experiences shaped your growth as an artist, and what lessons have you learned from working with these established musicians?
Having collaborated with those aforementioned established musicians was a priceless experience for me and it also add to how I see new things or see things from different perspectives, it was quite various points of view through the eyes of each artist. Learning about showing each other’s true colors when making music and listening to other people's opinions and compromising with each other without having to eliminate each other’s true styles, learning to be confident, and always trying to be honest about everything when it comes to making songs.
The song features an electrifying chorus outro where you passionately deliver the line with an epic bend-down note on the word "Now." It sends shivers down the spine. Can you describe the emotions you had while recording this take?
The emotion that I had when I was recording the take was a mixed-up emotion of trying to explain the whole situation that I felt related to the high contrast between me and my ex, of how I see things and enjoy things but we didn’t seem to have the same feeling and it was a sad feeling that I try to express in the song. It was a hard decision but it needs to be made, to end the relationship. One of us has to break the cycle as we both need to be happy.
The bridge opens with the evocative lyrics, "The wind... that blows against my skin it brings me peace." What inspired these words, and how do they fit into the larger narrative of the song?
The inspiration was from the enjoyment that I always feel every time I ride my scooter. Enjoying the ride in the open air and felt peaceful knowing at the back of the ride there was my ex.
The lyric somehow illustrated the things that I enjoyed but just don't seem to fit into how my ex felt when we were riding.
As an artist from Indonesia, how would you say your cultural background has influenced your music and songwriting? Are there any Indonesian artists or musical styles that have played a role in shaping your sound?
My music and songwriting were mostly influenced by Sundanese (West Java) nuances, where there's an instrument called Suling and it triggered my creative process when making the vocal melody. And there's also this one song from North Sumatra called Mariam Tomong that my late Daddy used to sing for me as a lullaby and somehow the song also influenced me when making vocal melodies.
Indonesian artists that may also shape the color of my music are Mus Mujiono with some of his singles; “Tanda-tanda”, “Arti keidupan”, Hari Moekti with several of his singles; “Ada Kamu”, “Hanya Satu Kata”, and “J.J.S Lintas Melawai”, /rif with their first album “Radja”, and Dewa 19 with their “Terbaik Terbaik” album.
Throughout your career, you've explored various musical genres and styles. How do you see your sound evolving in the future, and are there any new influences or directions you'd like to explore with your music?
From the many various genres that I have explored, the sounds I’ve explored so far were wide and varied. By far, the Guitar was and still is quite the dominant sound within the music that I have produced or that I still have in mind. Now and going forth, the exploration will be more to nuances of sound that will add or compliment the vocals and guitar. Acoustic piano, cello, violin, and trumpet are also some of the sounds that I’m interested in and would like to explore more.
Some of the new influences I am interested in at the moment are Florence + the Machine, Regina Spektor, Paolo Nutini, and Desi Valentine.
Can you give us a glimpse into what's next for you? Are you currently working on any new projects or collaborations, and what can fans expect from Isa Raja in the coming months?
What's next soon is to finish my debut album and release several singles that will be picked from the album itself. I would also like to have collaborations with other artists when possible.