Photographed by: Nyimas Laula

Photographed by: Nyimas Laula

Grace Carolline Sahertian (born 18 October 1985), known as Grace Sahertian, is an Indonesian-born soul singer and songwriter. Throughout her musical career for more than 11 years, Grace has performed in various music festivals and collaborated with numerous great Indonesian musicians and bands. Her debut album, HELA, was released on February 8, 2016. The influence of her parent musical taste especially her father, a Moluccan descent, who loves gospel music and was a singer himself, has shaped Grace’s soulful taste that leads people to remember Erykah Badu, Aretha Franklin, Zap Mama and Jill Scott every time she performs. 

Educational Background

Grace work of art had been shown since she was a child. Her first work of art was a drawing of her mother carrying her baby sister, made by Grace when she was 5 year-old. Since then, she continuously exploring her passion and interest on art. Upon completion of her Bachelor Degree in Design, majoring in Textile and Craft, Grace received her scholarship for Master Degree majoring in Digital Media. She earned both of her degrees from The Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), the oldest technology-oriented university in Indonesia. 

Grace studied various traditional techniques on textiles such as batik, weaving and natural dying for her Undergraduate Degree and actively participating in national and international exhibitions of fiber and art. Grace made a project of Interactive Installation as a final project to complete her Master Degree. She created interactive installation of music and visual composition using Tari Saman, one of the most popular traditional dances originated from Aceh province, Sumatera, Indonesia. Grace is currently a lecturer in Fashion and Textile Design. 

 

Musical Background

Grace's talent in music has evidently been seen at her early age. The second of three children, Grace used to have an “afternoon ritual” where she and her eldest sister would sing together after their afternoon nap, holding whatever objects as a microphone. Growing up in the Christian family also brought Grace closer to music. By the age of 6, Grace joined church ministry and school’s choir. The church provided Grace with her early experiences in vocal harmonization and developed her taste in gospel music. Grace had her first encounter with traditional music when she was in elementary school. She played suling, kolintang, and angklung, an Indonesian traditional musical instrument, for her Karawitan subject. By the age of twelve, her father bought Grace her first guitar, and she took classical guitar course for two years. She took course for another musical instrument as well, such as organ and violin, but she never completed the course.

Grace’s first effort as a songwriter started when she was in the Senior High School. She composed poetry musicalization for her school project. Grace never thought herself composing or being on stage at first, but because of her remarkable vocal style, Grace were always chosen to represent her school in numerous vocal competition and events. Grace made her first gigs as a vocalist, singing R&B and Soul music, and regularly performed in local cafes in Bandung, balancing her life between a high school student and a vocalist. Largely self-taught, she continued her song-writing process with some simple chords. Her songs were not recorded, but Grace still keep the remaining lyrics on her journal. 

Music Career

Grace began her career as a professional singer when she was in college. In 2006, Grace joined Palm From Moodytunes, a band that categorized under these genre: swing-pop-jazz. She also started her involvement in Margo Rising Stars, a band full of bright young musicians initiated by Benny Likumahuwa. Grace was also active in church ministry, performing gospel jazz music with David and Venche Manuhutu. In 2010, Grace met Tesla Manaf, a guitarist who has the same taste in music and began to make their own composition and eventually released their own mini album, “Grace & Tesla”, categorized under world music genre. As if her music exploration was never enough, Grace was also featured in The Milo latest album, “Photograph” in a song titled “Apart” (track 8), as well as releasing songs in online media with her band at that time, Circle O’ Fifth. Honestunes was one of the song that was able to enter many indie top charts in Bandung. Even though all of her previous band is now just a story of the past, but for her, each and every one of them gives her many valuable lessons where in the end enables her to truly understand and articulate her own music.

For more than 11 years, Grace has performed in various distinguished Indonesian music festivals. She has collaborated with numerous great  musicians and bands as well, including Benny Likumahuwa Connection Jazz (Benny Likumahuwa, Barry Likumahuwa, Edi Syakhroni and Doni Joesran), Venche Manuhutu & Friends and Jamie Aditya. Grace also had a rare chance to perform a duet with Indonesian living legend Iwan Falls, in Konser Suara Untuk Negeri (2014-2015).

