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By Zubir Mohd Yunus

THE odds seem to be against Kris Dayanti. For one, the 24-year-old Indonesian singer is married, which may alienate some of her male fans. Indonesia's economic and social turmoil also makes it seem like selling albums would be an impossible task.

And on a personal level, she smokes and eats oily stuff. (She had
brought some from Indonesia which she insisted we taste.) Definitely bad for the voice, some would argue. Yet, she has survived it all.

She is currently the hottest thing in Indonesia, her marriage is blessed (she has a seven-month-old son, Titania Aureli Hermanshah) and even though Indonesia is bugged with major economic problems, her latest album, (released here as ) still sold 350,000 units!

"It proves that marriage is no obstacle to success. People say (If I'm married, I'm finished.) But look, on the contrary, I'm reaping the reward snow!

"Maybe my son is giving me luck. Whatever it is, I'm touched and honoured by the response to. My fans don't have the money to buy food, yet they buy my cassettes.

"That's even more meaningful. After a while, people are sick of politics and seek entertainment to relieve the stress. It shows that they also need food for the soul," says Kris.

Kris started very early as a singer. At six, she travelled from East
Java to Jakarta to take part in song festivals. At nine, she recorded her first album singing children songs.

Then, she entered the first series of in 1992 and became the champion. She was immediately signed by Pony Canyon as part of the prize. (Kris signed with Warner after the contract expired.)

Her sister Yuni Shara, 27, is also successful in Indonesia. And so too is her 26-year-old husband, singer/composer Anang Hermanshah, who accompanied her to Malaysia.

"I grew up at the (clubs) in Indonesia. And that was when I got my first exposure and harboured hopes of becoming a singer some day.

"When I finally became one, I wanted to be the number one. I wanted to be talked about. I wanted people to go back with stories about my performance," says Kris.

How does she review her performance? Does she discuss this with say, her manager? Kris was quick to point out the importance of having a husband like Anang.
"He is my best critic. He hardly gives me compliments! Because he doesn't praise me that much, when he does, it means a lot," says Kris.

Kris, who brought 20 pairs of Prada shoes with her, adds, her husband often tells: "You don't need to wear Prada to get noticed. You are already a brand name. Maintain that and you will still arrest their attention."

Menghitung Hari released here by Warner, also features two songs by composers Johan Nawawi (Jangan Biarkan) and Ajai (Hati Ini Telah Dilukai). Kris' next project may involve Anuar Zain.

So, is there a possibility of a duet with Anang?

"We are from two different companies, Warner and Polygram. And to strike a deal needs a lot of time and planning. However, we will do a duet this year, provided there are no hiccups," says Kris.
If you had watched the recent Anugerah Industri Muzik 1999 (AIM), you'd have observed how, besides that crystal clear, husky and sexy voice, Kris, who walked away with the award at the event, sings not only with her vocals but her eyes too. As she scales the low notes, her eyes wander at the crowd coyly and naughtily.

"Most singers can not only sing very well, they are also beautiful. The only thing is, they don't sing from the heart. A song is more 'alive' when you sing it from the heart... and not many can do that," says Kris who admires Sheila Majid, Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey.

"Once I'm on stage, I'd assess the situation, the audience and its emotional level. I'd follow my instincts and if I feel they prefer to listen, I'd do slow numbers. If they are restless and fidgety, I'd do fast numbers.

"It's also important to give your own imput, especially if you sing someone else's song. Make sure you put your own style or trademark in it," says Kris.

Career, marriage, husband and son. How does she maintain everything and still look good ?

"Exercise !" says Kris in typical Java slang and points naughtily at her husband.