Jakarta-based rising star, Afgan, has joined forces with Robin Thicke, for the re-release of his original track “Touch Me,” out today. Afgan’s honeyed vocals pair seamlessly with the addition of Thicke’s recognizable talent, for an undeniably catchy fusion of artistry. Produced by Grammy award winning producer Troy Taylor [Trey Songz, Keyshia Cole], “Touch Me” was originally released on Afgan’s highly-anticipated English-language album Wallflower; released in February 2021.
Afgan explains ““Touch Me” is a song with a dark and sexy beat that tells the story of one’s physical attraction at first glance, and how that touch may trigger a series of feelings. Usually, these kind of messages are hard to communicate in Bahasa Indonesia, so this is my first time translating these feelings into a song as I’m now singing in English. This was a challenge for me but I am relieved and happy with the result.”
Raised on soul legends Stevie Wonder, Whitney Houston and Brian McKnight, in his early years, self-taught Afgan grew up a shy individual finding solace in music, slowly gaining confidence in quiet karaoke rooms. For Jakarta-hailed rising star Afgan, music has always been an equal synergy of far-flung global inspirations matched with a devotion to showcasing his heritage via nods to Indonesian pop. With his debut album Confession No.1 dropping January 2008, Afgan currently has five solo albums under his belt, countless number one hits, and has managed to rack up over 44 million Spotify streams with over 1 million listeners across a staggering 79 countries just in 2019. Afgan has stepped into the spotlight as one of Indonesia’s fastest rising stars, and is now making his foray onto a global platform as continues to ride the success of his first international album, Wallflower.
In a move that is no doubt expanding his global influence, Wallflower also features “M.I.A.”, a buzzy collaboration with Hong Kong-hailed multi-hyphenate Jackson Wang. Born from a chance meeting after Afgan performed at the 2019 V Live Awards in Seoul, the collaboration came naturally and showcases a harmonious fusion of their crooning R&B vocals.
Wallflower was named after his favorite movie The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, and his deep connection to the soft-spoken protagonist Charlie, played by Logan Lerman. Afgan told NME “I just relate so much with the main character and felt like my personality had a similar quality with him.” He continues “I looked up the meaning behind the word [wallflower] and felt like okay, that’s actually a good description of me and I want to own that part of myself.”
Much of the album is influenced by Afgan’s own tumultuous relationship with his mental health, with lyrical inspiration derived from some of the empowering self-help books that have helped him in darker times. “I‘ve been battling anxiety and panic attacks for years, so I wrote “Hurt Me Like You” about it,” Afgan explains. “Nobody can hurt me more than my own self. I really want to change the stigma around mental health, and in Indonesia, it’s still considered a taboo to talk about it. If we became more happy and at peace with ourselves, I think everything would be better.”
In the last three years, Afgan has sold out concerts in a multitude of Southeast Asian countries; performed at Korea’s Yuseong Hot Springs festival in front of a 30,000-strong audience as well as iconic Singapore festival Hyperplay alongside Nick Jonas; scooped an array of illustrious music awards, and even made international waves taking to the stage at a Sofar Sounds in San Francisco. There is no doubt about it, Afgan is poised for success. But for now, Afgan’s greatest commitment is to making soulful music that will move fans in the most restorative way. “Every time I hear music, it heals me in some way, even if it’s just for those five minutes,” he muses. “I want to make music that makes other people feel the same way.”
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