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In an exclusive interview
with CampusKerala.com's Jins Puliparambil, the new pop music
sensation PRIYA from Toronto, Canada talks about her musical
life, inspirations, traditional upbringing, future projects,
debut Album and so on. Here's a transcript of their discussion:
Alright Priya, It is well known, you need no introduction;
nevertheless, for those who are new to R & B (Rhythm & Blues),
could you introduce yourself?
Sure Jins, I'm a singer and songwriter
out of Canada working towards my Album set to drop 2006.
What kind of songs are you in to Priya?
I'm into all sorts of music. Diversity
is the key to any successful artist and so I have an assorted
play list. On any given day you can catch me listening to
Indian classical, jazz, RnB, Reggae, Soca, Hindi filmi…
and ofcourse I'm always pumping my own tracks (Laughs).
Its' all about the vibe I'm in.
Cool ! That sounds truly versatile. When did you start singing
Priya? What made you choose music as your career?
been singing all my life. Music has been a part of me since
I was conceived; at least that's what my family tells me.
From my early childhood I was trained in classical dance
learning Bharatanatyam. I came to India to further my training
and picked up Kathak as well. In the interim, I've always
been writing lyrics and putting melodies to it. My vocal
training began with Indian religious songs, singing in the
Mandir with the key elements of Indian music which are tablas,
harmonium and dholak. There was definitely a spark whenever
I sang… Something emotional. And I realized that I wanted
to further my vocal training taking Indian classical with
my Guru Ji Ramneek Singh. I then went on to singing in clubs
with a reggae band Esquire as one of their lead singers.
That was some crazy fun. But I realized that I wanted more,
I wanted to start recording my own music that I've been
writing for so many years and here I am a few years later
almost finished my first Album.
Cool ! So do you write all your lyrics? When it was revealed
to yourself that you can write? Have you tried a hand in
Yes, I write my own lyrics… Writing
is my outlet and helps me deal with the crazy times in life.
Whether it be through love, pain, success, failure, It's
a release for me and I find fulfillment through writing.
I write a lot of poems and keep a journal that I reflect
back on when I'm writing new material. A lot of the lyrics
you will hear on my Album are about life experiences that
people can relate to meshed with sophisticated music that
you can groove to.
What is your mindset while writing lyrics? What ambiance
is perfect to make you have a flow of poetic words and expressions
that we see in your songs?
"I live for music, I might as well die for it
To be honest Jins, I write whenever
I feel the vibe. For example, I can be in my car and all
of a sudden some lyrics come to mind, or what I'm feeling
is being expressed so beautifully in my words that I have
to write it down immediately. My producer Vikas Kohli freaks
out because he's been in my car a number of times while
I'm driving and I've had lyrics come to mind and I'm writing
it down before I forget while I'm driving. Now boys and
girls, I bid you not to try this as it can be quite fatal
(laughs)… We almost got into several accidents. But Jins,
what can I say I live for music, I might as well die for
Yeah Priya, better you be careful about your literary adventures
on the hyper-live highways! By the way, tell me have you
got any specific date set for the launch of your album?
When can we buy it?
I have had huge demands from fans all over that want to
buy my album. Since I love my fans so much and want to keep
them happy I am releasing a mini album that anyone can purchase
online through my website in just a few weeks. I'm so excited
about that! Make sure you all check it out because it will
be made available to purchase worldwide. Meaning, my people
from India and abroad will be able to buy it as well. On
the music tip, I just came out of the studio doing a series
of collabs with a few artists like Channi, signed to India's
top label T-Series, world class hip hop artist Moka Only
(BattleAxe Records), and a hardcore rapper of Lenny Diko
(Up in Your Basement Records). I'm already finished 75%
of my album and am writing some more tracks for the album
in the Fatlabs studio with Vikas. Nothing has been confirmed
in terms of album release date but definitely keep checking
my website because I will be posting details on there. In
the meantime, buy the mini album that will be made available
to purchase in just a few weeks!
Wow! That is great news for your fan base! Tell me, who
is composing the music for your songs... and what kind of
music have you chosen for your album?
Well I'm very fortunate to have on
board my producer Vikas Kohli of Fatlabs who is also a phenomenal
composer. When writing a track we don't dictate what style
of music it will be. We keep an open mind and let the music
writing process guide us. The song will eventually reveal
itself to us. As you will hear on my album, my tracks showcase
versatility which draws upon key elements from different
genres. For instance, my track "Need You Tonight" picks
up on a Caribbean soca beat and ties in some Eastern elements
like tablas and a phat Middle Eastern guitar riff. Then
we got tracks like "Blue" that pick up on some Jazz elements
suited up with a trip hop beat and "Are You Down" which
is a crazy funk track. The common thread is my vocal stylings
that tie all these different threads together and make it
one - Priya's Vibe. I've been surrounded by live musicians
all my life and feel most passionate about having live musicians
recording my tracks. So this said, I also have world class
musicians on my team who add their own creativity to my
tracks. When everything comes together the end result are
beautiful songs that I'm truly proud of.
