One of the people I look up to the most in the local music scene is M. Nasir. Not too long ago, I bought a CD that compiled some of his greatest hits, from his Kembara days to his collaboration with Malique of Too Phat, and what I noticed from listening to all those songs was that his songs don't sound dumbed down at all, either musically or lyrically (although not all of his songs' lyrics were written by himself).
M. Nasir is one of the names that is highly regarded throughout the country and has achieved immense commercial success. What amazes me is that even though he enjoys huge commercial success, he doesn't take the music he produces for granted, ever since he came on to the scene in the 80s and keeps finding new ways to express himself artistically even to this day.
What one would notice upon hearing the songs in that album that I have is the range of styles of the musical endeavours he chooses to undertake, from 80s rock in the song Hati Emas, to really experimental stuff in the song Di Balik Cermin Mimpi. He keeps it fresh and interesting, to the joy of the listeners, and I feel, to his own joy as well.
As a person who produces art, one has to be constantly interested in what one is doing in order for the people listening/watching have a strong reason to be interested as well. One does not keep being interested in doing the same thing over and over again, but that seems to be the route of many an artist in this day and age. The main reason being, in my unsupported-by-evidence opinion, because they are afraid that if they change it up, people will stop listening to their stuff, and stop supporting their artistic undertakings since people in general hold an inherent dislike of the unfamiliar.
I personally hold a high regard towards M. Nasir because he doesn't do that. He doesn't try to keep doing the same things. He always tries to keep it different, keep it fresh. And even when he does that, he continues to become commercially successful. People don't really seem to care that Keroncong Untuk Ana and Lagu Jiwa Lagu Cinta sound so different. They enjoy them both just the same, albeit for different reasons. And M. Nasir continues to experiment with the projects he wishes to undertake. Who would have thought that he'd collaborate with a rap artist to come up with such an epic song as Mantera Beradu? That song came from so far left field, it hit us like a truck. I still can't get over how amazing that song is.
I hope to have the courage to be as interesting and diverse in my artistic undertakings, whether they be musical or literary. For that to happen, I need a wide range to draw from, so I need to study up a lot on a lot of things. Let's hope I get to go somewhere with these dreams of mine.