Ananya Birla talks about her new album, childhood struggles
"My childhood was very sheltered. I had a curfew and a bodyguard," the 22-year-old daughter of top Indian businessman Kumar Mangalam Birla said.
Ananya Birla is extremely busy these days. She landed in New York and headed to Nashville for “a music boot camp” of sorts, to bust out tracks from her new album out this summer and another with Hindi and English songs that will be ready for Diwali.
Then she’s scheduled to record the Indian national anthem with the legendary AR Rahman for the Olympics (“I’ve been doing riyaaz every day”) and later hopes to be back in Mumbai for her mum’s fiftieth. “Nothing can make me miss my mum’s birthday,” she told Vogue India in its April 2021 edition. “Not even a Grammy!”
The 22-year-old daughter of top Indian businessman Kumar Mangalam Birla is proud of her independence and her music career. “My childhood was very sheltered. I had a curfew and a bodyguard. I felt a lot of pressure to be this perfect kid. I felt claustrophobic trying to live up to what I thought the world wanted me to be. But it also led me to pursue my dreams and become the person I wanted to be,” she said in the interview. “Music made me feel like I fit in somewhere. It made me feel understood. It took away the loneliness and gave me something to call my own.”
When she was 22, she left studies and signed a record deal with Universal Music. “Growing up, everyone expected me to go to this amazing university, get a degree, get married to someone well-off and have kids. But I was the total opposite, I had a different way of thinking. And my parents always supported the path I picked.”
With a string of platinum singles and collaborations with artists like Sean Kingston, things were going well. But Ananya was thinking of the bigger picture: “I felt I’d made a footprint in India but I wasn’t progressing as an artist.” Her next goal was global recognition and there was only one place to go: Los Angeles. So, at the end of 2019, she moved there.
When you’re on the cover of Vogue, you know you’re doing something right! Honoured and humbled, thank you @vogueindia for appreciating my work! I am grateful to have shot with such an incredible team! pic.twitter.com/1tJd2SvMt9— Ananya Birla (@ananya_birla) April 9, 2021
And things are finally shaping up. Notes Vogue India: In November, she dropped the ‘Everybody’s Lost’ video showing an edgier side to her personality; it got over 25 million streams.