Chilla Kiana

Chilla Kiana

Musician, Aspiring Businesswoman, Over-Thinker

WHAT’S YOUR MOTTO?

You can do whatever you set your mind to accomplish.

WHAT’S ON YOUR NIGHTSTAND?

So my nightstand is the bane of my existence, I have an intense love-hate relationship with it! I need so many things, but my OCD-self hates seeing them. Right now I have a portable speaker so I can blast music the minute I wake up, a very old photo of my mom and I, a La Mer lip balm, my Moleskin, the book The Underground Railroad, and a glass of water.

WHAT GIVES YOU GOOSE BUMPS?

Performing, finding a really good melody for a song, acknowledging God’s blessings in my life, and seeing someone genuinely happy.

WHAT IS YOUR BAD DAY BACKUP PLAN?

A bath, a book, a walk. Sometimes I go on a run. Or I’ll just be in my room listening to Joni Mitchell. Meditation is also really helpful to me, when I can do it and when I’m disciplined about doing it, I do find it helps spike my energy! I also like to immerse myself in a couple episodes of Sherlock.

WHAT ARE YOU GRATEFUL FOR?

Absolutely everything—big and small. My mom, good health, my career, the opportunities God has given me, my country Indonesia, music, the Internet, love, friends, good education, strong powerful women who are so inspiring and debunking the, not only hilarious caricature, but also unfortunate and prevailing depiction about women that we can only be either/or that I think are one-dimensional, nice people, and the little things in life, like chocolate.

HOW DO YOU DEFINE SUCCESS?

To me, success is living a life you truly want and deserve, not just one you settle for. It’s having that peace of mind—a result in knowing you’ve done your best to become the best you are capable of becoming. Most importantly, I think success is being able to do whatever it is you’re passionate about and lifting the lives of other people in the process.

BEST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?

My mom has taught me so much, both as a personal mentor and a professional one. She taught me to be bold in my vision; to swing for the fences. She taught me that passion isn’t enough—there has to be follow through. Hard work is something that there’s no substitute for. You can have a bold vision, but if you don’t have the perseverance, tenacity, and work ethic in the face of challenges, you’re never going to be able to execute upon that vision. She’s also taught me about passion—it’s that sort of great equalizer—that you can never truly achieve greatness if you don’t believe deeply in what it is that you’re doing. That’s probably the most consistent piece of advice she’s given me my whole life.

BEST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER GIVEN?

Be fully present. I recently read a Harvard study which revealed that wandering minds are directly related to unhappiness, and that the keys to happiness lie in mastering the mind, not in changing external factors.

WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON NOW THAT YOU ARE EXCITED ABOUT?

I’m currently dubbing and singing as Disney’s newest princess, Elena of Avalor! Also working on my debut album, which is incredibly exciting. I’ve also just graduated from university in International Business Management (with honors, yay!) and just very recently established my own company in digital marketing called Whizzup, so I’m trying to learn as much as I can. It’s a chaotic and interesting time in my life—the figuring things out part—but I try to distill it down and prioritize to be where I’m needed at that point in time.

HOW DO YOU PRESS PAUSE?

I take a nap, listen to audio books, sing, or eat my weight in ice cream. I love cookie dough! Cookie dough ice cream is excellent. Cookie dough is great.

WHAT DID YOUR 8-YEAR-OLD SELF LOVE DOING?

Staging a performance at home and forcing anyone available to be my audience. Or watching Disney movies.

IF YOU COULD HAVE ONE MAGIC POWER WHAT WOULD IT BE?

To not over analyze. It seems humdrum, but being a vehement perfectionist, it’s something that I struggle with. I’m very meticulous about precision and detail—it would be nice to not overthink all the time.

WHAT MAKES YOU FORGET TO EAT?

Nothing. My brain just stops functioning when I’m hungry. It’s not even about the meal sometimes, I think even more delectable than a delicious meal is the experience.

WHAT 3 THINGS WOULD YOU GRAB IN A FIRE?

I’d say my phone, but I know that’s a run-of-the-mill answer so I’ll leave that to fight against the stereotype. My mother is excluded, because it goes without saying that I would save her first. So probably my wallet, the thesis I wrote, and a book of my original songs.

WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING YOU’VE EVER DONE – YOUR GREATEST CHALLENGE?

I tend to micromanage things, so every time I let go of something that in my mind still needs to be tweaked, it’s going outside my comfort zone. I think I’m getting better at this, but it’s still so hard sometimes!

FAVORITE WORD?

Music! Because duh.

FAVORITE WORK OF ART?

I should probably name a painting, but I’m going to say Hamilton instead. I just got back from New York City and finally had the chance to watch it—I had extremely high expectations and they were all surpassed. The rarity of combining hip-hop and R&B I think has truly redefined what a musical can look and sound like. It’s genuinely the best piece of art I’ve seen in my life. I’m obsessed in every sense of the word!

FAVORITE BOOK?

I have so many, but The Road to Character by David Brooks is definitely up there. It’s thought-provoking and reminds me of what’s important. To be completely honest, it’s not hard for me to love a book (plus I always do a little research before I decide what to read) so the next one I’m reading will probably be my next favorite book!

To learn more about Chilla, follow her on: