Amritha uses her voice to openly talk about issues which are common among children of immigrants. She started learning Carnatic music from her mother at the age of four. During her teens, she taught herself Hindustani and Bollywood vocals before discovering her love for Soul, Jazz and The Blues in her 20s.
You can watch Amritha’s “This Is My Story” video by clicking here.
Do you consider yourself strictly a musician? Or would you consider yourself more of a storyteller in various mediums which happens to include music?
I think the latter is very much how I identify. I just see myself as someone who is very passionate about certain things, and uses her voice (whether in song or not) to convey her message and somehow contribute to creating a higher consciousness and vibe.
I know the creative arts isn’t as embraced as it could be in the Tamil community. Did you experience this or see this with others?
I definitely did experience this – I think it’s interesting, a lot of young Tamil diaspora kids are taught music and/or dance growing up and we’re taught that this is something to embrace. As long as it’s a hobby. The moment we start to lean into this creative side as a form of income or as our career, it is absolutely looked down upon. I experienced this personally, and I see it all the time – not only within the Tamil community but also more broadly as South Asians.
What role has your family played in your journey?
Music wouldn’t be such a big part of my life and being if it weren’t for my Amma and Appa! Amma taught me Carnatic music at home when I was 4 years old, Appa always walked around the house singing classic Tamil film songs. Music was a part and parcel of us as a family growing up – from classical to Illaiyaraja, to Yesudas to SPB, it was everywhere and in every facet of my upbringing. Along with this love for music, came my Parents’ love for their homeland, and I inherited that same love through music.
You describe yourself on your website as a “Hippie with an MBA?” Why even pursue an MBA if you knew you were passionate about music?
I don’t see myself as a single-dimensional person – I have always been passionate about the social impact sector and sustainable development in India. I pursued an MBA to enable me to make a greater impact in this field – and throughout my life, music has always been something I came home to and that rejuvenated me, inspired me and made me feel connected to a higher power. I don’t see these two sides of me as mutually exclusive – to pursue one at the expense of another would be inauthentic to who I am.