Interviews

Published on December 28th, 2018 | by Landon Buford

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Suvi Talks About The Fruit Of Her Labor Coming Full Circle

SUVI just had her latest single “Wonder Woman” featured on MTV’s The Challenge, and she is preparing to tour her native country of India. Suvi is starting to see the fruit of her labor come full circle, but it wasn’t always as glamorous as you may think.

Music was not always Suvi’s passion. It fell into her lap, but I’ll get into that in a little bit. She was studying to become a biotechnologist, but life, as we all know, took a drastic turn. She would end up auditioning for a show called “Voice Hunt,” which was India’s version of American Idol. Suvi would go on to winning the competition beating out 6000 other contestants. Before she knew it, she was being signed by Sony’s division in India.

As a teenager and after winning the Voice Hunt, a band called “S5” was formed that was signed to Sony Music India. The group had some success while in India. They were able to go on tour and in essence launched almost every single members’ career.

The only problem was in India even until a few years ago there wasn’t a platform that allowed independent artists to showcase their talent. This was all happening while she was still in college. After Suvi finished college, she became a playback singer. What is a playback singer you may ask? A playback singer is someone that sing songs that are pre-recorded for a film as a part of the soundtrack for actors or actresses as they lip-sync for the cameras. The actual singer does not appear in the film or on television. This is a very popular Bollywood culture.

After spending some years in the music industry as a playback singer, Suvi decided to search for opportunities that would allow her to expand her creativity. By this time in her life, Suvi had successfully obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Biotech and had approximately 100 songs to her credit in various Indian language, including a few with A.R. Rahman who is a multiple Academy Award winner and has composed music for numerous film soundtracks, but he is most notable for his work on Slumdog Millionaire.

Knowing that she had more of a purpose, Suvi made the conscious decision to get out of her comfort zone and relocated to the US. Six months after deciding to transition to the States, she won a full-ride scholarship to go to a music school in Los Angeles. After years of sheer hard work she landed national recognition with her single “Wonder Woman” getting featured on MTV’s “The Challenge.” The Challenge is a spin-off of MTV’s two reality shows, Real World and Road Rules. The program features alumni from both shows, in addition to rookies and alumni from The Challenge.

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Suvi about her honing her skills as a songwriter at a young age. Also, we discussed what she would like to do with her degree Biotech moving forward.

Photo Credit – HRDWRKER

Can you talk about transitioning out of your comfort zone when you relocated to the States?

In all honesty, I was really comfortable moving from India to America for school. It felt like I was meant to embark on this journey for something that was bigger than me, for the young talented people of my country, so that there is a path for South Asian artists like myself to choose from, that’s different from the stereotypical tech or medical industry.

We have the talent, but we don’t have enough platforms that connect the Artists with the audience. But when I moved to America, I found out that there is a burning desire for representation for people from that part of the world, and my purpose is to try to fulfill that desire. After all, we are about 1/5th the world’s population, and this void needs to be filled.

You started writing music at a very young age can you talk about some of the artists and musicians that inspired you?

I started writing poetry at a young age. It was my way of building an imaginary world where I could also be a star. I would channel my inner Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Spice Girls and other western artists that I discover through MTV and put on my own bedroom live concerts.

You did not start honing your writing and vocals skills until you relocated to Los Angeles. During this process were you taking any vocal classes?

Yes, I hadn’t received much formal training in music because I was busy prepping to become a Biotech Engineer and music was never something that I would have received my family’s approval for especially to it make my career. But when my life took a different path regardless, the path towards music, I decided I needed to hone my talents to be able to stand out amongst the best of the best in the industry. So I completed my 8th grade in London at Trinity School of Music and also went to Musicians Institute in Los Angeles.

You are someone that prides herself on speaking her mind, how has this allowed you to find your style regarding your approach to creating music?

