We had the good fortune of connecting with Anusha Savi and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Anusha, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I am pursuing an artistic and creative career because it is a way to make a mark in the world for myself, to myself, in society, and in my communities. I truly believe that the arts are what give soul to people – the arts shaped my life so deeply. I also tried, and even had success in, other perfectly normal, safe, and “practical” careers but it never felt right for me. The problem was this: I was not connected to the work – I felt as if the work I would spend countless hours on didn’t really matter, have great societal value, or give me joy. I realized that pursuing a career that didn’t feel right was honestly, a waste of my life. This conclusion did not come to me in an epiphany or magically on one night – it took many days, weeks, months and even years to fully come to terms with embracing it and coming up with a plan to make this career into a sustainable reality. Part of the acceptance was knowing that there is beauty in the unknown and embracing the dream means owning my power.
Music is what I’ve always known and probably the second thing I remember learning about (that stuck with me) after learning how to read. Singing, performing, rehearsing, creating, writing, and all the components of music in my life make moments that are filled with the brightest colors and light in my life. I really believe that music shapes the world, love, culture, and people. It is a movement and a moment at the same time and it is global. It is a universal language and connects people. Music, stories, and melodies spill out of me and to be honest, I was tired of only letting myself express it once in a while when my calendar allowed it and thought about letting my calendar only be for it. And here I am – finally and fully embracing myself, commanding my destiny, and believing in myself to make an impact and make music that is enjoyable and meaningful.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
What sets me apart from others is my voice. It is an instrument that I have been gifted and one that I have worked on for 22 years. My vocal tone is very powerful, open, and soulful with a range to also be very soft and dynamic, emotional. My experience as a singer is vast – my basis and foundation started in south asian carnatic music and beyond that I sang songs from musicals, works of major choral compositions from Israel, Africa, Europe, America, to singing popular songs in the US. I can sing it all, and sing it any style. My voice is my asset and instrument that is pliable and flexible and accurate.
Musically, I bring an almost trance like melodies and vocal parts that I think are very unique and different and unexpected. All of my songs come from a very real emotional place, an experience, or thought project. I can write from many perspectives – for example, I’ve written about the POV from a piece of sand, the experience of having a cup of coffee, to universal life things like love and friendship. I push myself to be creative and challenge norms and build stories out of songs. My philosophy is that every lyric in a song needs to have a purpose in the narrative. And I won’t stop until I find the right words or the right melody to facilitate the story.
Professionally I got to where I am today and will continue to get to where I want to go through practice. Constant practice and fever to grow everyday. Also what has been critical for me is that I have surrounded myself with a support network that I can rely on – that includes people who will give me compassion and also people I trust to give me honest, constructive feedback on my work. The other way that I believe has helped me a lot is my being myself 100% while also not afraid to reach out to people I admire, or that I want to connect with. Not every person you meet will be a great fit or will lead to a project, but always taking that leap to put myself out there with good intentions has most always lead to something – whether that be a friendship, relationship, or an introduction. It has not been easy, but it has been fun in the hardship. I’ve learned a lot about myself and pushed myself. Every day is another day in the challenge but my approach is to take it one day at a time and visualize the future I will create for myself. One thing that I’ve started to do as a ritual practice whenever I’m down or have doubts – which I think is a really human thing – is learn from the wisdom of some of my idols and role models. Here are some that struck me today:
“Every time I rise up, I have confidence that I’m going to make it.” – Stephen Curry
“Learn to deal with the valleys. The hills will take care of themselves.” – Quincy Jones
“If you want it, you gotta learn it, then you gotta build it, and then we can earn it.” – James Brown
“Just when I was about to dive into that career full-blown, I went to my professor and she said: picture yourself 80 years old, and what you’d regret, missing out on psychology or music? I was like, ‘doh!’, it’s music. So I’d graduated at 21, but didn’t quit everything until I was 24 or 25.” – Cam
What do I want others to know about my brand and my story? Well in a nutshell I am a 25 year old independent artist who is Indian American based in the SF Bay Area and I am hungry to make my mark in music. I want to create a world and music that is impactful, authentic, and emotional. I embrace all the parts of my identity as a cis-woman, tamil, californian, friend, lover, girlfriend daughter, sister, brown and channel them into music that makes my communities proud and invite other communities into this safe space. I started creating and writing original music at the age of 21 and it all started as an exploration – no expectations tied to it. Creating music to just make it, have fun with a project, and expand my musicianship. As the years have gone by since then, making music has become a more intentional, thoughtful, and cathartic endeavor. I create music to learn more about myself, be vulnerable with the world, and hope to connect with people. I wouldn’t be an artist without my collaborators and friends who create with me and that is my favorite part about the process.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If someone were to visit me for the week and with the fortune of the pandemic being more under control in the Bay Area – here are some places I would take them!
