We had the good fortune of connecting with Sanjana and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sanjana, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
My choice to be a full-time musician is a major risk. A career in the arts is something that literally everyone advises you against, especially in the South Asian community, from childhood. But I firmly believe that without taking risks we can’t grow or explore who we are or the world around us. I take risks believing that the result of it will be the best possible outcome. Of course, it doesn’t always end up that way- life has a cruel way of putting you in your place sometimes. But most of the time, I have been surprised by the abundance of fruitful opportunities that have come my way! When I dropped my debut EP, Water, I’ll Grow, I was so afraid that people wouldn’t connect with it or that it would fail in some way. After releasing it, I was surprised by how people received it and connected to it in meaningful ways. I realized that working through that fear is always essential and that you have to move forward regardless of the outcome and keep growing from it.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I wrote my debut EP, Water, I’ll Grow, when there was a lot of uncertainty in my life and the songs are about how those uncertainties made me grow into who I am now. One of the songs on the EP, “Can I,” is a playful take on the anxieties that come with overthinking. The title track, “Water, I’ll Grow,” is about taking inventory of what you are grateful for in the present. I think these are emotions that all people in their 20s navigate; the transition from young adult to “actual adult” can be overwhelming. This EP represents dealing with those feelings, and allowing them to help you grow. Music and emotion are synonymous to me- I make music with the purpose of making the listener feel something. I make music to connect with other people, to create a community. Music listening is very therapeutic for me, and I would like my music to have the same effect on my listeners. I hope they can find comfort in my songs or escape their own situations for just a few minutes. I got to where I am today with a lot of practice when no one was paying attention, and by honing my craft as much as I could.
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?
I would want to take my friend to one of the San Clemente beaches, and have a little picnic there. I am a huge foodie and would definitely take them to some of my favorite restaurants in Los Angeles, namely Luv2Eat, Bru’s Wiffle a Waffle House, and Little Izakaya! So many wonderful places have closed down this year due to COVID, but in a pre-pandemic world I would’ve definitely taken my friend to a night out in West Hollywood. Flaming Saddles was my favorite place to dance; the energy there was always top-notch. I miss it so much! I would also take my friend to a local concert — maybe at the Bootleg, Hotel Cafe or a house show – there is so much talent in LA. To be totally honest, it’s hard to even imagine what life felt like before all of this started, but I am excited for the boom of festivities that will inevitably occur after life goes back to normal. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are so many people who have helped me along the way. Of course, my family has been a huge source of encouragement and I’m so grateful that they are so supportive of my career. But today, I really want to dedicate recognition to a talented peer who has helped me in such concrete and productive ways. I work really closely with my manager, Saransh Desai-Chowdhry, who helps me with planning, executing and producing my creative vision. This release wouldn’t have gone as well as it did without his comprehensive knowledge of how the music industry works and his ability to implement these strategies effectively to promote my debut EP. Saransh and I have been friends since we were both kids and it’s wonderful that so many years later, we are working together. These past couple years have really shown me how valuable it is to have someone who is as invested in your project as you are- it’s really been a blessing that I don’t take for granted!
Other: Link to debut EP (Water, I’ll Grow): https://levelmusic.lnk.to/WaterIllGrow
Tanaya Deshmukh Irene & Julia Photography