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                                                          www.priyasvibe.com

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:

Jins:
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?

PRIYA:
Sure Jins, I'm a singer and songwriter out of Canada working towards my Album set to drop 2006.

Jins:
What kind of songs are you in to Priya?

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.

Jins:
Cool ! That sounds truly versatile. When did you start singing Priya? What made you choose music as your career?

PRIYA:
I've 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.

Jins:
Cool ! So do you write all your lyrics? When it was revealed to yourself that you can write? Have you tried a hand in writing poetries?

PRIYA:
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.

Jins:
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 too."  



PRIYA:
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 it too.  

Jins:
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?

PRIYA:
I 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!

Jins:
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?

PRIYA:
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.

Jins:
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?

PRIYA:
Jins, 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

Jins:
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 Hindi "  



PRIYA:
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

Jins:
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"  



PRIYA:
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.

Jins:
What is the most memorable day or moment in your life?

PRIYA:
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.

Jins:
Are u single?

PRIYA:
(Laughs) I'll always be married to music, so I guess in that sense, no.

Jins:
That's a good one! Guys would love to know it ! Priya, what do you do other than music?

PRIYA:
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.

Jins:
What you consider as your strength?

PRIYA:
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.

Jins:
What are your future projects?

PRIYA:
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)

Jins:
Do you think you stand out from your contemporary singers?

PRIYA:
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 class.

Jins:
What would you like to tell the youngsters viewing CampusKerala.com?

PRIYA:
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


Jins:
Thank you Priya for the wonderful time we shared. On behalf of CampusKerala.com I wish you all success in your future endeavors.

 

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