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Mian Tiara: Speaking up for women's hearts

A. Kurniawan Ulung

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Fri, May 19, 2017  /  09:11 am
Mian Tiara: Speaking up for women's hearts

Through her music, Jazz singer Mian Tiara teaches men how it feels to be a woman. (JP/A. Kurniawan Ulung)

You might not know Jazz singer Mian Tiara, but if you have watched romantic flick Ada Apa Dengan Cinta 2 (What’s Up with Cinta? 2), you might remember a scene where a singer sings a touching song that makes Cinta (Dian Sastrowardoyo) suddenly recall her ex-boyfriend, Rangga (Nicholas Saputra).

The title of the song is “Disapih” (Weaned) performed by Mian. On a recent Sunday, she sang it again at the Galeri Indonesia Kaya auditorium in Jakarta. The audience was completely still and silent as if they recalled their ex-partners, but were unable to move on.

‘Disapih’ is about the feeling of a woman who is being abandoned by her partner. We become partially paralyzed and cannot do anything after the breakup,” she said.

In Indonesia’s music scene, Mian has made a name for herself since 1997. She became famous for her ability to write beautiful poems, which later she transformed into songs.

Before Ada Apa Dengan Cinta 2, she wrote the original soundtrack “Memories of You” for comedy flick Madam X and “Am I the One” for drama Broken Vase in 2010 and “Little Space in Between” for drama Catatan Harian Si Boy (Boy’s Diary) in 2011.

As a lyricist, Mian has written songs for many artists, such as jazz singers Ermy Kulit for the album Saat Yang Terindah (Most Beautiful Moment), Sarah Silaban for Bening Jiwa (Pure Soul) and Andien for Kinanti.

She released her first solo album, The Comfort of My Company, in 2010.

This year, Mian and arranger Chaka Priambudi are preparing a soon-to-be-released duo album, Cakrawala (Firmament.)

With pianist Yoshep Sitompul, she belted out 11 songs at the Galeri Indonesia Kaya auditorium, including award-winning song “Sahabat Setia” (Loyal Friend) that she and jazz singer Indra Lesmana wrote for Andien in 2002 and new songs, such as “Sebuah Awal” (Beginning) and “Cakrawala” (Firmament.)

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Most of Mian’s songs are about women and their feelings, which can come from herself or other women like her mother and friends.

“I once wrote a song about my friends who struggle as single moms,” the 39-year-old Mian said.

For Mian, music is a remedy and therefore, she always pours her heart into her songs every time it hurts.

In “Cakrawala”, for example, she expresses her protest at social pressure that demands her to be always perfect as if making a mistake is something that cannot be tolerated after she became a mother in 2012.

“Women cannot be perfect all the time. Mothers are ordinary humans too,” she said.

Mian always wonders why the mother is the first person society blames when a child goes down the wrong path.

When it came to parenting, Mian said, the position of a mother and father were equal and they worked together to raise their children.

So, it was unfair to put the burden on the mother only, added Mian.

Meanwhile, in “Sebuah Awal,” the mother-of-one tells of her larger-than-life experience when she was pregnant.

“There were many magical things, such as a moment when he was moving and kicking in my womb,” she said of her toddler, Eoin Sava Rumpaka.

“If you are not a woman, you cannot experience something like that.”

Mian admits that her son has motivated her to be a better person.

For example, she trains herself to control her anger.

She does not want to be a bad role model for him because she knows that he watches her all the time.

Such changes have impacted on other layers of her life, including the quality of her work, which she says is more mature.

When it comes to making music, she is also inspired by the work of other artists, ranging from jazz singer Billie Holiday and poet Ismail Marzuki to rock singer Kartika Jahja, her friend of over 10 years.

For Kartika, Mian is a humble friend who does not like to boast about her work.

“She is very brilliant. I’ve never found another lyricists like her,” said the vocalist of band Tika and The Dissidents, who has shared a stage with Mian multiple times since 2006.

She says that although Mian is so calm, introverted and graceful, she has a strong personality and is never afraid of being herself.

“When it comes to songwriting, she helps me. I often need help when writing song lyrics in Indonesian. So, I will go to her for consultation. She can write lyrics that are very sweet but not cheesy. For me, that is a skill that other people may not have,” she said.

“Her works are very personal. ‘Disapih’, for example, is a masterpiece. I could never be able to write that kind of song. Although I don’t want to make music like that, I can appreciate it with all the heart,” she said.

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