Dewa 19 (pronounced “Dewa Sembilan Belas” in Indonesian) has always been known for its powerful vocalists – so when singer Marcello Tahitoe AKA Ello announced he would be joining the iconic rock band as their new vocalist this weekend, Indonesians were rightly surprised. .
The 39-year-old singer took to Instagram yesterday to express his gratitude, along with a number of photos of himself performing with main creative force and founding member of Dewa 19, Ahmad Dhani.
“I never expected to be able to join @officialdewa19. For a long time I only listened and idolized their works, but I finally got this opportunity. It’s like a dream. I know for sure that I don’t I will never be able to replace their old singers, but I will give my best for this group. And for my new family @baladewafamilia, I ask for your support to start my new life journey with you, “Ello wrote in the caption.
Petra, Ello’s manager, said the singer has actually been affiliated with Dewa 19 since October last year after Dhani invited him to perform together.
“He joined [the band] but he is not in Dewa 19 [main] structure. Ello can still do his solo projects, singing his own songs,” said Petra, adding that Ello is one of the many rotating vocalists in the group, like fellow soloists Virzha and Pamungkas.
Ello said he started learning how to perform old Dewa 19 songs for future gigs. The group, whose catalog dates back to 1992, will also embark on a new project specifically with Ello.
The son of musician-songwriter Minggus Tahitoe and the late pop singer Diana Nasution, Ello shot to fame in 2005 with a single titled Pergi Untuk Kembali (Leaving to Return), which was an old song written by his father. Pergi Untuk Kembali was initially popularized by legendary singers such as Melky Goeslaw and Broery Marantika. Ello’s version of the evergreen song received positive reviews and catapulted her debut.
Ello has released six albums so far. He changed his musical direction from pop and R&B to rock in 2015 and started performing under his birth name, Marcello Tahitoe, while changing his clean appearance to a more grungy look with long hair.
The Dewa 19 project is the last step towards the redemption of the musician’s career. Ello made national headlines when he was convicted of weed possession in 2017, after which he was sent to rehab for nine months in early 2018.
Dewa 19, which is considered to be one of the greatest rock bands in the history of Indonesian music, has gone through a number of line-up changes since its inception in 1986. Their eras have notably been marked by their lead singers, with Ari Lasso fronting the band throughout the ’90s and Once Mekel throughout the 2000s.