Accompanied by the blood coloured trees rustling in the Rotterdam winds, I had the opportunity to interview Giani Kasanmonadi, an 18 year-old IBCoM first year student who has been living in Netherlands his entire life. His mother is from Curaçao and his father from Indonesia – an interesting cultural blend.
“My mother really instilled the Caribbean culture in me and my siblings. So my values and how I think is really Caribbean, but at the same time I have the ‘chillness’ from my dad’s side. I don’t know as much about Indonesia – and I really do wanna go there and learn about the culture someday,” he tells me.
How could one talk about culture – especially Caribbean culture, and not ask about food? “My dad and my mom are amazing chefs. Caribbean food is amazing – I can make some food, nothing fancy though. I can make ‘funchi’, which is like a dough made out of corn that is oven baked, and then fried. You eat it with cheese on it or really however you prefer. I’m not a huge fan of Dutch food, however.”
Giani is also a musician – and in my opinion, a really talented one. His songs are played pretty often on my Spotify playlists as well. I was interested in knowing why he decided to study IBCoM rather than get professional music training. “I read about the IBCoM programme somewhere, then visited the open house, and I felt really connected with what the programme stood for. It teaches people about life, as in, it’s about things [in communication] that people kind of already know, but it makes us analyse them. Music programmes focus a lot of classical training, and the music I like to make is more about emotion than the mathematical formulas behind them. I might not be able to use the kind of music they teach me, but I know what I learn at IBCoM I’d be able to use even in my personal life.”
His interest in music started when he was young and now Giani, known as Sanguino on Spotify, has an album coming out later this year. “It started out as a hobby cause I’ve been making music almost all my life, I’ve played piano since I was seven, and I’ve been singing with my brother and my little sister all my life. There was this moment when I was around 8 years old and my dad said ‘You know you can’t sing, right?’ and when I heard that, that was the moment when I decided that I needed to prove him wrong. So I started practicing a lot, and it wasn’t until I was 15 – because I used to write a lot of rap lyrics and stuff, a friend of mine told me he knew a place we could just lay the lyrics down and then put them on a track so I decided yeah, okay, this is a great opportunity. I realised I liked singing a lot more than rapping, and that is when I really started writing actual songs, and that’s where it all started, I guess.”
When asked about his journey as a music artist, he told me about becoming a Spotify artist. “First [Sanguino] started with Soundcloud – which is another music streaming website. And then, [my] producer was like ‘We should try to get on Spotify.’ So we tried to connect to the right people and tried to do a bunch of things, and eventually, yeah. Sometimes even when I click on Spotify now and see my own name [as an artist], I feel like yo, what the hell, how is it possible?”
His stage name is Sanguino, derived from the Latin word for blood. “To be honest, the name [Sanguino] doesn’t really have a meaning. I was just scrolling through a Latin dictionary – because I had to take Latin in school – and I loved how it sounded. Like an Italian fashion brand, kind of ‘bougie’.” The word ‘sanguine’ also means positive, which I think is a perfect word to describe Giani.
His album comes out late November, so be sure to check him out on Spotify!