A Way Back into Finding Yourself with Saykoji and Tessy Penyami

A Way Back into Finding Yourself with Saykoji and Tessy Penyami

Saykoji in V_Dragon Surgical Series and Tessy Penyami in Opera Girl Surgical Series, both masks are from masklab x Vivienne Tam

Earlier this month, masklab had the opportunity to catch up with one of Indonesia’s beloved rappers who tells stories that are close to the heart of young generations, Saykoji. Talking about #RedefineTheNewNormal, the rapper who recently performed for the closing night of PON XX Papua 2021 shares his unique point of view with his wife and photographer Tessy Penyami.  

Known for his witty lyrics such as “Online” and “So What Gitu Loh,” this year, Saykoji is back with his latest single “$IDEHUSTLE” which hits 5 million views and counting on YouTube. For the latter, Saykoji reunited with his hero, Iwa K.

Saykoji keeps his support system tight especially during these trying times, including the beautiful bond he makes with his wife Tessy Penyami. As a photographer, Tessy also finds her mission to encourage self-love by capturing moments as it is.

As the pandemic urges people to go back to reality and reminds you about what’s fundamentally important in your life, get some fresh perspectives from the lovely couple. Dive into our #RedefineTheNewNormal conversation with Saykoji and Tessy:

masklab (m): Hi Saykoji and Tessy! How have you been doing in the last couple of months so far?

Saykoji & Tessy (S&T): Doing great! Busy slowly going back to kids school schedules, Jakarta's traffic, and photo gigs and shows are coming back.

m: “Biar sama pendapatan gue bisa balikan,” is an interesting phrase from the “$IDEHUSTLE.” The song hits 5 million views already on YouTube! How did you, Iwa K and Ras Muhamad come up with the single?

S: The music for that song has been available for at least two years. I made that music and sent it to Ras Muhamad way before the pandemic. But when the whole thing started, I felt that I could breathe new ideas into this music.

Inspired by what many musicians are experiencing at the moment, and knowing that both Iwa K and Ras Muhamad have their own perspectives during these trying times, it felt like something that needed to happen. So I made my verses, wrote the chorus, sent the music for the other two artists to record, and we have $IDEHUSTLE.

Saykoji in #StopAsianHate KF Series

m: Regarding coping with the new normal, what is the most essential thing to remember daily today and in the future?

S&T: Make the best out of your day, we are not in control of what is considered to be normal, but we are in charge of our own thoughts to be our best of the day.

m: What would be the biggest challenge you both see today in terms of being in public and interacting with each other now that more adult people have been vaccinated and schools reopened?

S&T: Keeping people have a healthy mindset in the midst of collective safe-feeling after the vaccinations. Make sure our kids are safe when they're going back to school.

m: Talking about mental health, what was on top of your mind, now that we’re pushed to have another look at our physical and mental wellness state when you first hear of a large-scale restriction in Indonesia?

S&T: It's an issue that most of us sometimes don't take seriously. It's amazing to understand that mental health and the idea of being free to have activities are very connected. Especially when we're not able to socialize in real life, but social media does not stop. Sometimes the feeling of being trapped where we are and peering into other people's life non-stop becomes one of the causes of mental health issues.

Tessy Penyami in Opera Girl Surgical Series from masklab x Vivienne Tam 

m: Recently, Raben and you are bringing up “Sotoy, I Am” again. A verse from the song is “Jangan mikirin uang melulu, asal talenta yang elo butuh.” What do you have in mind for this song?

S&T: When you want to pursue something, have an idea of what kind of growth you want to have personally-not just focusing on getting money. Basically, my part of the song means, when you have a competent mindset, even when you're still in the beginning phase, eventually you will grow into it. Sharpen the skills, focusing on growth. Wealth is just a bonus of the journey.

m: Tessy, you’ve created memorable images for the newlyweds and communities through Ask for Moments. In your bio, you say “Helping others to feel free, accept & love themselves.” Why do you think that people still need to feel free, accept & love themselves today?

T: As a photographer who also edits, I’ve met many clients who want to hide their insecurity. Like asking me to edit their scars, make them look thinner or make their face look skinnier.

Not that I don’t do that for them. Yes, I do edit for commercial purposes but for portraitures, pre-wedding pictures, I mostly capture their soul, their inner beauty, the way they smile, or their expression about the way they feel about their partner.

Especially for a boudoir session, I have to make them comfortable. That’s why, I have to help them lift up their spirit, by helping them to have self-acceptance.

Anezka Gabrielle in Urban Marble Junior Surgical Series

m: More about parenting, what’d be your advice to build a harmonious family?

S&T: Communicate, love, serve, and learn to forgive yourself and each other.

m: Corrie ten Boom, a woman who harbored hundreds of Jewish people in her home during World War II, said in her book Jesus Is Victor, “Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible.” What would be your take on faith these days?

S&T: Faith is knowing that Love is going to win. Maybe it's not me, not the financial situation, or maybe not my health. But in the midst of it all, knowing that Faith brings Hope that makes Love giving meaning into everything we go through in life.

Ariana Charlotte Penyami in Lazy Sloth Junior Surgical Series

m: Lastly, to all the kids who are currently living under limitations of the pandemic, what would you both say to them in order to keep their spirit up and creative everyday?

S&T: It's okay to be sad, it's human. Emotions are there so that we can feel what it’s like to be alive. Creativity comes when we are able to summarize our feelings and turn them into something meaningful. If you are limited, and/or hurting, it means you're experiencing life. And a real-life experience makes great wisdom, let it inspire you.


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