Musicians to watch: Anjali Taneja
Ahead of the release of her latest single, Paradise, I had the chance to talk to Anjali Taneja about her music, what inspires her and the advice she has for other creatives. I had the chance to listen to Paradise pre-release and I instantly fell in love with the honeyed sound of her voice and the soulful and RnB beats present throughout her music. Paradise is reminiscent of Anjali's smash hit My Side, which has over 120k streams on Spotify, and contributes to the creation of her unique sound.
Paradise, Anjali Taneja's third single, is able to stream on all platforms TODAY.
So, who is Anjali Taneja?
I was born and raised near Washington, D.C., and was classically trained in North Indian classical music from a young age. Most of the music I write and sing now is R&B and modern soul music, both of which consumed and inspired me very early on.
Why did you begin creating music? What inspires your sound? Sonically, I'm very inspired by artists such as Mariah Carey and Etta James, and you can also hear some melodic and harmonic tendencies that I think naturally come from my training in North Indian classical vocal music. It's subtle but I think you can hear a blend of elements that have influenced my life in this cohesive sound, especially in this song! I think a lot of people can relate to feeling like they are in between 2 cultures, and I want to create a sonic space in which people don't feel like they have to choose which parts of themselves to share/hide but rather celebrate all of them.
Describe your musical style in 3 words: Soulful, chill, acoustic
Do it because you love music, keep your focus on the art & don't worry about outcomes, and if you can, find just one or two people who really believe in you and keep them around
What has your experience been of being a creative in the South Asian community?
It took me a while to figure out what it was that I really wanted to communicate through my music. After walking away from a few opportunities a couple years ago, I took some time to think about how to communicate my unique experiences as an Indian-American and how to combine two very distinct sounds (Indian classical and R&B) to create something that was a true reflection of me! I found that many people could relate to my experiences, specifically after collaborating with other South Asian artists (e.g. Pav Dharia) and performing at Sessions Music Festival (Terminal 5, NYC).
I realized that one of the most rewarding parts of my music process was meeting and working with other South Asian creatives, and even inspiring other young women in the South Asian community whom I met along the way! Now, I am grateful to have an amazing team of people that really understand my vision. For my latest singles and forthcoming EP, I've teamed up with producer Mars Today (Kyle Dion, Destin Conrad, Siaira Shawn), and we've created a really cool musical world for me to explore. I'm excited to release the EP we have been working on together for over a year!
What music have you released so far?
I have been writing for years, but didn't release much music until 2019 when I wrote & released a song with Punjabi artist, Pav Dharia. Since then, I've released a few singles that were featured on Spotify editorial playlists such as Fresh Finds, No Borders, New Music Friday India, etc.
My last 2 singles were featured Ones to Watch, Escape Tracks, Rolling Stone India, and Fashionably Early among others. I will be releasing the third and final single ("Paradise") off of my EP on February 10th (TODAY!), and will be releasing my debut EP by early summer!
So it seems music forms a really important part of your life! Aside from music then, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Hang out with my friends & family, travel to warm places :)
Do you have any advice for other South Asians who are trying to release their own music?
Know that you're the only one who can define what happiness and success through music looks like for you. Do it because you love music, keep your focus on the art & don't worry about outcomes, and if you can, find just one or two people who really believe in you and keep them around :)
Upon reflection, if you could tell your younger self something before you started your musical journey, what would it be?
I'd tell myself that it's possible to create a path for yourself even if you feel like you have no role models! It's possible to create a world where you can express different facets of yourself artistically, and you shouldn't be limited to what has been done by others before you (though that can be a great source of initial inspiration)!
Stream Paradise on all streaming platforms!