First, brunch at Sideboard Cafe in Danville – which is a hometown staple and watering hole.
Then we would relax and chill by shopping and checking out the lovely boutiques in my small downtown area.
Grab late lunch at Domenicos for fresh sandwiches and pasta salad.
Then continue meandering and catching up and grab some special cocktails at my favorite local bar, Auburn Lounge.
Then grab dinner at Blue Line Pizza for delicious deep dish pizza and head home for the evening.
Then for the next few days, we get out of my precious hometown and explore the Bay Area.
Some of my favorite spots:
Twin Peaks, SF
China Beach, SF
Fish Ranch Lookout, Berkeley
Half Moon Bay
Golden Gate Bridge
And we’d cap it off with a backyard bash with all my friends coming home for a party that starts in the late afternoon and ends at midnight. My people would be there and we’d have a great time while eating great food with music playing in the background.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There have been countless people and organizations that have been so critical to my journey and it is really difficult to narrow it to one.
Ash Ramdas: My partner of three years who is always there through the peaks and the valleys. He is honest, candid, and trustworthy. He’s honestly amazing and the love we share is based in fun and respect. I’ve grown so much into myself through his support and I am eternally grateful for him. He isn’t just there to listen but he’s also there to facilitate and lift me up in any way he can when it comes to my creative career and I do my best to do the same for him and his career as well.
Amanda Beardsley : My creative partner in crime and previous co-president of the Spokes. Shoutout to her for always, always believing in me – even when I was so far away from that myself. She is my confidant and my motivator. She is astute and I trust her with everything.
Aashish Suresh: My insightful and honest younger brother who is not afraid to tell me what he thinks and is wise beyond his ears. My built-in best friend is what I like to call him. He’s really awesome.
Anthony Gonzalez : My first producer and friend who has always believed in my voice as an original.
My parents : For investing in music education for me and teaching me to be smart with my decisions. For trusting me and believing in me, even when it is hard.
The Spokes (UC Davis’ premiere all-female identifying competitive a cappella group) : This group of women as an organization and friends have always been fiercely supportive. We created a sisterhood and family that was really special as we were growing up. The Spokes is who I learned real empowerment from. And the biggest learning experience of my life from a music, business and leadership perspective. I learned something from every single person that was involved with the Spokes, including alumna and new members. It gave me the taste of what creating with an inclusive, supportive group is like and I will always be a part of the Spokes family of current and past members.
Cam Ochs : One of my biggest role models and mentors who has inspired me through her music and her presence in my life. She has shown me that dreams really can come true if you work hard enough and take a risk.
My friends : who fiercely support my music and have come to a performance, a show, listened to my demos, have heard me rehearse, and given me the space to be a temperamental artist and still love me for it.
My fellow artists : who have been opening up to me about their journeys and creating a community that is really supportive and inclusive.
All of my collaborators : there are so many to shout-out from producers, engineers, and coaches. Each one of them have been pivotal to my development as an artist and I’ve learned so much from them.
Other: TikTok: https://firstname.lastname@example.org?
Image Credits: Anusha Suresh Lizzie Hall Ash Ramdas