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Meet Trailblazer Anisha Srivastava

Today we’d like to introduce you to Anisha Srivastava.

So, before we jump into specific questions about your music, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I started singing at a really young age and I’ve always sung and performed. Throughout college, I tried to perform whenever I could, but I eventually tabled singing as a hobby, making the decision to pursue a more traditional career. After graduating from college in May 2018, I started working as a software engineer at Apple. I knew that I wanted to pursue creative projects on the side, but I absolutely did not anticipate fully switching my career.

While I was at Apple, I became friends with other employees who were musicians and producers and everything kind of built from there. My first time in a recording studio was in January — that was a really life-changing day. I just felt like I found what I was meant to be doing. For a few months after that, I was working as a software engineer during the week and recording original music on the weekends. Eventually, that became really exhausting and I decided to pursue music full-time. Since then, I’ve released my first project, “Lakshmi” — a small EP of three songs — and moved to Los Angeles to get more connected in the industry.

It sounds as though this decision happened quickly, but it’s really been many years in the making. I think I’ve secretly always dreamed about pursuing music, but it didn’t seem possible until I was in a recording studio and creating original music. I feel overcome with gratitude to be on such a fulfilling path.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I’m very excited to be pursuing music, but there have definitely been challenges for me so far. Coming from the structured environment of college and then corporate America, I’ve struggled with the uncertainty and ambiguity of this path. There are definitely days I wonder if people will be drawn to my music, how I’ll support myself financially long-term, and if my dreams are too big. I always remind myself that nothing brings me more joy than creating music, and I need to keep that as my foundation and my truth whenever self-doubt creeps in.

My advice for other women starting on this journey is to focus on building a strong sense of self and a strong belief in your own abilities and the uniqueness that you bring to your craft. It can be so easy to compare, so when that starts to happen, bring your thoughts and your energy back to you. It’s easier said than done, but comparison kills joy, and joy is often the source of creation. When self-doubt and criticism creep in, it’s so important to nip that in the bud and prevent yourself from spiraling with those thoughts.

What do you do, what do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc. What are you most proud of? What sets you apart from others?
I’m a singer, and I write all of my music. I’ve experimented with different styles with my past releases, but my heart is in R&B/Soul music. There aren’t a ton of South Asian women in the R&B/Soul realm, and I’m really excited about being a part of that representation. I’m also really proud that my music is 100% authentically me and a product of my stories. I never try to bend my music towards industry trends or themes. I’m proud of that honesty and I hope that listeners connect to that.

My path to music has been pretty unconventional in the sense that many other musicians decide on a career in music very early on. I made that choice at age 24, after attending college and working in corporate in fields unrelated to music. Also, I’ve moved around a lot in my life, lived in Bangkok, Thailand for five years, and spent several summers in Chennai, India. This international exposure definitely influences my music — I’m working toward a creative fusion sound that incorporates these cultures.

So much of the media coverage is focused on the challenges facing women today, but what about the opportunities? Do you feel there are any opportunities that women are particularly well-positioned for?
I do feel that there is a special appreciation for the female voice. When I first started interacting with artists and producers, I would often hear the phrase “I’m always looking for a good female singer.” So, I’ve definitely noticed that — at least in the genres I’m involved in — there’s high demand for female voices.

Also — I love seeing really successful female artists going on tour with other female artists or having them as opening acts. I think there are opportunities for women to empower other women in the music industry in this way.

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Image Credit:
Cejei (personal photo), Sahand Nayebaziz (two photos in recording booth), Akhil Patel (photo over mixing board), Queens D.Light (four styled photos)

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