In 2003, she released her fourth studio album And the Story Goes, which marked her transition from a child singer to a female artist. On her fifth studio album, Whaddup A.. '?! (2005), she collaborated with American R&B singer Keith Martin. She also appeared in two Taiwanese drama series, The Hospital and Romance In the White House. She participated in the 2008 and 2009 Asia Song Festival in Seoul, South Korea, and received "Best Asian Artist Award" at each event. Agnes took creative control of her sixth studio album, Sacredly Agnezious (2009), for which she served as the producer and songwriter. In 2010, she was appointed as one of the judges on the talent show Indonesian Idol and was also one of the international hosts of the red carpet at the American Music Awards of 2010 in Los Angeles.
In addition to her commercial success, Agnes is the most-awarded Indonesian singer. She has received numerous awards, including ten Anugerah Musik Indonesia awards, seven Panasonic Awards, and four MTV Indonesia Awards. She was also honored with a Nugraha Bhakti Musik Indonesia (NBMI) from the Indonesian Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Singers, Songwriters, and Music Record Producers Association of Indonesia (PAPPRI) for her contribution and support for the Indonesian music industry. She was also appointed as an anti-drug ambassador of Asia, and as the ambassador of MTV EXIT to combat human trafficking.
Throughout her career, she has often been controversial in Indonesia. When she was a teenager, her frequent comments about her goal to break into the international market was viewed by some as a pompous proclamation. In 2010, however, she signed with Sony/ATV Music Publishing and began work on a debut English studio album. Consequently, her slogan "Dream, Believe, and Make it Happen" was used in a 2011 cultural conference to inspire young people organized by the US Embassy in Jakarta.
1986–2002: Childhood and early career
Agnes Monica was born in Jakarta, Indonesia, on 1 July 1986 to a Yang family of Chinese ancestry. She is the youngest child of Jenny Siswono, a former table tennis player, and Ricky Muljoto, a former badminton player. Her older brother, Steve Muljoto, is her manager. She attended Tarakanita elementary school and Pelita Harapan junior high school. Her talent for the performing arts was evident in her childhood, especially in singing; she sang in church and attended vocal courses.
Agnes entered the entertainment industry in 1992, when she was six years old, and released her first children's album, Si Meong. In 1995, she released her second children's album, Yess!, which includes a duet with fellow Indonesian child singer Eza Yayang. Her last children's album, Bala-Bala, was released the following year. Agnes also became the host for several children's programs, including Video Anak Anteve (VAN) on Anteve, Tralala-Trilili on RCTI, and Diva Romeo on Trans TV. She was awarded "Most Favorite Presenter of Children's Program" at the Panasonic Awards in 1999 and 2000 for Tralala-Trilili.
Agnes began acting as a teenager. Her first two roles were on the soap operas Lupus Millennia and Mr Hologram in 1999. The next year, she starred in the TV series Pernikahan Dini, which served as a turning point in her career by transforming her image from that of a child artist to one of a teenage artist. The production was well received by audiences, and she received the "Favorite Actress" award at the 2001 and 2002 Panasonic Awards, as well as the "Popular Actress" award at the 2002 SCTV Awards. In 2002, Agnes starred in three soap operas, Ciuman Pertama, Kejar Daku Kau Ku Tangkap, and Amanda. Due to her popularity, she became the highest-paid teenage artist in Indonesia.
Agnes also recorded songs in her early teens, including "Pernikahan Dini" and "Seputih Hati" for the soundtrack of Pernikahan Dini, both of which are featured on the 2001 compilation album Love Theme. The following year, she collaborated with the Indonesian senior singer Yana Julio in the song "Awan dan Ombak" for his studio album Jumpa Lagi.[
2003–2004: And The Story Goes
On 8 October 2003, Agnes released her first adult album, And the Story Goes. In this album, she worked with several famed Indonesian producers and songwriters, including Ahmad Dhani, Melly Goeslaw, and Titi DJ. The album production took a year and a half, including the audition process for the dancers. According to her record label, Aquarius Musikindo, the album sold 35,000 copies before its official release. It was later certified double platinum after selling more than 300,000 copies. The album won three awards after receiving ten nominations at the 2004 Anugerah Musik Indonesia Awards—the highest music awards in Indonesia. They were "Best Female Solo Pop Artist" for the song "Jera", "Best Dance/Techno Production" for the song "Bilang Saja", and "Best Duo/Group" for her duet with Ahmad Dhani in "Cinta Mati". She also won "Best Female Newcomer" at the 2004 Anugerah Planet Muzik awards in Singapore. Because of her success at a young age, she was dubbed a "Young Diva" by members of the media. At this point, she started broaching the idea of an international career.
