So today is International Woman’s Day. My family is dominated by women with respect to numbers so we are definitely receiving a lot more love and appreciation from the men in the household today. Of course, every form of social media is only talking about the power of women or the 30, 40, 50 women who are killing it or what event to attend today which is spearheaded by a woman. This made me sit down and think that “Hey! Maybe I should write a blog post about this too.” That’s when I started brainstorming about concepts and ideas but everything seemed too cliché or something that has been done before. That’s when I realised, why not talk about the women in my life who have influenced and helped me in my career in the music industry or have just been an inspiration. There have been few extremely integral women in my life who I owe a lot of gratitude to (and I don’t even know if they even know it) so this is a small way of showing appreciation and respect for them.
The music industry is rather male dominated, not only in India but all over the world. I don’t see it as challenging but rather exciting. I also feel that woman who work in the music industry whether as artists or behind the scenes are special. They are modern, focused, forward thinking, accepting yet emotional which strikes a great balance. It takes courage for a woman to step out and work in an industry surrounded by it’s fair share of vices. Most families might not be as appreciative of this but one such woman in mine has been the primal reason for me to power and push through all my frustrations in order to achieve my dreams. That woman is my aunt – Anita Kotwani. Being the leading lady in my life, having given me the international education that I seeked, being concerned when I gave up all to pursue music full time but still had my back no matter what; I aspire to be like her. Although this piece is more about women in the music space who have influenced me, I just had to take this moment to give credit to the individual who transpires this passion and fury in me. Not to forget she shares each and every WAVLNGTH and Humans of Music Post on her profile 😉
For the longest time I was pursuing a day job at a media agency whilst working and establishing a foothold in the music industry. Working with Red Bull had always been a dream especially RBMA because they are one institution that believe in quality. I remember when I was starting off with my music stint, I went knocking on people’s doors with an idea and everyone had their fair share of reasoning for either ignoring my call, showing interest but then being too busy to make any time or perhaps wondering who is this new girl come out of no where? But I kept doing what I had to because I had nothing to loose. So when Shilpi Gupta, the National Culture Manager of Red Bull India agreed to meet me, I was humbled that someone at an established position in an established company knows the art of reciprocation (whether for the affirmative or not). After I did the needful of sharing my thoughts, I will never forget her words, “I see a younger version of me in you.” She beautifully explained how the company works and what are the things that I would need to work on and over time I got offered a job from OML where I was exclusively working on the Red Bull account. It was pretty much a dream come true because RBMA was just kicking off in India. However, 7 months in I had to take the painful decision of quitting the company to grow and give 100% to my own initiative. (Back then it was Regenerate) I don’t know if I have let her down in this bargain and I don’t see her often but my respect for her knows no bounds because as an individual and mentor, she is tenacious, meticulous, organised, supportive, a fighter and immensely caring of her team. With the team, she has taken RBMA and Red Bull to great heights, Magnetic Fields Festival is a living example of her efforts.
Loyalty is key for me. I don’t understand diplomacy. I am not a people pleaser, I just do my work and put in my 100%. Yes, we all need to co-exist and work in harmony but loyalty precedes it all. So when I decided to leave and move on from one endeavour to the next on my own terms, I was a wreck. In hind-sight it has been a great learning lesson because you kind of get a reality check on things which is good every once in a while. But life surprises you in it’s own ways; little did I know that Harshita Kalee would come up to me one day and express an interest to work with me when I had no one by my side. I had no plan. But she believed in me. It’s funny because we both know we share a love-hate relationship with each other but some how just find our ways back where we immensely support each other. This is primarily because we are walking down a path of giving, loving and abundance.
Being charismatic, to have an aura and yet be simple is a combination not observed that often. Hence the last woman on my list from the music industry who has been an influence to me is Sanaya Ardeshir | Sandunes. It’s funny because Sanaya and I go way back as we both used to take SPB classes at Shiamak Davar’s Institute of Performing Arts. We barely interacted then, we barely do now but I have so much respect for her. There is a great sense of genuinity and warmth that oozes out of her personality. Being in the industry for over 8-10 years now she is definitely a great example for women to believe that they can achieve anything their put their mind on. Apart from being invovled with the most revolutionary associations to happen in the Indian music industry, it’s her calm and composed personality with drive and determination that I aim to imbibe from her.
As Shilpi mentioned she saw a younger version of me in her, I also see a younger version of me in two people. One of them is Saloni Thakkar and the other Rufy Anam Ghazi. Saloni is fire. Having an immense knowledge across all genres of music, she can be dominating but she knows how to get her work done. Which is what it all comes down to eventually. Also we share a common bond that is London. London has played an integral role in changing my life with respect to music, I owe my musical self to that city. And now, this young girl from India is creating waves having worked for Dimensions & Outlook Festival, The Egg & the recently organised GOAT Festival in GOA. She is living the dream that I wanted to when I was 23 and I am so proud and inspired by her perseverance.
Rufy Anam Ghazi came out of no where and has acquired a special place in my heart. You will see this girl everywhere, in full support, all about the music and she is also one of the founding members of the newly launched Audio Freaks Project. She has such enthusiasm and vigour that it’s infectious. She is a strong, talented young woman who wants to achieve her dreams in this industry and is taking one step at a time towards her goal. And apart from me, there are some serious players in the industry who are taking note of the same. I see that proactive and willingness to learn, she takes her work seriously and most importantly would never want to let anyone down.
Women are a one of a kind species. We might bicker, get jealous, compete with other women and everything else in between but when we truly feel for something that is important to us, we give it our all. These six women have knowingly and unknowingly been integral in moulding me as an individual and what better way to express my heartfelt gratitude than on Women’s Day. More power to you all, I only wish you immense success as that plays an important role in driving me towards mine.