Stephanie Poetri may have hit it big with ILY3K, but the Indonesian songstress is looking forward to what comes next
For many an aspiring musician, the light at the end of the tunnel looks like this: releasing a hit song, going viral, getting that proverbial big break.
For Indonesian singer-songwriter Stephanie Poetri, all those things took shape with one self-composed track, I Love You 3000. In an unexpected whirlwind of events, a four-line verse born out of an Avengers reference opened one door after the next. A deal with 88rising. Recognition as Indonesia's best new artist at the Mnet Asian Music Awards. An opportunity to pursue music full-time in Los Angeles. But with any memorable milestone comes the crippling weight of public expectation. What comes next when you've collaborated with your idols and almost every celebrity you look up to has sung your song?
For Stephanie, the answer is simple: a fresh start.
“I feel like it’s actually nice to be able to restart again. A lot of people knew me because of I Love You 3000, but they just knew me. They don’t support me in the way that a lot of my fans do now, so I’m really glad that we’re starting off kind of tiny again,” she shares. “I always say that’s how you build a strong, family-like community.”
Basking in the promise of a new beginning, Stephanie has been releasing singles leading up to the release of her EP, AM:PM. Ahead, she clues us in on what she's been up to and what her fans ought to expect from here on out.
You're back home in Indonesia for the time being. What’s it been like preparing for the release of a new EP back home?
It’s really exciting. At first, I had concerns because I didn’t know how I’d be able to promote as well as if I were in the US, but a lot of things are online (like this interview thing!), so I’m pretty chill. It’s not so bad!
Speaking of which, during 88rising's Double Happiness show, you showed us your 8AM to 8PM routine. You hopped in a car, headed out, went to the studio—but what do your days at home look like?
My gosh, lately—the “lately” part is what got me. I don’t have 24-hour days, my hours are 28 [a day]. Basically I have days when I have to wake up at three in the morning and work, but I also have days when I have to be up at six. I wake up, do a little bit of streaming then, sometimes like this, I have work. It’s usually at home, which is nice.
I eat, and I’m learning how to code! I write a song, then I sleep. I really have no idea, because sometimes I sleep after just doing one thing, or I sleep after doing 17 things. I’m not sure. But I’m okay; that’s the important part.
You’ve been gaming and doing Twitch streams, too, which is cool. Do you feel like it’s given you a new way to connect with your fans?
For sure; that was one of the reasons why I started streaming. Also because when I stream, I feel like I’m still doing what I love—making songs, talking to people, playing games—but I’m still making content. At least there’s that, you’re not just wasting time. You’re wasting time…with other people.
Dialing things back to music, I saw you recently reacted to a compilation of K-pop idols singing to ILY3K… including Baekhyun.
It’s crazy. I still don’t think it’s real. I still feel like every time they sing it, that it’s not my song—they’re just singing someone else’s song. The thing is, the reason I got into music is through K-pop, so I’m just confused. Is this real life?
Coming off from that viral status, though, was there any pressure involved when you tried to write or release songs after that?
At first, yeah. Earlier, for the first couple of songs after. But now, I actually feel like it’s actually nice to restart again.
Your singles up until this point have been a lot of acoustic love songs and easy listening, but I heard that your EP will be a little different. Tell us a little about that.
My EP is called AM:PM. It’s still very acoustic pop—which is what I like—but it’s divided into two. There are three songs that are very AM: it’s morning, I just woke up and I’m chilling. The other three are like my single Selfish, where it’s kind of dark. It’s moody and it’s night [time.] It’s two iterations of acoustic pop. I just wanted to be able to provide you all with two experiences!
Is there a track you’re most excited to release or perform for your fans?
You guys might have to wait for the EP to come out for this one. That’s a hint in itself, because the EP will come out in early 2021, but I’m having a couple of singles before then. For this one, you’ll have to wait for the full EP, but it’s…angry. But it’s still acoustic pop!
We've got a little more waiting to do until Stephanie Poetri's AM:PM EP drops, but in the meantime, we've got some pre-release singles to look forward to. Listen to her latest single, How We Used To, available on all music streaming platforms.
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver
Special thanks Amplified Entertainment