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Interviews |  02 Apr 2019 20:08 |  By RnMTeam

Being an artist is like running a startup: Singer Avanti Nagral

Avanti Nagral, an Indian/American singer-songwriter for whom Bombay happens to be her soul and Boston her heart. She can sing in over 12 languages and has played across India, the US and Philippines. A multi talented artist, Nagral works at a production house at Los Angeles and is the first person ever to pursue a dual degree from Harvard University and Berklee College of Music.

The singer also enjoys acting as she was awarded as the best actress at the National Theatre Awards in India for her Broadway play, Agnes Of God. To know more about Avanti Nagral we spoke to her where she took us through her journey in music.

How did music happen to you?

I sometimes joke about this, but very honestly music happened to me in-utero. My father plays tabla (along with being in the technology world), and my mother is pretty spiritual. So, I grew up with devotional music in my formative years whilst I was in the US. When I moved to Bombay at eight, I started training in Indian Classical music under the tutelage of Dr. Prabha Atre. Through professional theatre, I was exposed to Broadway, and through my Christian high school (Cathedral and John Connon), I was exposed to Church music. I also play piano. Initially, I was trained in Western Classical piano, but now I use it more as a tool to song writing. I am currently attending both Harvard and the Berklee College of Music (studying Psychology/Global Health and Vocal Performance). So, I guess different kinds of music happened to me, resulting in me finding my own voice (both literally and metaphorically).

 What are the learning’s, you have received over the years?

 I've learned that being a musician does not equal being a performer. Classical music (and constant practice) grounded me in my craft, but it was all the living rooms, dinner parties, crappy stages, and amazing ones that moulded me into the performer that I am today. Depending on the type of music that you do, it can be a full-body sport.

What are the challenges, you faced over the years while pursuing music as a career?

Being an artist is like running a start-up, except that start-up is yourself and you also happen to be the brand and the product. So, all the growing pains that apply to early-stage entrepreneurs apply to all aspiring musicians. Music is also just not a likely or common career path for the average desi kid. It has definitely been difficult going against the grain, explaining to all well-wishers that this is not just a hobby but I can make a career out of it, and to have confidence in myself and my vision, when everyone around you might tell you otherwise.

Who has been your biggest motivation and inspiration?

 My family, both, literal and chosen, has been my biggest motivation. When it comes to inspiration, my guru, Dr. Prabha Atre is by inspiration. She is 87, but still performs, creates, and doing what she loves. She is absolutely incredible.

Can you tell us about your music video, thank u (pls)?

The music video for thank u (pls) was a blast to shoot. It features Ayush Mehra, Yashaswini Dayama, Viraj Ghelani, Hira Ashar and Rudraksh Thakur, who are all influencers and well-known faces on internet. It was so cool to combine the worlds of music and web content,

What do you think about the current music scene in India?

I think the independent music space resembles what the US (or even Europe) was like in the 60s, except it's the late 2000-teens, which is forcing it to move at a hugely rapid space. While opportunities are increasing and there is growth in the industry, there is still much to be done in terms of infrastructure, production and industry structure. Having said, the market definitely exists and with the recent ease of access to internet, it will be interesting to see what might entail.

What are your upcoming plans and projects?

I currently have a few shows slated to be held in the US and will be in India and perhaps in Southeast Asia and Europe during the monsoon. I will be releasing a summer single, will be working on an EP in the coming months and have an exciting India tour/project coming up.

 Any future collaboration, you want to talk about?

I will be collaborating with a lot of DJs, artists, producers, and creators from India! I will also be working on a ton of other such projects coming up soon.