Debut Album: Hela

In 2012, Grace opted to pursue her career as a soloist and decided to make her own debut album. She had a strong desire to choose music seriously as her way of life. The album making process were not easy for her, there were many ups and downs moment that made Grace repeatedly questioning her career path in music.

At one time, when she felt like giving up, her father told Grace about the meaning of her surname, Sahertian. Sahertian has a philosophy of "to row persistently against enemy". It was like a moment of realization for her, the positive energy that evoked her to finish what she had started. Grace was motivated to complete the songs that have been 'stuck', stored in her journals and voice memos. Tesla Manaf was chosen to be the producer for her debut album. Tesla provides an unlimited musical exploration that drove Grace out of her comfort zone. Thus, Grace believed that Tesla can add more values to her original music.

In 2016, Grace released her debut album, "HELA", produced by Tesla Manaf. Supported by Demajors Records, digital album "HELA" was released on February 8, 2016, while physical album was released in March 22, 2016. "Hela" is chosen as a title since the philosophy of ‘Hela’ itself originates from Grace's family name, Sahertian. The lyrics from track "Hela" is using Yamdena language, a region in Western Southeast Maluku, which is approximately 200-year-old language and nearly extinct.

As a celebration of her debut album's launching, on May 14 2016, Grace Sahertian held her first intimate solo concert, Konser HELA: Tracing Back the Roots. The concert was held in Auditorium IFI Bandung, a venue with a capacity of 215 seated audiences. The tickets were sold out.

Singles

Diam, was chosen as carrier single which is the only track that uses Indonesian language, sung by acapella format. Diam music video was released on Youtube simultaneously with physical album release to represent Grace's journey in her album making process. Better to Love, released as first single in 3rd May 2016. This track tells a fragment of Grace's life journey that captures the moment when she finally realized that there are many things on her life that needed to be thankful for, delivered with pop-motown arrangements.

Grace is currently promoting her second single, Fallin', released on April 26, 2017. This sentimental piece shows her effortless silky-smooth tone - a cross between soft voice and comforting melody. Grace pours her personal story into Fallin’- the lyrics aptly mimic her experience of longing to be with a man that she could not be with. She writes “I choose to dream forever..” describing the happiness she found in daydreaming of being together, despite the bitter reality.

As part of her latest single campaign, Grace created #FeelinOfFallin through her social media – a way for her to connect with her listeners and encouraged them to interpret Fallin’ into their own artwork. Grace describes that this song represents very relatable feelings: affection, longing for love and being vulnerable. #FeelinOfFallin, which lasted approximately for 3 weeks, successfully collected 42 artworks in varied forms such as photography, videography, illustration, poetry,mood board, etc. 

Musical Style

Grace has 2 sides of her musical representation, a soulful, chill, deep and gracious kind of music, and a groovy, upbeat, and passionate one. Both of them has one resemblance; they’re sincere, honest and down to earth as reflected in her daily life. Grace sings with her heart by bringing the audience to be serene and giving an enormous vibe of huge glimpse of what she felt through her music.

Referring to her peaceful voice, there was a proud moment for Grace that happened when she was performing for Java Jazz Festival 2017. Kirk Whalum, the 2011 Grammy Award Winner for Best Gospel Song, approached Grace shortly after she finished her performance. "You have spiritual music and full of grace, just like your name. There is always someone's performance that I took an interest in each year, and this year you are my highlight", Kirk said. This moment became too dreamlike to be real for Grace.

Upcoming Project

In line with her album's philosophy, Tracing Back The Roots, Grace is making plans to continue promoting HELA, arranging a tour to Eastern Indonesia, Maluku. Grace aims to promote her music overseas, presenting the modernity of traditional music. 

DISCOGRAPHY

  • Grace & Tesla (2010)
  • The Milo feat. Grace Sahertian - Photograph at Track 8, Apart (2011)
  • Andezzz feat. Grace Sahertian - Electric Lov3 at Track 5, Dreams (2012)
  • Starlite feat. Grace Sahertian - Menanti dan Mengharap, Our Journey (2014)
  • Grace Sahertian - HELA (2016)