Lisa Halim Tapping Into The Indonesian Market (Bugis-Jepun)

Born to an Indonesian father and a Japanese mother, Japanese pop singer Lisa Halim makes her father's hometown a place to expand her market outside Japan.

The Japanese-born singer recently made her fourth visit to Indonesia to perform in the Bali Marathon as part of the annual Nusa Dua Fiesta. "Indonesia is so familiar. Being here is like visiting my hometown although I have never lived here," said the 24-year-old singer, who grew up in Japan with her parents. Following the death of her father, a native of Makassar, South Sulawesi, she now lives with her mother.

In 2008, she released an album Here I am in Indonesia and Malaysia, with two English-titled songs, "Tomorrow" and "Say Goodbye". "I want to travel to more places now and expand my market, but I want to start here, in my father's hometown." Lisa developed a passion for singing and songwriting from the age of 13. 

She was inspired by the album I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston, which her mother gave her as a birthday present when she was 10. "Singing a song can make people smile, and I like that." At 15-years-old, Lisa performed for the first time in front of a large audience singing Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston's "When You Believe", which was received well and gave her confidence, opening a door to a career as a singer-songwriter. While studying for a school exam at age 15, she wrote a song titled "Moon", which she then gave to Japanese R&B singer Tina to sing. 

Lisa writes love songs drawn from her and her family and friends experiences of love and relationships. "My songs are also about family and friends," said the singer, who was born on Feb.15, 1985. Besides music, Lisa is also fond of sports, including surfing and snowboarding. She usually composes and writes lyrics while outdoors, such as on the beach, which she says provides a great atmosphere. 

Since 2006, Lisa took up a project to create and distribute songs. The stories' themes are based on true stories from contributors posted to the counseling bulletin of her Web page. The web page, set up by Lisa, is part of the biggest website community in Japan called "Magical Land / Mahou no Land". On March 7, 2007, Lisa's mini album called  Daddy was released by an Indies label, and sold exclusively at Tower Records, which earned her attention. 

This led to a collaborative project with women surf brand Roxy, with Lisa's active lifestyle and her love of the beach culture fitting perfectly with the brand's concept. The theme song for the national biggest surfing event "Roxy Challenge 2007" was, composed by Lisa and released in her first single album called Air Rhythm. This was broadcast heavily on various radio stations in Japan. 

Snowboarding and surfing led to her next project, creating the second single "Flow with It", featuring the ski and snowboarding event, Winter Sports Fiesta Season 7. Lisa appeared on TV commercials singing the theme song, which immediately received a positive response from viewers, inviting a lot of inquiries for her profile. She also emceed a girls' snowboarding show Yukijoshi on Chukyo TV starting in January 2008, which features her song "Home" as the ending theme.

The popular song of her third single "Setsunaikurai, Ai Shiteta / I Loved You Painfully", was used as the theme song of the first mobile-website drama "Teddy Bear" produced by the mobile website community "Magical Land", which also produced hit movie Koizora"'Setsunaikurai, Ai Shiteta' tells about a couple who loves each other very much until one goes. Even so, the time they spent together was so important," Lisa said.

This song, featuring the up-and-coming male R&B singer Jay'Ed, has already been downloaded more than 100,000 times as a cell phone ringtone and is increasingly gathering attention.To keep in touch with her fans, Lisa uses Mixy, an online social network popular in Japan.

Amid many pop singers in Japan, Lisa tries to differentiate herself by creating songs that can represent other people's feelings and is easy listening but has unique melodies. "I write words that everyone can relate to. I love to use catchy and easy listening melodies, but I don't want people to think I have heard this song somewhere'." Lisa adores Indonesian singer Agnes Monica "She sings and dances so energetically. It's really cool."

Lisa's mother fully supports her career and she always attends her concerts. "My mother is the only person I grew up with since my father passed away."

This has motivated her to write songs to support women. "Every woman has experienced hard times in their lives, and it will be good if I can help support them through my songs."

After the album Here I am, Lisa plans to release another album around July or August next year.

"Coming again to Indonesia has given me some fresh ideas. I want to write songs about Indonesia." She also said she wants to go to Makassar and visit her fathers' relatives.

Sumber: The Jakarta Post