Interview with Indian American singer.
By Rehnuma Majid
WASHINGTON, DC: Zoya Mohan’s music isn’t something you’d typically hear on a top 40’s station. There isn’t a hook played on an endless loop, something that’s easy to pick out from Gaga or Swift. And there certainly isn’t that mainstream fresh-off-the-production line feel to it.
The music, like Zoya herself, encompasses life, learning, and experience. And these, my friends, are among the essential things to creating truly original content.
The recent Berklee College of Music graduate, through the use of her unique sultry register, guitar and various other instrumentals, has created a sound that can only be described as audibly delicious.
The folk vibe is reminiscent of her upbringing, which incorporates traditional Hindi music and arts background. This, right off the bat transgresses her music beyond cultural borders and gives us a flavor which is distinctly eastern. And for someone who is both South Asian and American, these sounds are apt to feel right at home.
We were able to borrow some of Zoya’s time, while on route to her NYC tour, and chatted a bit about her upcoming album, growing success, and inspirations. Here are excerpts from the interview:
Was music something you always wanted to pursue?
No, actually. Growing up I did dance, belly dance, and traditional Hindi dancing. So I was really involved with that sort of thing. But a teacher heard one of my songs and really encouraged me to pursue it, like, “You have to do this!”
Were your parents and family supportive of you going into music as a career?
Oh yeah, absolutely. My parents are huge supporters. I would always go into music stores growing up and I was performing at parties at a young age.
You have a really fresh and unique sound; how did you develop it?
I like to experiment with different instruments. Personally, I play the guitar. My bandmates know how to play the sax, flute, clarinet, and even recorder. And I also understand there’s a fine line between giving people what they want to hear and what I’m making. I’m just trying to do a little of both.
You’re on tour now and headed to NYC! Excited?
I’m so excited! Thankful and grateful for all of the love and positive feedback I’m getting from everyone. I’m taking it day by day, but I can’t wait to see what’s coming.
I know this question can get asked a lot, but do you have any dream collaborations?
I love Ani DiFranco! And also Fiona Apple! If I was able to work with her I would probably cry. I really respect their songwriting and I think they’re great musicians.
Tell me more about your future album. It’s coming out in 2015?
Yes. I decided to push it back a bit and take more time to perfect it. I wanted every part of it to be just right. But for now, I’m super excited for everyone to see my visual EP LASYA. It’s going to feature modern and ballet dancers and it looks really amazing.