Pop singer Agnez Mo was at the top of her game in Indonesia when she decided to give it all up for a career in Hollywood.
After spending years building her music career from the ground up and winning 18 Anugerah Muzik Indonesia trophies along the way, Agnes Monica Muljoto – who goes by the stage name Agnez Mo – moved to Los Angeles in 2013.
In an e-mail interview with Star2, the 32-year-old shares why she decided to take the leap of faith.
“The main reason is for me to LEARN from the best. Learning to be a better artiste, learning from people who are better, appreciating the journey and not get stuck on the current success.
“I think it was more about taking responsibility of the talent that I have. I always feel that when God gives you blessings and talents, there’s a responsibility for you to mould it and elevate it to the next level.”
Mo recalls starting from scratch during her early days in Hollywood: “It was definitely different because I literally started by not knowing anybody. I didn’t have any management there, a label or anything. It was not like my management (in Indonesia) has a US branch or anything. Like no help. Nothing.”
Not having the superstar status she enjoyed in her home country gave Mo the opportunity to learn everything on her own.
She notes: “But that’s the cool part of it and that’s the reason why I was doing it in the first place. I wanted to learn. So I learned. Learning new things is always hard. But if you’re looking for something easy, you should just not do anything at all.”
It took four years before the Jakarta-native released her debut international album, 2017’s X.
“Dreams are what drive me. Faith is what keeps me going.
“I do the best, and God does the rest. I always have that faith. I never blame other people for what I don’t have. I don’t give myself excuses. I learn and enjoy the journey,” she shares what kept her going during the tough times.
The music video of Long As I Get Paid, her lead single off X, garnered over five million YouTube views within just four days.
Mo even incorporated her Indonesian heritage in the video through the clothes she wore, notably, the long, luxurious batik cape draped over her shoulders.
“It comes naturally to me,” she comments about infusing her Indonesian roots.
Mo recently collaborated with R&B and hip-hop sensation Chris Brown on the sultry love song, Overdose.
“I think he’s one of the most hard working artistes I have ever worked with. The reason why we connect so well in our project is because we believe and focus on our art. We’re not ‘celebrities’. We’re not doing it for the fame, for the money. We’re doing it for the art,” she talks about working with Brown.
Overdose won’t be the last of Mo and Brown’s partnership. Asked about her future projects, the singer offers: “There is still a project with Chris that we’re planning on releasing. And also my own project, an album.”