I Am Human


“Saya Manusia,” which means “I Am Human” in English, first came to me in a dream. During this time, I was (and still am) deeply affected by the devastating war in Syria. I was also seriously considering quitting the music business as I was very ill at the time and just could not see how I could go on. Consequently, I refused to put any melody that came into my head down on paper, put all my notebooks away and begged the universe to release me from my calling.

No matter how much I tried to ignore it, the melody playing in my head refused to fade from my consciousness. In the beginning, it only haunted me occasionally in the evening. Then itstarted haunting me every night before I went to sleep, keeping me up tossing and turning late into the night.Thenit started haunting me during the day, too. Like a persistent ghost, it would not be ignored and refused to let me go. It got so bad that it started to seriously affect my daily activities because I couldn’t focus on anything else. But still, I refused to commit the melody in my head to paper, hoping it would fade. Nevertheless, it persisted. 

Finally, for my peace of mind, I gave in and wrote down the song. As soon as I did, the melody in my head stopped. I shivered when it happened as I had experienced the very same thing right after I composed "Katakanlah." Like with “Katakanlah,” I knew “Saya Manusia” did not come from me but throughme. Getting the song down on paper was like an exorcism of sorts, a divine release. 

“Saya Manusia” is about the intense feelings of sadness and frustration I feel about the war in Syria. When I play my song, I envision a mother who loses her only son in battle. Incensed and devastated, the woman curses God for taking her beloved son away from her and begs him to take her as well. I feel this mother’s pain as if it were my own. I feel her anguish and desperation at the loss of her son and understand why she begs God to take her, too. Often, my songs are intensely emotional journeys; they express everything from pain and frustration, to love and happiness. I want people to know through my songs that they are not alone, and our feelings, the good and the bad, are what makes us human. 

Recently, after working on my song in the studio with my producer, Jeff, I had a chance meeting with a film producer, who shared with me that she was shooting a movie about a mother losing her only child during wartime. My heart skipping a beat, I told her I was currently in the recording studio working on a song about the very same thing. It turned out the producer was just as passionate about unity as I am, and it’s the core message in all of her films. I believe our chance meeting was another way the universe was telling us we are both doing right by our callings. I love how life sometimes works in such unexpected ways, don’t you? I can’t help but look forward to seeing where my song “Saya Manusia” takes me next.