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Aggie ‘Idol’ still making music

It was an exciting time to be an NMSU student and Las Cruces resident when NMSU’s own Dzaki Sukarno earned his Golden Ticket all the way to Hollywood.

NMSU student Dzaki Sukarno sings and plays his guitar for judges during the Week 4 episode of “American Idol” that aired March 7. Sukarno received a Golden Ticket for his performance and advanced to the next round before being cut from the competition. (Photo by Christopher Willard/ABC)

The 20-year-old agricultural business major stunned judges earlier this year with a beautiful rendition of Kane Brown’s “Good as You,” and earned his spot in the fierce musical talent competition known as “American Idol.”

Sukarno advanced to the “Duets Challenge,” a round in which judges paired Sukarno and fellow competitor Caleb Kennedy together to perform. The singers were judged on their individual performances as well as how well they sang together. Kennedy was chosen to continue on to the “Showstoppers” round, while Sukarno was cut.

Sukarno broke the news to his 18.1k Instagram followers shortly afterward on March 22. “Hey y’all! Thank you for all of the support! I made it to the duet round with my awesome partner but I was sadly cut. I’m super grateful for this opportunity and I’ve learned so much throughout my journey on Idol!”

Dzaki plans to continue his music career, but indicated in a March 19 interview with the Las Cruces Sun-News that he wants to stay true to his agricultural roots. “For sure, my goal is to be retired on some huge property in Texas, New Mexico or Wyoming, where there’s farmland, and raise a couple of kids and be a country singer, but not too mainstream. Just enough for people to know me,” Sukarno said.

This statement probably does not come as a surprise to those who already know him, as Sukarno has a true farming background, grew up around livestock and spent his summers surveying and tending fields.

Sukarno continues to make music and occasionally performs at places around Las Cruces including Picacho Peak Brewery, the Picacho Hills Country Club, Blue Moon Bar & Grill and Josefina’s.

In 2018, Sukarno began preforming in bars, coffee shops, restaurants and the Las Cruces farmers market.

“Growing up, I watched my dad play in a garage band and he’s from Indonesia and there’s a really big Indonesian community out in California, a lot of musicians actually, so he really got me into that,” Sukarno said. 

Sukarno breaks it to his fans on Instagram March 22 that he was cut from “American Idol” after appearing in the “Duets Challenge” round. (Photo courtesy of Dzaki Sukarno/@dzakisukarno)

Music isn’t the only thing that Sukarno is passionate about; he’s also focusing his attention on serving his country. Sukarno is enrolled in the Air Force ROTC program at NMSU, and starting next year he will be a commissioned officer.

Although Sukarno’s dreams of becoming an “American Idol” were cut short, he is continuing his music career from where he started — in his hometown of Las Cruces. For fans who aren’t able to make the trip to the historic Southwest to see Sukarno in person, not to worry. The self-proclaimed “Asian country boy” has a strong social media presence where fans can watch and listen.

You can visit Sukarno on TikTok, where he currently has over 287k followers, Instagram and Twitter @dzakisukarno, where he posts music, life updates and silly videos.

Sukarno also has three country singles on Spotify: “Was It meant To Be,” “Sail Away” and “Where We Should Be.” The three songs have over 7,000 streams as of this week.

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