Ahmad Dhani, 2005
|Birth name||Dhani Ahmad Prasetyo|
May 26, 1972 |
Ahmad Dhani's signature
Dhani Ahmad Prasetyo (born May 26, 1972), better known as Ahmad Dhani or Dhani S. Manaf, is an Indonesian rock musician, songwriter, arranger, and producer. He was the frontman of Dewa 19 and Ahmad Band, and also a member of the inter-continental band The Rock. He is the owner and chairman of Republik Cinta Management, an artist management company of MNC Media Group.
Dhani has worked as a promoter and songwriter for other artists, including Maia Ahmad, Agnes Monica, Alexa Key and Mulan Jameela. He has won numerous awards including the IMA for best musical arrangement. He is one of the most influential musicians in Southeast Asia. In recent years, he has generated controversy after his son killed seven people while driving illegally, and after becoming involved in politics.
Ahmad Dhani was born on May 26, 1972, in Surabaya, Indonesia, as the first of three children of Eddy Abdul Manaf bin Rusta Sastra Atmadja, a Sundanese diplomat origin from Garut-West Java, and Joyce Theresia Pamela Kohler, an Indonesian Ashkenazi Jewish descent. His grandfather, Jan Pieter Friederich Kohler, was an Ashkenazi Jew, born in the Dutch East Indies in 1883.
Dhani's stepbrother, Dadang S. Manaf, is a well-known Indonesian musician and was a strong influence on Dhani's musical interest from his childhood. Dhani's father bought him a keyboard when he was young and enrolled him for music lessons, hoping Dhani would excel in classical music.
Dhani formed his first musical group, Dewa, in 1986 with Andra Junaidi, Erwin Prasetya, and Henry Juniarso. Dhani served as a vocalist and keyboardist. He skipped school to jam with his friends at Juniarso's house in the Airlangga University complex.
While in Dewa, Dhani became interested in jazz, and the group changed its name from Dewa to "Down Beat". "Down Beat" won the Youth Jazz Festival in East Java, and won the inaugural Festival 90 : a high school band competition, at the Djarum Super Fiesta Musical. The band, however, resumed playing rock, renaming itself "Dewa 19", with a new vocalist, Ari Lasso.
The lack of adequate recording studios in Surabaya, moved Dhani to Jakarta in search of a record deal for "Dewa 19", in 1989. After being rejected by several other labels, "Dewa 19" was signed to Team Records by Jan Djuhana. Their first album, Dewa 19 (1992), became a huge success with a number of hits such as "Kangen" and "Kita Tidak Sedang Bercinta Lagi". The album became the best-selling album of 1993 and won Best Newcomer in the Indonesian Music Awards.
Dhani helped to produce the band's 11 albums, which included Dewa 19 (1992), Format Masa Depan (1994), Terbaik Terbaik (1995), Pandawa Lima (1997), The Best of Dewa 19 (1999), Bintang Lima (2000), Cintailah Cinta (2002), Atas Nama Cinta I & II (2004), Laskar Cinta (2004), Republik Cinta (2006), and Kerajaan Cinta (2007). Although, it went through several personnel changes, Dewa 19 remained one of the largest forces in the Indonesian music scene, with Dhani as its driving force, until breaking up in 2011.
His popular album Laskar Cinta (Warriors of Love) was praised for "challenged militant ideology".
After Dewa disbanded, Dhani joined forces with the Australian heavy metal band, Hospital The Musical to form a band named The Rock. The band's first album, Master Mister Ahmad Dhani I, sold more than 150,000 copies in Indonesia. It contained three new songs and seven covers of Dhani's earlier songs. The hits from the album were "Kamu Kamulah Surgaku" and "Munajat Cinta".
Dhani next appeared in a band named TRIAD, an acronym for The Rock Indonesia Ahmad Dhani. Unlike The Rock, TRIAD has five to six members unofficially appearing onstage and even sometimes four members, with Dhani performing as lead singer and rhythm guitarist. Triad's self-titled album sold 500,000 copies. It contained four new tracks, "Selir Hati", "Benar Salah IDolaku", "Mama", and "Sedang Mikirin Kamu", and seven cover tracks, including Queen's Mustapha.
