Singer-songwriter Adrian Yunan is a living testament to the saying that the sun always shines after a storm.
Everything started unravelling for Adrian right at the peak of his career as the bassist of influential Indonesian indie band Efek Rumah Kaca (ERK). The year was 2010 and Efek Rumah Kaca’s second album Kamar Gelap had been named album of the year at Indonesia’s Cutting Edge Music Awards 2010. The band had won similar accolades from Rolling Stone Indonesia and MTV Indonesia. They had started Jangan Marah Records, in a bid to support other Indonesian indie bands and help build the scene. They, and Adrian, seemed to have it all.
Then, things started looking bleak. Adrian was diagnosed with toxoplasmosis, a parasitic disease that can cause fatigue, muscle aches and flu-like symptoms that can last for months. He also started losing his sight, a result of the worsening of a previous diagnosis of a degenerative eye disease called Behcet’s Disease.
Adrian spent months in bed as his condition deteriorated. He was ill and fatigued all the time. Then, his mental state started going downhill. Laying in the darkness, Adrian wasn’t sure if he was going to die of illness or depression.
But thanks to his very supportive wife, Yonita, and his friends and family, Adrian eventually got well and the darkness started to lift – metaphorically, at least. As he good naturedly says, “It’s always dark” – due to his inability to see.
Soon, he started immersing himself in music again, in part as a form of escape and therapy. While helping ERK with their next album, he found that he had too much to say. This spawned his first solo album, a wistful folk-pop album he titled Sintas (Surviving). One of the first songs he wrote was “Mikrofon” – an ode to the role music played in helping him overcome his illness. Other pieces that echo his contemplation and thoughts include “Lari”, “Komedi Situasi” and “Tak Ada Histeria”.
“This album truly represents a very personal journey; the sense of unrest and my inner struggle regarding things that happened to me this past six- seven years, from the declining condition of my eyes, my physique, as well as my mental state, to when I reached a turning point,” Adrian said in an interview with The Jakarta Post last year.
Hear him perform here and here.
Source: Album Review: SINTAS by Adrian Yunan