When I moved out to Los Angeles, I realized that image is an essential part of music. For the longest time when I was growing up in India, I would try to pretend that I was an American artist. But it’s only after I moved here that I saw the vast cultural diversity that exists between the East and the West and I became extremely proud of who I am. I am an Indian artist who can sing my ass off, and I did it with a spicy blend of Indian Bollywood and Classical Music. It was very clear that this was the image of my people of this current modern generation, the generation that is all tech savvy but also deeply rooted in our cultural heritage. I want to be able to tell the world that there’s beauty in who you are and where you come from. There’s beauty in embracing one’s birth land and sharing the culture with those who don’t have access to it. It dissolves the imaginary walls we built in our minds between one human to another. We are all one, and Arts & Culture can help bridge the gap that our society has developed over years of wars and political agendas. We have taken so much from the western civilization; now it’s time to give back in order to bring the balance. It’s already happening through Yoga, Meditation, and mindfulness and I’d like to bring music into the forefront as well.

Your music is uplifted and showcases your independence as a woman. How important is it for the younger generation to takes those two attributes from the music you create?

For me, Art is a medium to communicate ideas. An idea can be used to change the present state of our existence. I believe that Equality in all forms of life is an idea that needs to be spoken about and therefore my intention through my music is to do whatever it takes to help empower that idea. You can call it Feminism, but I prefer “Equalism.” It is the idea that all humans must be treated equally regardless of race, culture, gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation that resonates more with me than the word itself.

You have a degree in Biotech how would you like to use that outside of your career as an artist?

I have always had a keen interest in science. I have been curious about the intricacies of the multiverse and gene coding of living organisms. I also believe that it’s this characteristic in me that helps me be the empath that I m and therefore be able to write the kind of empowering music that I write. There’s a lot of negativity in the world. I hope to be the positivity that can help bring that universal balance.

You have been a playback artist for over 100 films in India can you take us through this process as well?

Yes, it is very interesting and sort of like the musical theatre culture that exists here where sometimes a singer renders their voice to the actor on stage who I turn lip syncs to the audio you hear. Likewise in Bollywood movies, songs are a very integral part of a movie. But almost all the time the actors don’t sing, instead, they are sung by a group of people called “Playback singers” who bring in the emotions that are later emulated by the actors when they shoot the song sequence. It’s a really fun job, but it can get monotonous for someone who is creative because the singers are almost never the writers of the music.

At the age of 18, you landed a deal with Sony India as a part of a band called S5. Can you discuss why it did not work out and what were some of the life lessons that you took away from the situation?

The band was a huge success. We did several tours, and it helped kick-start all 5 of our careers. But India, especially back then was a country where independent music had no platform for the showcase. Unless your song was made to a script for a movie, there was no airtime on radio shows or tv shows unless you were an International Artist. That’s why I moved out here because, although I have a great deal of respect for Bollywood Projects, I wanted to write, record and release my own music.

The culture is slowly changing India just like what the music industry went through in America in the 70s-80s with the advent of the record label industry. But it is a prime setting for a massive surge for anyone who is a visionary, looking to step into the independent music scene with big plans and financial backing because currently there is a starving market for non-film music in India.

Your single ‘Wonder Women’ recently debuted on MTV’s the Challenge what it was like to see the fruit of your labor come full circle?

I’ve been working very hard as an independent artist for a while now that I felt like my team and I deserved every bit of that moment. We are super grateful for the opportunity.

What are some the techniques that you have learned as a DJ that has helped you become a better artist?

That’s life and in music timing and reading your audience is everything.

You are about to leave on tour and heading to India until January. Can you describe how you mentally and physically prepare yourself for a trip of this caliber?

I ‘ve been waiting for this moment for a while now. The excitement is keeping me awake at night.

Finally, can we expect a full project from you heading into next year and do you plan on working with A.R. Rahman on any new music?

I have a lot of new music coming out as part of my EP. And like I mentioned earlier, when the timing is favorable may be I’ll have another chance to work with Mr. A.R Rahman, but right now my focus is on my music.


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About the Author

Washington State Graduate Past Interviews include Grammy Award Winner Kenny G, David Banner, WNBA President Lisa Borders, What's Trending's CEO Shira Lazar, Ice Cube, NBC's Chicago PD LaRoyce Hawkins, Family Matters Darius McCrary, En Vogues Maxine Jones, Team USA Track & Field Member Norris Frederick, James Kyson, WNBA Great Lauren Jackson, and more.


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