Ananya is a twenty-something songstress from Mumbai who has made her mark on India and the world. The songstress went platinum in India with one of her English tracks and currently sits over a global stream rate of 300 million. Last year, Ananya released her single ‘Day Goes By’ with global hitmaker Sean Kingston, and this has been documented as one of the first major collaborations between the US and Indian artists to date. When Ananya is not making music, the singer breaks down mental health stigma in India as well as empowering and supporting local female entrepreneurs in India with her self-owned company Svatantra.
We find out more about this songstress and activist below.
What are some of your earliest memories of music?
When I was really young, I remember being totally entranced watching my mother playing the Santoor. It is an Indian instrument with a hundred strings that you play on your lap. I used to sit and watch her for hours. It was the first instrument that I learned, and it made taking up the guitar and understanding composition a lot easier later in life.
Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when putting music together?
Writing music has always been incredibly cathartic for me, when life feels a bit messy I love to find a quiet place and settle in with my notepad and a pen. The process starts with an emotion or a story from my journal and goes from there. Then, I’ll sit with a producer and we will take that really personal experience and put a melody to it. I love the process – it’s beautiful to take something so raw and then put it out to the world for everyone to interpret in their own way.
Studio work and music creation or performing and interacting with a live audience, which do you prefer?
Whether I’m performing to ten people or ten thousand, there is nothing in the world like standing on stage and having people vibe with something you created. Music is all about connecting with people, and there is no better way to do that than when you are live. That exchange of energy – there is no feeling like that in the world.
What is the most memorable response you have had to your music?
Music has always been there for me in the most challenging times in my life and I really want my music to do the same for others. When someone sends me a message to say that they related to something in one of my songs and it helped them through a difficult time, that means the world to me.
The most memorable? It has to be when I was in a cab in Poland of all places. I didn’t even know I was playing on the radio out there, but the driver got so excited when I got in and started singing me some of my songs – it was surreal!
If you could put together a radio show, what kind of music would you play?
I am a big believer that the best music is raw and comes from the heart. I love those songs where you can really feel the emotion of the artist because they are singing about something that happened to them. Audiences appreciate that too because they can connect with it on a different level. Emotions are universal – it doesn’t matter who you are or where you are from, they unite us all. I’ve always strived to be as unapologetically myself as possible with my music, every song feels like a part of me.
Name five artists and their albums who would appear on your radio show
Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP
Nirvana – Nevermind
Amy Winehouse – Back to Black
Khalid – Free Spirit
Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
What would you like to achieve with your music? What does success look like to you?
Everything I do is about doing what I love and hopefully making a positive impact at the same time. My definition of success is always evolving but for me, music has always been like a best friend, supporting me through good times and bad. I really hope that my songs can be like that for other people.
One last thought to leave your fans with?
This has been such a difficult time for everyone, it’s this unprecedented collective trauma. With my latest song ‘Let There Be Love’ I wanted to celebrate the beautiful sparks of hope and joy that we have seen coming out of this incredibly challenging period. I think our collective values have changed and we have realized the most important things are love, people, and connections. Keep your loved ones close and always be you.