In a stellar collaboration with Louis Vuitton, DA MAN reunites with multihyphenate Al Ghazali to explore his latest endeavors
French philosopher Denis Diderot once said that great passions can elevate the soul to great things, and Al Ghazali is living proof of that. Having been in the entertainment industry of Indonesia for years, Al—as he is popularly called—is a young acting sensation with a stellar filmography, having starred in various drama and horror titles. Born in a family of musicians, the 26-year-old actor is also blessed with musical talent.
Last year, DA MAN met Al in a colorful collaboration with Louis Vuitton. This time, Al returns to grace the cover of our October/November 2023 issue as we come full circle in another team-up with the French maison in this fashionable rendezvous.
Our conversation begins with the latest update on Al’s acting journey. Back during our first meeting, Al mentioned his involvement in a new series, which turned out to be “Virgin Mom.” Aired in May 2022, the series stars Amanda Rawles as Kanaya, a badminton athlete who gets pregnant due to a medical error. Al plays Dafa, Kanaya’s love interest. This August, however, Al surprised fans with his appearance in “Virgin Mom 2,” where he reprises his role as Dafa. “What I’m most excited about is the plot. It’s very complex,” he shares. “The sequel highlights more family secrets. We will reveal all those things. There will also be a surprise in the last episode.”
As the plot develops, Al’s character also evolves. He recalls how Dafa grows throughout the first series’ ten episodes. “At the beginning of ‘Virgin Mom 1,’ Dafa is a rather cold person with a closed heart, but after meeting Kanaya, he manages to open up,” Al explains. The sequel, however, presented quite the challenge for Al as his character goes through frequent mood changes. “At times, he is depicted as angry and irritable but also happy. So, yeah, it’s pretty much an emotional roller coaster,” he adds.
As it happens, this year also marks a stroke of serendipity for the actor. Following the success of “Virgin Mom 2,” Al was cast in an upcoming series titled “Cinta Pertama.” “The series does not deal with, you know, teenage romance,” he shares. “I would say it is more about a parent’s love for their children. I play a unique character in this series—different from those I have played before.”
With a new project comes new challenges and “Cinta Pertama” is no exception as Al is forced to work outside of his comfort zone and beyond his repertoire. “Actually, I took this role because it is so different. I find certain traits or elements of this character relatable, but others not,” says Al. “Preparing for this project was pretty difficult and tedious. Some aspects were truly challenging.”
The conversation then veered to Al’s music journey. Growing up in a family of musical virtuosos made it natural for Al to develop a passion for music. He formed a rock band called Lucky Laki with his younger siblings El Rumi and Dul Jaelani in 2009. The band rose to fame with a single titled “Superman,” composed by their father, Ahmad Dhani, who was the frontman of Indonesian rock band Dewa 19.
More than a decade after Lucky Laki’s establishment, the band released a new single titled “Pantaskah” in May this year. After several formation changes, the band now performs as a quartet, with Timur Zavier—known also as Zavi—as guitarist. “We are still actively promoting our single on the radio,” Al shares. “There are also some upcoming gigs.” Besides performing with Lucky Laki, Al also finds joy in DJing as he has a certain fondness for electronic dance music and likes showcasing his skills on the turntable. In our previous conversation, Al noted that his fascination with DJing traces back to his junior high school years when he tried his hand at becoming a DJ for a Halloween party.
“Sure, DJing is fun, too, but performing with a band presents more colors to me”
Having accumulated years of experience, Al has seen a change in his musical direction. Along the way, elements from other genres influenced his music. Rock was arguably his first love, a nod to the genre that his father is synonymous with. “Back when I was a kid, I was into metal music. I loved all things rock. But as I grew up, I began to like electronic music, eventually becoming a DJ,” he recounts. “At one point, I even ‘returned’ to the ’60s, listening to bands like The Beatles.”
When asked about his muses, Al named Coldplay as his favorite. “Their songs are well received by many, including new generations. Coldplay also incorporates elements of EDM into their music. I look up to them.” When asked to choose between DJing and performing in a band, Al revealed that he prefers the latter. For him, band performances offer him greater musical variety. “We have a guitarist, a bassist, a drummer and a vocalist. We can sing while playing our musical instruments,” says AI. “Sure, DJing is fun, too, but performing with a band presents more colors to me.” Each performance with Lucky Laki has also served as an opportunity to meet and interact with a much wider audience. “When performing with the band, I can see the fans of El, Dul and Zavi as well,” he adds.
Unsurprisingly, Al has rocked amazing stages with Lucky Laki. A concert with Dewa 19 was one of his most memorable experiences. “Being able to perform in front of eighty thousand people … it was truly an unforgettable moment,” Al reminisces. “We had never performed for such a massive audience before, but we managed to give our best.” Another concert at a shopping mall in Yogyakarta was also etched in the young musician’s mind. “We didn’t expect the crowd to be so lovely,” he recalls. “They sang along and danced with us.”
Being an actor and a musician, Al knows well the importance of maintaining his appearance. He has graced various publications and media pages, showcasing a wide range of styles. That being said, he follows two basic principles when it comes to picking outfits. “They have to be stylish,” he elaborates, “but comfort and simplicity play an important role.”
“Being able to perform in front of eighty thousand people… it was truly an unforgettable moment. We had never performed for such a massive audience before, but we managed to give our best”
To craft his personal aesthetics, Al takes inspiration from a myriad of figures. For instance, Portuguese soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo is one of his fashion muses. “I used to look up to him and follow his style,” he recalls. “He is not just a soccer player; he is my role model.” Al also names Irish actor Cillian Murphy as an inspiration, adding” “I like his styles in some of the photos I’ve seen, especially when he wears his hair in a messy style.”
For this photoshoot with Louis Vuitton, we invited Al to discover the house’s newest sartorial creation that merge classy casual aesthetics with a Parisian flair. He particularly favored the ensemble comprising of a noir Monogram Short-Sleeved Chambray Shirt and Checked Denim Shorts, perfectly paired with LV Skater Sneakers. “This is so me,” AI comments. “Shorts and a shirt, this is my style. And it’s also comfortable to wear. Again, comfort is a huge priority for me.” As the cherry on top, Al wears a Monogram Tied Up Necklace.
As we neared the end of our rendezvous, Al took the time to talk about his future projects. For starters, there’s a movie coming out with him in it. And then, together with Lucky Laki, he will release another new single while keeping a lookout for new collaborations. “We would love to collaborate with other musicians and invite guest vocalists.”
Finally, Al shares his hopes for his future career and personal growth. “I want to release a full album with Lucky Laki. We have never released one, so it would be nice to do it. At least an EP,” he points out. In addition, Al is hoping to dive into new businesses and expand his portfolio. Following his venture into a mini-soccer business, he now looks forward to embracing new opportunities in other sports or fields. “Probably badminton or something else, but in the meantime, I am going to focus on music,” AI says in closing.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY IKMAL AFWAR
STYLING ALLYSHA NILA
Photography Assistant Mandra
Styling Assistants Bagoes Abyoso & Larissa Atmawati
Digital Imaging Artist Satriya Wildan
SHARE THIS ARTICLE