Rulyabii Margana: A Tale of a Former Model with a Voice of Gold

Rulyabii - Musisi Indonesia - Musician - Irene Simbolon - Fashion Blog - 5th and Batavia

Rulyabii Margana is a perfect example of someone who always follows his long-life passions no matter where the road takes him. From modeling to enrolling at the Indonesian Police Academy, Rulyabii went through quite obstacles and challenging times to be where he is now: a rising star in the Indonesian music industry.

Rulyabii was born and raised in Sumedang, West Java, Indonesia. Blessed with good looks and naturally knows how to command a room with his presence, he started in the entertainment industry as a model (without his knowledge, his older siblings sent a modeling competition application to Aneka Yes! magazine, in which Rulyabii won to represent the West Java province), though his parents initially did not approve of his career choice and preferred him to be a cop. In our phone interview, Rulyabii told me that there was a long period when he and his family went their separate ways; after more than a year, his family accidentally saw him on TV when Rulyabii was performing with other musicians. Touched by his talents and passion, at last, his parents gave Rulyabii their blessings and have been supporting him ever since.

During 2012-2013, in addition to singing, Rulyabii was at the height of his modelling career: From walking on Indonesia Fashion Week runways, to being an ambassador of clothing brands and featured on magazine and billboard ads; not to mention, Rulyabii was making guest-appearances in a few Indonesian sitcoms, and was offered to be a supporting actor in a successful Indonesian movie, Jakarta Undercover, in which he sadly had to pass. He was often asked what his focus was, as he was doing all of these at the same time. "I needed the money," Rulyabii would blatantly answer, but singing is where where he found his true love.

Rulyabii - Musisi Indonesia - Musician - Irene Simbolon - Fashion Blog - 5th and Batavia
Indonesian Musician, Rulyabii / photo: Rulyabii Instagram @rulyabiiofficial27

And so he began focusing on his singing career in 2012 when he started doing a studio recording and tours in a few countries in South East Asia. From collaborating in a group vocal as well as doing a duet with Indonesian musicians, to singing with Keith Martin for Garuda 7 soundtrack, the road to Rulyabii's current solo success was not short of obstacles. But his perseverance, family's support, and love of music opened the door to better opportunities.


During New York Fashion Week in September 2016, Rulyabii had the opportunity to perform at the Couture Fashion Show, serenading models walking on the runway with his raspy beautiful voice. This experience was his first performance beyond the Asian territory; to him, it was one of the biggest highlights of his singing career. "After the performance, the audience gave me a standing ovation, and a few even went backstage just to congratulate me and let me know that they loved the performance and my voice," says Rulyabii. It was people's appreciation that gave him the extra confidence to keep moving forward.

Rulyabii - Musisi Indonesia - Musician - Irene Simbolon - Fashion Blog - 5th and Batavia
Indonesian Musician, Rulyabii / photo: Rulyabii Instagram @rulyabiiofficial27

As he just released his first single "Kau Ku Cinta" (translation: you, I love), Rulyabii's schedule is currently filled with radio promotion and tours across Indonesia (in fact, as I was interviewing him, he was a few hours away from his show in the city of Yogyakarta, Central Java, Indonesia). Rulyabii's wife, Indonesian couture designer Mira Indria, was the inspiration of this beautiful song, and naturally, he dedicated the song to Mira. Many Indonesian music critics praised the song and they agreed that Rulyabii's personality and characters are more palpable now that he is pursuing a solo career.


Youtube: Seven Music Indonesia Channel


Although his genre is popular music, as a talented musician, Rulyabii can sing anything and everything - of course when he does, his raspy-trademark voice always presents. He has done cover songs of other musicians', be it from Indonesia or the United States. Recently through Smule, Rulyabii was performing a beautiful duet with Anji, singing Anji's popular song, "DIA". (And yes, I got goosebumps watching and listening to both of these amazing talents!).

With his golden voice and dedication to keep pursuing his childhood dream, Rulyabii will go far in the Indonesian music industry and beyond. Just like New Yorkers who witnessed his fantastic, heart-felt performance at the Couture Fashion Show, I can't wait for Rulyabii Margana to sing on New York stages again!

To listen to Abi's songs and covers, subscribe to his Youtube page, or follow him on Instagram.

All photos by 5th & Batavia (except credits on caption) |
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