Life & Style

A song that speaks to you

14-year-old Mia Aliyah Makhija

14-year-old Mia Aliyah Makhija   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Mia Aliyah Makhija, a 14-year-old Bengalurean, releases her first single online, to encourage people to speak their mind

Give a young girl with a mind of her own, a guitar, and see what she can do. When such an opportunity came to 14-year-old Bengaluru girl Mia Aliyah Makhija, with a honeyed voice, she chose to help less privileged children.

Mia recently released her debut single “Speak Your Mind”, a song written, composed and sung by her. The proceeds from the song’s downloads go to two schools in Bengaluru.

Having started learning music at eight with her vocal coach Ragini, she later discovered Jazz. “I loved it, and started learning, mostly by ear. My parents always listened to a lot of Jazz, Rock and The Blues. My parents love music. I've otherwise learnt music from the Internet. I listen and interpret songs my way."

Mia's inspiration for the single ‘Speak Your Mind’ came from an interaction with a teacher at her school - Mallya Aditi International School. Mia says she was chosen for a role in a play “based on the way I look and speak. But when I was given that role, I didn't feel complete and satisfied. I was disappointed. I went back home and thought about it. I cleared my conscience, went up to my teacher the next day and discussed it in a respectable way. My teacher also responded the same way. That’s when I felt we all have thoughts and ideas we should express.”

She hopes to reach out to children across the world and encourage them to speak up. Mia believes that most children don’t have a voice. But as future adults, Mia believes they must be heard out. “I wanted to speak my mind and encourage others to do so too. And who better to encourage than those who are unable to...,” says Mia.

Mia has been doing covers and uploading them on YouTube since September 2016 (you can find her on #miasings). Her music meanders into genres of jazz, R&B, soul, indie and pop. She has also performed live at open mics at various music venues in Bengaluru like Blue Frog, Humming Tree, Take 5, The Alliance Francaise, BFlat. "I believe imitation is the best form of flattery. As someone who appreciates and loves music, these originals teach me a lot. I feel the emotion when the artist sang the song and it keeps me on my toes," says Mia on the logic of doing covers. Mia says her musical influences range from Chantae Cann, Hindi Zahra, Cyrille Aimee, Lalah Hathaway, Corinne Bailey Rae, Esperanza Spalding, Manhattan Transfer, Susheela Raman, Diana Krall, Steely Dan, JJ Cale and AR Rahman. In fact renowned Soul and Jazz singer Chantae even wrote back to her on social media appreciating Mia's rendition of one of her songs and posted Mia’s version of her song on the artiste’s official facebook page. Her parents have set up a small studio for her at home where she does her recordings.

Mia also felt she should do something good with her music, so she took her school's help to tie up with two government-run schools to ensure all proceeds from the sale/download of her debut single 'Speak Your Mind' on all social media, go directly to the schools. Her song is available on Amazon, iTunes, Spotify, CD Baby and other platforms.

Srirampura Higher Secondary is a government run school up to Grade 8, with 180 students and 4 teachers. "The school is in dire need of a library and reading material alongwith a reading room. The funding will help painting the room, fixing lights and fans, placing durries on the floor, fixing shelves and procuring books for the space," says Mia.

Pragathi School, a school for the children of construction workers has 40 students. "The funds required are to help shift the school into new premises...these kids come to school for that one free meal a day."

Mia hopes to make a career of her music and has set her eyes on music studies in the future.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 2:27:50 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/14-year-old-mia-aliyah-makhija-uses-her-music-to-help-the-needy/article19539374.ece

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