Ananya Birla about "Livin' the Life" and its Afrojack Remix [Interview]
“.....Where business is for my mind, Music is my soul!” - Ananya Birla.
Being the first Indian to have a release on PM:AM Recordings which is home to dance music icons like Tiesto, Axwell^Ingrosso and Alesso, this talented 22 year old Indian artist is making her way up!
An alumnus of the University of Oxford, at 17, an age when most teenagers are wondering who they're going to take to prom, Ananya Birla started Svatantra Microfinance Pvt. Ltd. And she didn’t stop there, she went on following it up with Mpower and most recently, also launching a premium lifestyle platform, Curocarte.
So why again are we telling you this? In addition to ALL of this, this live-wire 22 year old Indian businesswoman has now set foot in the music industry with her debut international single, “Livin’ the Life”. Ananya is exclusively signed by Universal Music Group as a recording artist, a move that sees her entrepreneurial corporate persona widening into the entertainment arena.
Since the November ‘16 release of her debut international single ‘Livin’ the Life’ with Universal Music Group, the single has crossed 2.5 million audio streams and 5 million plus views! And riding high on this success, the single was officially remixed by none other than Afrojack! The brilliant remix with Afrojack’s inimitable EDM stamp elevates the song further and takes it to a whole new level. And in just about a month since its release, the remix showing no signs of stopping with 10 million plus views!
Speaking about this unusual collaboration, Afrojack made a point saying,
“Music has the power to broaden horizons, I made this remix to try and show the potential of unexpected collaborations".
We had a chance to chat with this enterprising young lady and discuss her leap from being an Enterprising young businesswoman into the world of music and here’s what she had to say about livin’ her life…
EDM.com - From an Entrepreneur at the age of only 17 to a multi venture businesswoman AND a musician at 22! How do you wear all these hats at once?
Ananya - I'm sure a lot of people had preconceived notions of me venturing into a difficult business at the age of 17! I didn't let this bother me. I just trusted my instincts and focused on the magnitude of the impact that the company could have. With my microfinance company Svatantra MicroFin, the basic purpose was to reach out to as many people as possible. I am a woman entrepreneur and I wanted to address two situations; one of financial inclusion and the other was to support other women entrepreneurs in rural India, which fits in my mission of financial inclusion as well. With CuroCarte I aimed at bringing high quality, hand crafted produce from across the globe, easily accessible through an e-commerce portal. Where business is for my mind, music is my soul. Music has always been my passion so the fact that I've been able to live my dreams and take it up as a career makes me so happy. My other businesses are also doing great and most importantly, my family and friends are happy. That's what matters most to me. I am still learning to manage my time in the most efficient way possible and I think I am getting better at it each day!
It’s not been an easy journey but I’d do it again. And again!
Music has always been my passion so the fact that I've been able to live my dreams and take it up as a career makes me so happy.
Has music always been a part of your formative years growing up? Was this something you always saw yourself doing? What made you decide to it was time for you to set foot into the Music industry? What was that defining moment or point in time?
I have always been very passionate about music, and I think eventually I reached a stage where I thought, if something makes me so happy I should make a career out of it. Because what’s better than waking up in the morning and following your passion like it is your career. Over the years, I composed many original songs but was very scared for people to hear them. A few years ago, I broke out of that shackle and started gigging in London. I finally took the leap and last year started pitching my original songs to different people. My song “I don’t want to love’ which I haven’t released yet was what I chose to pitch to Universal Music Group, India, a subsidiary of UMG. I was happily surprised when they saw something within me and signed me as an artist immediately! That feeling of being a part of one of the most reputed labels in the world, knowing that now my music would touch many people around the world, still remains one of the highest highs of my career.
That feeling of being a part of one of the most reputed labels in the world, knowing that now my music would touch many people around the world, still remains one of the highest highs of my career.
You co-wrote your very first track with the coveted Jim Beanz who's worked with the likes of Demi Lovato, Jason Derulo and Nelly Furtado in the past! How was this experience for a start?
I met Jim through the record label [Universal Music Group] that signed me. I was familiar with his work. But when we met, we really got along. He has been incredibly supportive about my creative freedom and he really understands me. He also made me feel really comfortable in the studio. He respected my inputs, encouraged me and also guided me at the same time, which I feel very grateful for.
What’s the message you want to give out with “Livin’ the Life” and how do you think people with connect to it? What was the thought process behind this?
Livin’ the life came from a space of purity. It was written after going through a tough phase of unrequited love (which we all go through). After this phase, I realized that for me, ‘Livin’ the life’ is all about spreading love in this world and enjoying the process and that’s what I have written about. Livin’ the life for other people could have different connotations. I think I also wanted to break the shackle of the typical stereotype that the world has of the term ‘Livin’ the life’ - It does not necessarily have to mean having an opulent life. At the same time, I didn’t want to compose a very heavy song so I thought deep yet easy sounding lyrics with dance-inducing rhythms could be something that people may like. My hope is that the song may make listeners question their meaning of what ‘livin’ their life is for them and finding a sense of self- realizing, whatever that may be.
...I realized that for me, ‘Livin’ the life’ is all about spreading love in this world and enjoying the process and that’s what I have written about.
How did you end up having none other than Dutch superstar DJ Afrojack work on the official remix for “Livin’ the Life?” Quite an unusual collaboration for an Indian artist and probably a first as well. Tell us a little more about this came about!
It was absolutely amazing working with Nick. He was open to creative suggestions, he understood the vibe I wanted and took account of my creative inputs. It was all about working together & understanding each other’s art. He is so down to earth and I have learnt a lot from him. It was also a lot of fun! I enjoyed a certain creative freedom. I feel very blessed to have come up with a track that I feel very proud of. I hope you’ll like it!
How does it feel to be the FIRST Indian artist to have a release on world renowned PM:AM Recordings which is the home to dance music icons like Tiesto, Axwell^Ingrosso & Alesso!?
It feels great! Very surreal. I never imagined this would happen so soon in my career. This is just the beginning for me and I hope and aim to reach a stage where I can collaborate with many other amazing artists from around the world and make great music!
Who is the one International artist you would say inspires you the most and why?
Eminem!! Even though his music is so different from mine- the deep, authentic music that he puts out in the world is something that really inspires me. His journey also inspires me greatly and makes me feel like nothing is impossible. He has truly taught me that being vulnerable to the world by writing authentic lyrics is something very beautiful and something that one must embrace, something that people relate with and appreciate and lastly, something that one must not be afraid of.