Vanalika Shan Takes on Global Issues Through Politically Conscious Songwriting


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Rising up, Vanalika Shan lived in lots of components of the world. The Indian singer-songwriter is keen about world cultures and modern points and needs to make use of her platform to make the world a extra acutely aware place for the generations forward. In her songwriting, she doesn’t shrink back from matters starting from feminine empowerment to environmental inequality.

Shan and her household first moved to america when she was 2 years outdated. When she was sufficiently old to know the idea of ethnicity, she embraced the huge dimensions of each her Indian and American identities.

“I’ve at all times form of questioned ‘The place precisely am I from? Am I American or Indian?’” Shan says. “And as I grew up, and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that I am truly each, and it is actually that sense of self-identity, and the place I belong, which have come to fruition.”

Shan’s favourite half about her Indian heritage is the meals, and she or he realized how you can prepare dinner along with her mom.

“There’s a narrative behind every dish,” Shan says. Cooking conventional Indian dishes permits her to really feel linked along with her household in her dwelling nation. Considered one of her specialties can be the pandemic-favorite banana bread.

Shan’s father labored in data know-how, which required her household to maneuver ceaselessly so he might meet with worldwide purchasers. At age 9, when Shan and her household lived in Australia, she started taking voice classes, coaching in opera and classical. Her educated vocals have been accompanied by a brand new sound in her voice, as Shan recollects that she “even picked up the Australian accent sooner or later.”

Shan’s household briefly lived in India once more earlier than they moved again to the States when she was 13. Over the previous 5 years, she’s been studying how you can play piano and is instructing herself how you can play the guitar and the drums.

“I am not the perfect at drumming,” Shan says, “however they’ve undoubtedly helped me hammer out my emotions every time I am feeling slightly indignant at one thing.” The eagerness Shan channels whereas enjoying the drums is equally current in her songwriting.

On her new monitor, “Lonely,” she seeks to empower ladies whereas calling males out on entitlement and poisonous masculinity.

Musically, “Lonely” seems like an amalgamation of Dua Lipa’s “Levitating” and Harry Types’ “Watermelon Sugar,” however lyrically, the track is an anti-patriarchal anthem during which Shan shuts down a person’s advances and forces him to take a step again and study his conduct. She was impressed to jot down “Lonely” after studying an article a couple of sexual assault sufferer who didn’t obtain justice.

“Her case was simply dismissed,” Shan says. “I believe it was nearly like a lightbulb second in a tragic method as a result of that is extra widespread than anyone might even understand. It occurs day-after-day, the place ladies are put in robust conditions, and so they’re neglected. And that is actually the place ‘Lonely’ started. It’s nearly like my aggressive, indignant chants to the world asking why issues like this occur. After which as I proceeded with the songwriting, I began approaching this from a perspective of confidence.”

As an outspoken feminist, Shan needs her music to encourage ladies to face on their very own and never accommodate males who really feel entitled to their time. Whereas Shan needs to deliver consideration to common points corresponding to misogyny and sexism, she additionally needs to focus on locations and points that don’t get as a lot protection.

As america appears to be slowly returning to regular, with vaccines broadly out there and companies working as they might pre-pandemic, in Shan’s dwelling nation, COVID circumstances are nonetheless quickly rising. India has had over 26 million COVID circumstances and over 300,000 reported deaths. This disaster prompted Shan to jot down a track known as “O2,” which is about for launch later this summer time.

“It is gotten so upsetting,” Shan says. “Nurses and medical doctors are having to choose who receives oxygen, as a result of there may be such a restricted provide. ‘O2’ is basically extra of a cry for assist from somebody who’s on the skin trying in at their dwelling nation to say ‘Please assist in no matter method you possibly can.’”

Shan nonetheless believes in future for the world. Her first title, which suggests “sunflower,” is without doubt one of the largest inspirations for her songwriting. Whereas she could contact on heavy matters in her songs, Shan needs her music to unfold hope for optimistic change.

“I believe all music ought to actually ship ahead positivity and encourage individuals to take heed to make themselves really feel higher,” Shan says. “That is all music is. I wish to brighten the world one sunflower at a time. As tacky as that sounds.”

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