We had the good fortune of connecting with Naashi and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Naashi, can you share a quote or affirmation with us?
My favorite quote right now is “step out your estimate, step into your essence and know that you’re excellent” – Beyonce Knowles. The quote is from her song Bigger from the Lion King soundtrack. I am actively trying to make this quote a part of the way that I move as an artist and as a young woman.
To me, the word estimate refers to both your own estimate of the heights you can reach, but also to any estimate that the people around you assign you. In a few cases in my life, especially in the music industry, this has been an underestimate. Wether this is because I am a woman, I am brown, I’m foreign or I think differently, or even if it is my own insecurities making me lower my own estimate its time for me to step out of it completely!
Step into your essence is the perfect follow-up to that because in order to step out of your estimate you only have to step deeper into yourself. Not an emulation of someone, or who you think you should be or who someone wants you to be. Find your own essence, what makes you you and simply step into it.
Finally, knowing that you are excellent is the best way to approach any situation with confidence. This doesn’t mean that preparation and a healthy dose of self awareness aren’t essential. But it does mean recognizing where you bring value. Whether I’m in a session putting down a topline, or I’m arranging vocals on a song, knowing I’m excellent and that I bring value makes my work that much more intentional and impactful.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a songwriter based in L.A. originally from Tokyo, Japan of Indian origin. I moved to Los Angeles two years ago to pursue my dreams. My introduction to L.A. was working as a receptionist at the legendary Larrabee Studios.
There, I would often see my biggest inspirations such as Ty Dolla $ign, Ant Clemons and Alex Isley. It was tempting to run up to them and tell them just how much they’ve changed my life (and in Alex’s case I couldn’t help myself so I did that a little bit) but at the same time, I had to keep it professional and just believe that one day I would be on the other side of that desk. It was surreal being there because it was like looking at my ultimate goals up close with a magnifying glass but not being able to touch them.
Once Covid hit, it was time to reassess: I had been writing songs, and building up a catalogue but I wanted to really give freelance songwriting a fair shot. As a result I spent the next few months really hustling and ended up writing over 40 songs for a music library based in Poland called Closer Music. I started getting in virtual sessions with artists all over the world and continued building my catalogue.
Most recently, I have been in sessions with incredible artists including Athena Poulos (from L.A.) and Makela (from NY) and been doing songwriting work with legendary mix engineer and producer Jean-Marie Horvat. An exciting moment for me was when Eric Bellinger (a songwriting inspiration of mine) reposted my spin on his song Only You on Instagram. Some more exciting moments on instagram have been another songwriting inspiration of mine, Novawav (Blu June and Chi Coney) commenting on a topline I posted, and Karlae liking a cover/ spin I put on her song ‘I Like It’ with Coi Leray. Getting small recognition and encouragement from people I look up to goes a long way starting out in the industry and its moments like these that keep me going.
I have got a long way to go professionally, but in my time so far, what I have learned is to have a lot of patience and to trust that if I put the effort in, that dream and that goal I am hyper-focused on will come to life.
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?
For me, L.A. is all about the food! I’d take my friend first thing to Delish Hollywood. It’s a great spot for authentic home-cooked style Japanese food. It’s run by my friend and fellow musician Sayaka Alessandroni’s family and is a place that takes me back home whenever I eat there. Another great Japanese restaurant is Otafuku (in Gardena). A meal has to be followed by dessert and my two go-to places are Portos Bakery and Mashti Malones.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My number one shoutout, first and foremost, goes to my wonderful parents. Not only have they given me unconditional love and encouragement but they have invested their time money and efforts in my dreams. This is not the norm for many desi parents as my fellow Indians/South Asians can relate to (other Asian cultures and African cultures can very much relate to this too). And I cannot put my gratitude for them into words. Another huge inspiration is my Aunty Panna who unquestioningly supports my dreams. She is the pinnacle of an unstoppable woman making history in a mans world. She is a surgeon, has accomplished so much professionally and has been a big source of love and encouragement to me throughout my life. My sister Palna and my boyfriend Luca Zadra are both my rocks and I take inspiration from both of their professional successes as well as their graciousness in life. Kara Talve is another incredible woman and film scorer who is just so musically and artistically gifted and I have to shout her out for dealing with my crazy all throughout college. Finally, I have to shout out badass Audio Engineer/ A&R Alissa Faratro! She has set the bar so high in so many ways: she is a constant source of joy and motivation.