In a world where social media is crowned king- statistics of ones followers and the responses received now practically translates to fame and worth. People used to laugh at the idea of fame and how preposterously far away it seemed- yet fast track to modern day a couple years later, we now seem to be in hysterics at how easily ‘success’ can be achieved. The showboat lifestyle of fame was once the by-product of hard work and commitment to a craft- so who would ever have thought that one-day a half decent Instagram post or opinionated tweet would have the ability to go viral just as well if not better than a new song entering the charts.
Nothing really surprises us anymore and the overuse of words such as iconic and ground-breaking help fade both talent and contemporary artistry into the ‘seen it before’ category. So, with good voices coming and going just as quickly as singing competitions alums very few artists are able to stand tall against the camouflage of common fame. Nowadays it seems that in order to be respected and not just acknowledged a relevancy to both the industry and the times is an apparent must so seemingly- Ananya Birla is one the very few to be noted. Although a name still yet to hit mainstream success Ananya Birla can rest assure knowing that she is regarded as an emerging artist to be heard whose contribution to the music industry will be only half of the famed legacy she will leave behind.
With over 21 million views on digital platforms and Instagram followers growing above 300K- Birla not only meets the statistical worth of casual expectations but alongside her interaction with listeners her music most definitely speaks for itself. With a melodic voice harmonizing to an infectious mix of sound it is no surprise that Coldplay asked Birla to share their stage, it is no surprise that her second single in English is the first of its kind to go platinum in her home country, it is no surprise that she has gone platinum three other times and upon hearing her music it is completely believable that Forbes Asia has listed her apart of their ‘Women to Watch’ list. What is almost unbelievable though, are her efforts outside the industry that prove her extraordinary depth for humanity.
I am of similar age and on the rare occasion I donate loose change to the homeless I almost feel a connection to Mother Teresa- yet Birla born to business minded parents established a microfinance company at the age of 17 to help aid women in making a means for themselves, offering fair and accessible finance services that not only help small business develop but also seeks to improve the general quality of life. If it were not enough to have an up and coming singing career or founding a humanitarian non for profit company to put my good will to absolute shame by comparison Birla has added motivator to her credentials.
Stigmas for metal health in general are worldwide- but in India it is almost an unspoken or non-existent concept leading to a drastic rise in depression and suicide rates. Yet overtime whilst studying abroad in the UK Ananya opened up about her battles with anxiety and panic attacks and instead of reclining into familiarity she managed to overcome the internal pressures and recognize an opportunity to help. Knowing full well that potentially there are others just like her experiencing similar emotions- she established yet another initiative Mpower that strives to break down the stigma of mental health in India.
Ananya is only 24 and despite her resume continually piling with accomplishments - there is still much more to come. With an EP launching soon and speaking engagements filling the calendar for the next couple months there seems to be no stopping Birla and we as her audience are most certainly content on going along for the ride.
Within the last couple years it has been the golden age contemporary music to discretely make an impact- artist such as Ananya have been able gain a fan base on the backbone of talent and personal flair as oppose to the cookie cutter young artists nowadays whom seemingly are dependent on outrageous behaviour and mainstream sounds. Arguably, it is almost more regarded to be the underdog than to being a heavy hitter with success these days. Those that quickly appear seem to be those that are soon forgotten whilst on the contrary those whom gradually build relationships with listeners and choose make a human impact instead of conforming to established ideals are typically the ones with unique charms and fan bases that carries them through.
The universal ability to upload videos so accessibly almost anyone and everyone can share their talents- solid voices no longer cut it for the long run, we as an audience are looking for characters to either look up or relate too. Unfortunately however this generation is still struggling to properly address issues of diversity-
when asked how her experience of being an Asian woman in the music industry has been- truth be told I was expecting an answer of prejudice, stereotype and subtle racism instead Birla humbly replied
‘I think your only option as a musician is to prove that you’re relevant to an international audience. My aim with music has always been to connect with and appeal to people regardless of their nationality, gender, sexuality and ethnicity. I love that music has the ability to transcend any borders or differences- it can communicate these universal human and truths’.
With an attitude like that and songs that instantly bring luxury to the ears my opinion as well as the favour of millions of listeners worldwide is that it is a fair assumption that young Ananya Birla is a name and sound to be remembered.