In 2010, Dhani sang with Ari Lasso at concerts in Jakarta and Bali, leading to rumors of a Dewa 19 reunion. In Bali, Dhani announced he would form a band with Judika, the winner of Indonesian Idol 2007. A few months later, Dhani declared the new band would be named Mahadewa, which would substitute for Dewa 19, which he said still existed but in a vacuum. He dismissed rumors that Dewa 19 was finished. "I will focus on Mahadewa, my new band, and Dewa 19 still exists," he said. In January 2012, Mahadewa announced that its debut album would soon be released, containing five new songs and five covers of Dewa 19 songs. The album's first single, "Cinta Itu Buta", was released in mid-2012. The complete album's release was stalled because Dhani was preoccupied with his role as a judge on Indonesian Idol and X Factor Indonesia. However, he still found time for some reunion shows with former members of Dewa 19 in several big cities in Indonesia. Mahadewa's long-awaited debut album, Past to Present, was released in 2013.
Dhani married Maia Estianty in 1996, after a long relationship when Maia was still in High school at SMA Negeri 2, Surabaya. They have three children named after prominent Sufi leaders whom Dhani admires, namely Ahmad Al Ghazali, El Jallaludin Rumi, and Ahmad Abdul Qodir Jaelani. Beginning in late 2006, Dhani and his wife were involved in an affair of 'accused alleges' that led to the divorce suit filed by Maia Estianty. Their marriage was annulled on September 23, 2008, by South Jakarta Sharia Court.
Dhani has been described[by whom?], as one of the richest performers in Indonesia.
Child's car crash
On September 8, 2013, Dhani's 13-year-old son Abdul Qodir Jaelani, aka AQJ or Dul, was illegally driving a Mitsubishi Lancer at 176 km/h and crashed into a Daihatsu Gran Max minivan carrying 13 people on a Jakarta toll road. Seven people were killed and Abdul himself was injured. Police refused to charge Dhani over the accident for allowing his child to drive a car. State prosecutors in June 2014 recommended Dul be sentenced to two years probation.
2014 presidential election controversy
On May 21, 2014, Dhani announced his support to ex-general Prabowo Subianto's campaign for the July 9 presidential election. Dhani claimed, "Almost every manly man (lelaki jantan) votes for Prabowo. If a man doesn't vote for Prabowo, his masculinity (kejantanan) must be questioned."
In June 2014, Dhani released a video clip in support of Prabowo and his running mate Hatta Rajasa. The clip featured Dhani and three Indonesian Idol contestants – Husein, Nowela and Virzha – covering Queen's "We Will Rock You," and included the lyrics "who will awaken Indonesia from its misery if not us? Prabowo-Hatta!" The video was widely condemned because Dhani used the music without permission from Queen and he wore a replica of the jacket worn by Nazi Germany's SS and Gestapo chief Heinrich Himmler, who oversaw the genocide of six million Jews. Dhani was criticized for dancing in the clip with a golden Garuda – the mythical bird that is Indonesia's emblem. Time magazine's website ran a critical article headlined "This Indonesian Nazi Video Is One of the Worst Pieces of Political Campaigning Ever". Prabowo thanked Dhani, saying, "This video is boosting our fighting spirit!" However, there were rumors that Dhani was struck by Prabowo for his controversial music video, during a visit to the presidential candidate's residence.
On June 23, 2014, a Twitter post allegedly by Dhani stated that he would cut off his penis if presidential contender Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo and his running mate Jusuf Kalla won the election. Dhani later claimed he never made the tweet and filed complaints against online media outlets that carried news of the controversial tweet.
In September 2016, after undergoing a drug test while running for office as the deputy regent of Bekasi, Dhani said he had used drugs, including heroin, in the 1990s because, he claimed, Indonesia at that time did not have a law prohibiting drugs. Indonesia's 1976 Narcotics Law prohibited the production, trafficking, storage and personal use of narcotics without permission from the Health Minister. Indonesia subsequently issued a revised anti-narcotics law in 1997.
2016 treason arrest
On December 2, 2016, Dhani was arrested at a Jakarta hotel on suspicion of involvement in an alleged plot to overthrow the government. He was released a day later but remained a suspect over alleged defamation of the president.
Hate speech charge
Ahmad Dhani on 5 March 2017 posted on Twitter: "Siapa saja yg dukung Penista Agama adalah Bajingan yg perlu di ludahi muka nya" (English: Anyone who supports a Blasphemer is a Bastard who must be spat upon their face). The tweet was a reference to supporters of Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja 'Ahok' Purnama, who was standing for re-election while on trial for insulting Islam. In November 2017, South Jakarta Police declared Dhani a suspect for hate speech. Dhani said he has never felt guilty. “In the examination I admitted that I hate those who defend religious blasphemers, I hate those who blaspheme religion, I also hate corruptors, rapists and drug dealers” he said. His trial is due to start on 16 April 2018 at South Jakarta District Court.
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