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Posted at: Mar 10, 2018, 2:44 AM; last updated: Mar 10, 2018, 2:44 AM (IST)

On the rise

A look at the women indie artistes making their way to fame

Srishti Millicent

There is a song called Blood Brothers. Pretty underrated, it is a unique take on feminism. Sung by American indie pop singer Ingrid Michaelson, the video shows her dressed up as various celebrities — from Amy Winehouse to David Bowie and John Lennon; the leitmotif of the song being how men and women are the same by blood and it’s just the outer appearance that makes them different. The Indian music industry is going through interesting times where women musicians are having an increased say. With #TimesUp still trending and #MeToo still forcing people to speak up against abuse — even that perpetrated decades ago — it is time to raise a toast to women who are making the right kind of noise.

Zephyrtone

If you are in love with EDM, you must be aware of this iconic duo. Zephrytone is one of the youngest electronic bands to have shared stage with prominent artistes like Porter Robinson and Cole Ingram. The duo consists of Zephyre (above, right), a vocalist, and Sayan, the music producer. Their song, Only You, has catapulted them to fame. Zephyr says that while a woman DJ from abroad is always welcome here, desi women DJs don’t get the same reception. “I feel we should give equal opportunity to Indian women DJs. Local talent should be promoted and acknowledged as much as the foreign talent,” she says.

Dee MC

Deepa Unnikrishnan, known by her stage name of Dee MC, is a Mumbai-based rapper who has been contributing to the hip-hop scene in India. Dee MC’s music speaks about upliftment of women and breaking social barriers. We ask her why she makes the statement and she says, “Feminism is something we require in each walk of life. Music industry should be no different. I believe it’s important for women to acknowledge their freedom and consider themselves as equals. But that’s not always possible in an aggressively patriarchal society like ours. So, it’ll definitely take a lot of time, but I believe that cycle has set its motion already.”

Shalini Mohan

Bangalore-based bassist and vocalist Shalini Mohan is breaking all stereotypes with her guitar skills. Shalini had a keen interest in music ever since she was young. So, when her job in a software company seemed too mundane, she decided to be a full-time musician. She has played for popular bands like Lagori, Allegro Fudge and has also collaborated with famous indie singers like Vasundhara Das and Mir Mukhtiyar Ali on The Shah Hussain Project. She takes immense pride in the fact that her ilk does not do the things expected of them at a certain age — getting married and having babies. “It's amazing, especially in a field that is not conventional, for a woman to break stereotypes and step up to her true calling. To see young women make it big on the indie scene makes me very, very happy,” says Mohan.

Suman Sridhar

Jack of all trades, Suman Sridhar has lent her dulcet voice to Hindi movies like Shaitan, Bombay Velvet and Talaash. She is not only a singer but a songwriter and actress too. Sridhar started learning music at a very young age and, as Sridhar says, “music chose me”.  Asked about the state of women in the Indian music industry, she says, “I think the quality of women artistes in the Indian music industry is generally higher than their male counterparts as they have a lot more to prove, given society’s biases. Despite this, women artistes still don’t receive an equal opportunity.”

Raja Kumari

Svetha Rao, professionally known as Raja Kumari, is an Indian-American songwriter and rapper known for songs like “Meera” and “City Slums” featuring rapper Divine. The Grammy-nominated singer has collaborated with the other major artistes like Iggy Azalea, Gwen Stefani, Fifth Harmony, Timbaland, AR Rahman and Fall Out Boy on various projects. Her voice was recently featured in the song “Freaking Life” from the movie Mom. She feels there is a lot of scope for women today to make themselves heard, but she feels there are not many women out there. “There is still a lack of female musicians in the Indian industry. But I think that if I work hard and make proper music, people cannot deny my music. Whether you are a woman or a man, they will only care about the music.”

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