In addition to promoting her debut album, Agnes also starred in several TV series during this time, playing the lead role in three: Cewekku Jutek, Bunga Perawan, and Cantik. She won "Favorite Actress" at the 2003 Panasonic Awards and "Famous Actress" at 2004 SCTV Awards.
In 2004, after graduating from Pelita Harapan senior high school, Agnes enrolled at Pelita Harapan University, where she majored in Business Law.
2005–2007: Whaddup A.. '?!
Agnes launched her second studio album, Whaddup A.. '?!, on 10 December 2005. It featured five singles: "Bukan Milikmu Lagi", "Tanpa Kekasihku", "Tak Ada Logika", "Cinta Di Ujung Jalan", and "Tak Mungkin". In addition to working with Indonesian musicians such as Melly Goeslaw, Andi Rianto, and Erwin Gutawa, she also collaborated with American singer-songwriter Keith Martin. Martin wrote two English songs for the album, including the duet "I'll Light a Candle". To promote the album, Agnes held a concert tour known as Clasnezenzation in four Indonesian cities: Bandar Lampung, Surabaya, Bandung, and Makassar. The album was commercially successful and she won two 2006 Anugerah Musik Indonesia awards for "Best Female Pop Artist" and "Best R&B Production". She also won the "Most Favorite Female" award at the 2006 MTV Indonesia Awards. She was nominated for "Favorite Indonesian Artist" award at the MTV Asia Awards 2005 (beaten by Peterpan) but, she grabs the youngest artist of all nominees in Asian category. Selling more than 450,000 copies, the album was one of the top-selling albums of 2006 and was certified triple platinum.
In 2005, Agnes appeared in the Taiwanese drama The Hospital, co-starring with Jerry Yan, a member of the Taiwanese boyband F4. She also appeared with Peter Ho in several episodes of the Taiwanese drama Romance in the White House, and starred in two Indonesian soap operas, Ku Tlah Jatuh Cinta and Pink, both televised on Indosiar. In 2006, she starred in the RCTI soap opera Kawin Muda. She also decided to take a break from her education that year to focus on her entertainment career.
In early 2007, Agnes was appointed by the United States of America's Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the International Drug Enforcement Conference (IDEC) Far East Region as an Asian anti-drug ambassador. On 15 May 2007, she was an opening act for American R&B group Boyz II Men at a concert in Istora Senayan, Jakarta, and on 23 June of that year, she held her first concert at Stadium Negara in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She also guest starred in the finale of Asian Idol on 16 December 2007, and performed the song "Get Up".
2008–2009: Sacredly Agnezious
In 2008, Agnes began working on her third studio album. She released the first single, "Matahariku", earlier than she had planned. It became her best-selling single, with sales of three million ringback tone downloads within nine months. The song received the "Most Favorite Female" award at the 2008 MTV Indonesia Awards and the "Best Female Solo Pop Artist" award at the 2009 Anugerah Musik Indonesia awards. In September 2008, she released the second single, "Godai Aku Lagi", which she wrote herself. She also released a mini album containing the two singles. That same year she starred in the RCTI soap opera Jelita.
On 4 October 2008, Agnes was invited as the Indonesian representative at the Asia Song Festival. The event was organized by the Korea Foundation for International Culture Exchange in Seoul, South Korea. She performed with 24 artists from 12 Asian countries. The event was viewed by an audience of 35,000 at the Seoul World Cup Stadium and was broadcast in 30 countries. She performed two of her songs, "Godai Aku Lagi" and "Shake It Off". During the performance, she incorporated elements of Indonesian traditional dance from Bali. Her performance received positive responses from the Korean media and won the committee's "Best Asian Artist Award". The following year, she was invited again and performed three songs: "Shake It Off", "Temperature", and Michael Jackson's "Heal the World". This time, 14 artists from across Asia participated and it was viewed by an audience of 40,000. As was the case with her previous performance, Agnes received good reviews and earned the "Best Asian Artist Award".