Yes Priya, I have noticed that you have a passion for electrifying
live music and live shows; tell me, did you record your
songs live in one run like in the olden days?
it's funny that you mention that, because we were just discussing
writing an unplugged album. Give fans what they really want
and to pay tribute to great artists like Curtis Mayfield,
Al Greene and so on. I personally enjoy unplugged albums
a bit more since it shows the artist and band in a different
light. When my band and I are performing, there's a rush
that the audience gives us which allows us to bring forth
energy and creativity that might not be easily duplicated
in the studio. Unplugged album is definitely stepping up
the plate. And it's a chance to get up close and personal
with my fans
Priya, I can see that you have a very traditional upbringing
and your roots lie in Indian classical vocal as well as
classical dance forms; when and why did you give a twist
to your career with rocking RnB, Reggae and Socca music
" I am Indian and so the Indian will always
be in my music whether I'm singing it in English or
Being born and raised in a city like
Toronto which is known for its multicultural diversity,
I have been exposed to all kinds of music. The variety of
music that I've been brought up with is what I play upon.
Music is universal and I like to keep an open mind about
it. Just the same way Indian music draws upon Western music.
It's all about making a great song and if that means one
draws upon different ethnicities to make that great song
then so be it. I love my culture and it plays a big part
of me. And when it comes to my roots, I am still very traditional.
My vocal training is Indian classical which includes daily
rihaz with my harmonium reciting sargams and alaaps. My
music has a strong Indian influence in them since I'm Indian
and have such a huge passion for my culture. It's in the
way I sing, the melodies I write. I am Indian and so the
Indian will always be in my music whether I'm singing it
in English or Hindi
Priya, do you have a mentor? Where do u look for inspiration?
Who has the deepest influence in your musical life?
" I am who I am because of my life experiences,
the people in my life and that definitely comes out
in my music"
This is a tough question to answer
as there are so many inspirations that play a big role in
my music. I have many mentors, some of which are great artists
like Lata Ji, the late Mukesh Ji and Rafi ji, and then there
is my Guru Ji who has given me so much insight into what
music is about. My parents are dear to me as they have always
taught me to be true to myself. I am who I am because of
my life experiences, the people in my life and that definitely
comes out in my music.
What is the most memorable day or moment in your life?
Wow! So many to choose from. Every
day is memorable because I have learned something new and
striving to be a better human being, a better artist. One
of my most memorable occasions was chilling out with Sean
Paul, or when I hung out with Super Cat backstage. Those
are some krazy kool kats. Or the first time I went to a
studio and laid down a track. Yah those were some real moments.
Are u single?
(Laughs) I'll always be married to
music, so I guess in that sense, no.
That's a good one! Guys would love to know it ! Priya, what
do you do other than music?
You want me to answer that truthfully?
(Laughs). Well, not to sound like a music geek but most
of my days are spent doing music. Either its writing or
singing or bumping to my next track at the Fatlab… I also
like to read suspense novels and ofcourse write. I'm currently
reading "No1 Ladies Detective Agency". I've been wanting
to read it for a while and finally got the chance to pick
it up. I hang out with friends, go to movies, a bar and
if I'm feelin' crazy then we hit a club.
What you consider as your strength?
I consider my strengths to be my determination
and drive. If I fall, I dust myself off and get up again
and tackle the obstacle harder than I did before. It's one
thing to have talent but if you don't have the drive you
won't go very far. Nobody is going to knock on my door;
I have to kick down these doors myself. The way I see it,
there is an opportunity for everyone to make it far in their
life in whatever they choose to do if they believe in themselves
and work really hard to get there. Don't look at what you
can't do; look at how you can achieve your goals.
What are your future projects?
We are currently discussing the release
of my album and a possible tour in North America and abroad.
I have a few more collaborations coming up with some hot
artists in the next few months. Not to mention my continuous
writing and once this album is out the door its time to
start writing my next album. I would love to come to India
and tour in my mother land. You never know what may happen,
I can be very unpredictable. (Laughs)
Do you think you stand out from your contemporary singers?
Well, from what I've been told by
music critics all around the world is that my vibe is fresh
and unique. People are always commenting at how they know
when it's me singing on the radio because my vocal style
is so defined. That's great to hear because I want to sound
like me. I don't try to be anyone when I sing; I have a
lot of influences but when I'm behind the mic you are only
hearing Priya. I've often been compared to the likes of
Alicia Keys, Gwen Stefani, Esthero, Nora Jones… That is
so flattering to hear as I have a huge respect for these
artists, and although I don't think I sound like them it
tells me that people are sensing the sophistication in my
music and vocals as these ladies shine with elegance and
What would you like to tell the youngsters viewing CampusKerala.com?
Study hard and go for your dreams.
The only person that can hold you back from your dreams
is yourself that's why you got to believe in you. There
are going to be a lot of obstacles that come in your way
but that depict the survivors from the rest. If you're a
survivor you'll swim to your ship through the roughest storm.
Take control of your ship. Nothing good ever comes easy,
there's always a challenge. And ofcourse have fun along
the way. Everything can't only be work, work, work; you
gotta have some fun too.
I want to thank you Jins for doing this interview and the
CampusKerala.com readers a humble thanks for taking the
time to read my interview and for your support. It's amazing
to have my homeland guys reading articles on me and I hope
that you all ask me to come to India for a concert as I
would love to bring down the house and jam with you all.
Make sure you keep checking my site www.priyasvibe.com
to sample my music tracks and updates; AND my mini album
is going to be available for you all to purchase online
in the next few weeks! Keep vibin' CampusKerala.com and
God willing we will vibe together in the near future
Thank you Priya for the wonderful time we shared. On behalf
of CampusKerala.com I wish you all success in your future