(August 16, 2022) When she first stepped on the stage, to sing at a school competition, she was merely four. A little nervous, the child finished her song to thunderous applause. That motivated Tiara Abraham to pursue a career in singing. Earlier this year, the 16-year-old soprano singer earned a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from the University of California, Davis.
The Sacramento-resident, who started training in Western classical music when she was seven, has many feathers in the colourful hat she dons. From scoring 99 percent in the Mensa exam at four to releasing her first album ‘Winter Nightingale‘ at the age of 10, Tiara is a true musical prodigy. Global Indian takes a look at the splendid journey of this budding soprano singer, who is currently studying opera music at the prestigious Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, Bloomington.
Vibing to glory
A native of Kerala, Tiara’s parents – veterinary doctor Dr. Taji Abraham and techie Bijou Abraham – came to the United States of America in the 80s. Their son, Tanishq, was also a child prodigy the Abraham couple realised that their daughter was inclined towards music and had a natural vibrato when she was just two years old. At four, just like her elder brother, Tiara too took the exam and scored a brilliant 99 percent, to become a member of MENSA, an organisation of high IQ individuals.
While everyone in her family comes from a STEM background, Tiara’s dream of becoming a soprano singer was nourished by her father. He would drive her to early morning music classes before her school and helped grow her talent for singing. During her interaction with the press, the young singer also mentioned that she was inspired by her grandmother Thankam Mathew, who is the first Indian woman to receive her Ph.D. in veterinary medicine in the mid-1960s.
Tiara released her first album ‘Winter Nightingale‘ at 10, which has her renditions of nine carols and holiday songs in English, Italian, French, German, Spanish, and even Latin. For this, she was invited to be a part of the Steve Harvey Show on NBC, where she gave an enthralling performance. “Well, I enjoy singing in those six different languages; and I enjoy speaking in them, and I like learning new languages,” she said during the show, adding, “So, I have taken nine semesters of Spanish, Italian, French and this semester I am taking German. I think my favourite is Italian because it is so flowy.”
Homeschooled through most of her early childhood, Tiara was ready to give high school examinations when she was 11. However, due to certain official requirements, she appeared in graduated from high school at the age of 13, and passing all the exams in a single attempt was ready for University.
Enchanting the world
Although at four she was a bit nervous for her first performance, with time Tiara became a very confident singer with a strong stage presence. In 2016, the young singer won her first international singing competition, held at the Carnegie Hall. As a music performance student at UC Davis, the young singer was also a part of the university’s chorus.
As a young south Asian, who was learning Western Classical at the university, Tiara started researching other artists like herself. In 2020, the artist wrote and presented a paper on underrepresented artists of colour, such as composer Florence Price and poetess Georgia Douglas Johnson. Inspired by their work, she composed a song for soprano and piano based on a poem by Georgia Douglas Johnson. Relating to many issues that such artists faced, the singer is actively working towards eradicating any discrimination towards people of colours in the musical world.
While studying at UC Davis, Tiara also became one of the youngest people to join two of the most prestigious academic honour societies — Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi. In July, the music prodigy graduated from the university with a perfect 4.0 GPA, summa cum laude. With dreams of performing at the most prestigious opera houses around the world, Tiara joined Jacobs’s School of Music at Indiana University, to hone her vocal range.