Meet Eva Celia, the 26-year-old jazz musician who’s currently working on releasing her second album sometime this year. Having a musician father, music has ran through her entire life. Eva released her first album in, And So It Begins, in 2015 and has started her own musical journey since. We sat down with this adorable, down-to-earth girl at a studio in Pondok Indah to talk about her influence in music, favorite songs of all time to her journey to living a cruelty-free life.
Text by Lulu Nisrina. Photographs by Ila Schaffer.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently working on my music project–my second album–which I hope will be released sometime this year. And I recently just released the first single from that upcoming album, “A Long Way”, and there’s gonna be more singles before the album comes out.
Give us some background into where the idea of “A Long Way” came from.
This song started from a very simple idea in early 2018. I like to play piano and guitar and just like make up some melodies, 15 to 20 seconds long. When I was working on the album material, the idea came back to me. It was actually not the first song I worked on, there were some other songs, but then I decided to bring that idea and work on it. So, I finished the song, the lyrics, and at that time I was going through a really intense quarter life crisis, so this song is basically about that.
Who are your musical influences?
Stevie Wonder, I grew up listening to his music, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Sting, Joni Mitchell, I love Joni Mitchell… Umm, I love Hiatus Kaiyote, Becca Stevens, Snarky Puppy, Yellowjackets.
What’s your all time favorite songs?
“Both Sides Now” by Joni Mitchell, “As” by Stevie Wonder and anything by H.E.R I’m like super into!
Aside from being a musician, people also know you as a vegan. When did you make the switch to veganism?
I started eating healthier in mid 2017, but only started to go plant-based/ vegetarian/ vegan later that year. It was for my hormonal imbalances. So, I grew up with this kind of hormonal imbalance that I’d never really talked to anyone because I didn’t really know who to talk to, especially the topics around period were considered taboo back in the days. It’s like women were not given a save space to talk about menstrual problems. I just kept it to myself, to the point that I could no longer left it cause it bothered me. So, I went to a doctor and I was given antibiotics and other stuff. That didn’t work. I then decided to look for an alternative medication and I found this hormone doctor yang emang specializing in women hormones. This doctor treats fibroids, infertility and PCOS [polycystic ovary syndrome] through healthy eating and lifestyle. That’s where I started to consume less meat.
Tell us more about it.
Well, I wasn’t actually asked to cut out meat from my diet, but I was only allowed to consume antibiotic-free and grass-fed meat, which was hard to find in Jakarta, and if there was any, it would be very expensive. Long story short, within a month of consuming more vegetables and less deep-fried food, my hormones were back to normal and I had no problems at all during that time. And then I researched some more about the lifestyle, I was living in LA then where vegetarianism and veganism were happening, but I didn’t really understand because I felt like… Well, now that I’m one of them, I feel like they’re just very passionate about the cause, about what the animal agriculture is doing to the environment and the suffering behind closed doors that many of us don’t know about. And, yeah, [I went vegan] for my health, for the environment and for the animals. I love animals.
What does being vegan mean to you?
Being a vegan means to live compassionately and be aware of what you consume and yeah, being a part of the solutions instead of the problems.
What are the positive things you noticed since you went vegan?
Physically, I’m waaay more healthier. I mean, before I stopped eating meat, I got sick and caught cold quite often. Ever since I went vegan a year ago, I haven’t caught cold. Also, I like to weightlift and ever since I went vegan, I lift heavier weights. And then I just feel good about myself for not contributing to a lot of carbon footprints and not harming animals.
Do you plan to speak about veganism in your future songs?
I don’t know [laughs]. I haven’t thought about it because it is such a sensitive subject and not everyone wants to sit through the uncomfortable truth. I was once that kind of person, so I always try to avoid being the obnoxious vegan. I’m more into showing examples to people. So, if they want to follow, awesome! If not, then that’s OK.
Do you have any tips to share to our readers who plan to make the switch to vegetarian/ veganism?
Actually, living in Indonesia makes it pretty easy. Many of our local cuisines are vegetarian-friendly. We have ketoprak, gado-gado, ketupat sayur, tempeh, tofu… Whenever I have no idea on what to eat, the best place for me to go is warteg and it’s so cheap. I mean, many people thought that being vegan is expensive but it’s actually not. Because veggies are way cheaper than meat. So, being in Indonesia is actually a good place to start.
Lastly, when is your new album coming out?
I hope it will be released in mid 2019, but we’ll see how it goes.