Agnes launched her third studio album on 1 April 2009, Sacredly Agnezious. This time, she was involved more in the album production. She worked with the renowned musicians Erwin Gutawa, Dewiq, Pay, and DJ Sumantri. She also acted as producer and songwriter. In addition to the two previous singles, "Matahariku" and "Godai Aku Lagi", she produced two more singles: "Teruskanlah" and "Janji–Janji". At the 2010 Anugerah Musik Indonesia awards, she won three awards: "Best Pop Album", "Best Female Pop Solo Artist", and "Best of the Best Album". On 23 May 2009, she appeared as a guest star at the "Festival of Life" in Bali. The celebration commemorated the 50-year anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Indonesia and Japan.
Having already taken an extended break from the Pelita Harapan University, Agnes withdrew from the school. She then began taking distance education classes as a Political Science major at Oregon State University.
2010–present: Upcoming international project
In 2010 Agnes served as a judge on Indonesian Idol season 6. Her selection for the panel caused controversy because of her age. That year, she was also appointed as an ambassador of the MTV EXIT (End Exploitation and Trafficking) organization, which combats human trafficking, for which she performed at benefit concerts in Surabaya and Jakarta.
In late 2010, Agnes experienced a breakthrough into the international market when she was chosen as an international red carpet host for the annual American Music Awards on 21 November 2010 at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. Several months later, she announced that she had signed to Sony/ATV Music Publishing and was working on her debut English studio album in London and Los Angeles. In early 2011, she also recorded a duet version of "Said I Loved You...But I Lied" with the American singer Michael Bolton for his compilation album, Gems: The Duets Album. The duet was released in the album's international version in Asia. The next year, she was nominated in the Worldwide Acts Asia Pacific Nominees category for the 2011 MTV Europe Music Awards. Consequently, her slogan "Dream, Believe, and Make it Happen" was used in a 2011 cultural conference to inspire young people organized by the US Embassy in Jakarta.
Agnes released a greatest hits album Agnes Is My Name on 2 February 2011. The album compiled her top hit singles and two new songs, "Karena Ku Sanggup" and "Paralyzed". The release was specially through KFC's Indonesian branch and was not released in CD stores nationwide except for a separate Malaysian release done months later. The album was free with every meal purchase. The album sold one million copies in three months, earning her the "Million Awards" award from Indonesian KFC, which marketed the album with their chicken meals and/or separate CD purchase on-counter. "Karena Ku Sanggup" won her the "Best Pop Female Singer" award at the 2011 AMI Awards. She also won the "Most Inbox Video Clip" award at the 2011 Inbox Awards. The award, presented by SCTV, was given for the song "Paralyzed", which was made in Indonesia and the United States.
Agnes was selected as a performer for the 26th SEA Games 2011 Opening Ceremony, with KC Concepcion from the Philippines and the Malaysian singer Jaclyn Victor. Their performance of "Together We Will Shine" was the highlight of the event.
In early 2012 Agnes returned as judge for Indonesian Idol season 7. She's pending her international album for the Idol deal.
In March 2012 she was nominated for the American Nickleodeon Kids Choice Awards 2012 of new category Favorite Asian Act.
Her single, titled "Muda" was released on 9 November 2012. Her song is available for free, but the free, legal download is limited to simPATI subscribers.
Agnes has been noted as a powerful soprano with a range of five octaves. Her songs can be classified as pop, R&B, or hip-hop, and she has named Aretha Franklin, Jill Scott, Angie Stone, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Fantasia, and Beyoncé as her musical influences,. In addition to her singing talent, she is also known as a strong dancer and actress. She is the first Indonesian soloist with a personal dance group, known as Nezindahood. They auditioned during the development of her first album in 2003. She has also written some of her songs and produced her own music videos. She has been described as a perfectionist with a variety of talents by Indonesian commentators.
Honors and awards
Main article: List of awards received by Agnes Monica
Agnes has become the most-awarded Indonesia singer. Notable awards she has won include ten Anugerah Musik Indonesia, seven Panasonic Awards, and four MTV Indonesia Awards. She has also received many international awards, including an Anugerah Planet Muzik award and two Best Asian Artist Awards. For her contribution and support to Indonesian music, she was given the 2011 Nugraha Bhakti Musik Indonesia (NBMI) award from The Minister of Culture and Tourism and Association of Indonesian Singers, Songwriters and Music Record Producers.Until today Agnes Monica often win Indonesia Nickelodeon Kid Choice Award as most inspiring actress.