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Q & A with Sofia Widya Kezia

How old were you when you first started playing?

I began playing the piano at age five upon first seeing a piano at my uncle's house. Even at that young age I begged my parents to enroll me for piano lessons. In my native Indonesia I was lucky to be enrolled over the years in different music institutions to study classical, jazz and contemporary piano. My last two years in high school I was part of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program which earned college credits, allowing me to complete my Berklee degree in just two years.

Where did you go to music school? What did you study there?

I graduated Cum Laude from Berklee College of Music with a major in Contemporary Writing and Production. During my studies at Berklee, the courses I had the opportunity to take included: Advanced Piano (theory and technique), Writing and Production (for voice and piano), Film Scoring and Positive Psychology.

What are your favorite kinds of music to play and why?

I enjoy playing and singing pop songs because of the role lyrics play in conveying a story and message. I also enjoy playing and composing cinematic music including writing for a full orchestra. I love playing around with the musical dynamics of film music and seeing a singular theme develop into a million other things.

What are some of the musical styles you teach?

Among other styles, I teach pop, rock, classical and jazz.

Where are some of the places you've performed?

As a teenager I performed at the Jakarta Blues Festival. I was also one of the Indonesian representatives to perform at the Sapporo Snow Festival in Japan. In the U.S. I've performed at the Berklee Performance Center, at Copley Square for the New England Indonesian Festival, and other venues throughout the Greater Boston area.

Who are some of your favorite bands and musicians?

I've always enjoyed the music of David Foster, Dirty Loops, Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift. Sara Bareilles has been my main inspiration in songwriting. At Berklee I was exposed to a lot more jazz music and since then I've been listening to Roy Hagrove, Tigran Hamasyan, Snarky Puppy and a few others.

What are your other musical pursuits and accomplishments?

I am proud and beyond blessed that I was accepted to Berklee through a merit-based scholarship based on my audition performance and interview process as well as a Writing and Composition Scholarship. I've always loved composing, writing, singing, arranging and producing music. Getting to do all these things at Berklee has been amazing and so rewarding.

What are some of your artistic goals?

My long-term career goal is to work as a composer and producer of songs for film, commercials (ads and jingles) and other multimedia platforms.

Tell us about your sound clips:

1) "Photograph" is a cover of an Ed Sheeran song. This was among one of my first attempts at recording at home. I was still in high school and I had little knowledge about recording so this was done using a super basic portable mic and digital audio workstation. 2) "No Intention" is a song I wrote, arranged performed and produced in the Berklee Production Suite. Electronic pop songwriting isn't quite my area of expertise but this was an assignment at school. I didn't focus too much on how unfamiliar I am with the genre but instead just tried to write a catchy hook and melodic theme. The entire project took just two days from start to finish. 3) “Rewind” is another of my original compositions. Recording this song was a great experience. It's always a great time to get to play original music with other talented musicians.


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