Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Despite the somber tone of my music, I’m actually a pretty happy person. I love writing, science, my family and friends. I’m a positive person and have lots of thoughts and ideas that I’m generally unwilling to share, which I’m trying to get better at, with my loved ones at least.
How did your time in India influence you as an artist?
I grew up in Chennai, a coastal city that I am proud to call home. Growing up in a collectivistic culture, I was always supported by an extensive community. Being surrounded by and constantly interacting with people, whilst also living in my own head, allowed me to tap into the human emotion- in an empathetic yet analytic manner. I’d make predictions as to how a person would react to certain social settings or information and watch situations unfold (usually confirming my predictions). I would make predictions about people’s upbringing based on observation- like if they have a sibling or not, for instance. Something about growing up in a collectivistic culture made me insightful. It made me aware of all the lives around me; sonder is my friend’s favorite word. I learned a lot from my mother, she’s a Tamil poet (Tamil is the language spoken in Chennai; although, my native language is actually Telugu), and she really has a way with her words. I was also influenced by my best friend from home (Aashika), who has an interesting way of arriving at conclusions and is a wonderful writer. In terms of vocal technique, I started with a background in Carnatic Music and grew up with an immense appreciation for classical art forms. I then learned contemporary music at the Institute of Music Technology for 10 years, where I had a wonderful teacher and a supportive musical community (also where I met Aashika). I concurrently trained in the Western Classical genre at KM Music Conservatory, which furthered my love for music and greatly improved my vocal ability. I am grateful to everybody there, especially my beloved vocal coaches, who encouraged me to pursue music as a career. I loved growing up in India and it has definitely shaped who I am today.
How would you describe your musical style?
It’s visceral. It usually has a narrative; a storyline riddled with characters that have emotions and purpose. I want to write stories and describe feelings that everybody has, and express these in song.
How has your vocal coach Micah Plissner helped you in your career?
Micah Plissner has been incredible. He has been a mentor more than a vocal coach and producer. He has encouraged me on my trajectory, refined my skills and brought to life the vision I had from ‘”Tim”. It’s important to me that the person I work with understands me and my music, which Micah does. He’s also just an amazing person with a thought-provoking worldview, and I love learning about different perspectives and viewing the world through interesting lenses.
What can you tell us about your latest single, “Tim”?
“Tim” is about a girl who is mourning the loss of her young companion named Tim. The story is set in nature and an undefined yet bygone era. Although wisdom is not associated with youth, I imagine Tim to have been a wise young boy. She learned everything from Tim- from his unclouded perspective on life, that children often tend to have. It’s funny because children have a very un-jaded outlook on life, stemming from innocence, and the elderly have wisdom, stemming from experience- the two of which cannot coexist; but I imagine Tim to have been a special boy in whom it somehow did. “Tim” is melancholic, bittersweet and reminiscent. The released rendition actually reminds of Scarborough fair.
Do you have any plans for an EP or a full-length album?
Yes! I am currently working on an EP. It is almost done actually- the last song on it is in the works right now.
What’s next for your career?
I want to continue writing, performing and putting music out. I’m really trusting the process and my art. I’m excited to see where it takes me.
What advice would you have for aspiring singers/songwriters?
Write. Keep writing. Practice. Keep practicing. Don’t be afraid to fail. It’s okay to have pieces that you don’t think are good enough because that’s really the only way you can learn. Don’t be afraid to go back and re-write and change your work. I consider all my songs malleable; even the ones that I have already published because I could think of something tomorrow that I can add to Tim, which could change the way I look at Tim.
What’s your life like outside of music?
I’m a senior at UCLA studying Neuroscience. I have always had a proclivity towards the sciences and am very passionate about Neuroscience. I love learning and have committed myself to learn as much as possible- in several avenues of study, but especially Neuroscience- it’s a very special love affair. I think about neural networks, research ideas and read research papers all the time. I also love literary works and analyzing them. I am an avid traveler. It is an antidote to ignorance, and I travel as much as I can. I love my friends; I’m pretty much always with them, making spontaneous plans and engaging in seemingly dumb decisions. I’m fairly adventurous, mostly because I almost never say “no” to any idea that my friends have, however adventurous or even dangerous (and believe me, they never have good ideas). Again, I love people- so I have an extensive social circle- surrounding myself with interesting, smart and different individuals that I can learn a lot from. I invest in people strongly, so it has been great to have these amazing human connections.
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