Popmaniacs — we have exciting news! We recently got to chat exclusively with singer/songwriter/entrepreneur Ananya Birla and it was everything. The 23-year-old Indian singer told us everything from her latest collab with Afrojack, to her passion for social change. And we’re sharing it all with you:
Popmania: In addition to being an amazing singer, you’re also a huge advocate for social change — tell us about that!
AB: My first company, Svatantra, which means freedom in Hindi, provides loans to disadvantaged, rural women to help them grow their businesses. As a female entrepreneur, I wanted to build a platform which encourages other women in India to fulfil their business potential.
I also run a mental health initiative, MPower Minds, which supports people and their families dealing with mental illness in India. One of our main goals is to stamp out the stigma around mental health – there are huge challenges around this everywhere on the planet and open conversations are needed at every level. We all need to take action to convince people that there is no shame in mental illness.
Popmania: Do you think you’ll combine your passion for social change and your love for music in the future?
AB: I love music for music’s sake but also because it enables to me to reach and share an emotional experience with a wide audience. Music is a universal language that people can connect with regardless of nationality, gender, sexuality or social background. My aim with my music is to connect with people and bring a smile to their face.
In terms of combining it with my passion for social change, I hope that as my music attracts more attention, more awareness will be raised for MPower and that I can continue to work on and promote amazing international projects such as Global Citizen.
Popmania: What’s one thing about you that you want fans to know?
AB: I was nervous when I decided to make music my career, and there was pressure to do something more conventional. I am so happy that I did. I want to encourage people to realize that they can break down barriers and stereotypes to follow the things that really inspire them and that they love.
If you’re not able to pursue your passion as a career , you may still be able to enjoy it as a hobby or a personal project. What’s important is that you don’t disregard or forget the things that enable you to express yourself.