East meets West Brit Pop/Club Singer Indiraa is a darling among many of the mainstream A-list DJ’s and is fast becoming force to be reckoned with on the commercial music scene. The Indian-born Indiraa rose in fame with her catchy electro pop hits, “I Get Off” and “Shrink”, however the singer/songwriter pushed the boundaries by openly discussing her battle with depression and how her music has helped slowly tackle this. Now the star returns with an upcoming collaboration with famed Reggae artist Maxi Priest and their new single “Yo-yo”.
Can you tell me what you have been up to in the last year after the release of Bollywood Queen?
I don’t know where to start, I completed my Album Never Too Late and I can honestly say it was really fun to do. I performed at various venues including Trafalgar Square, Portugal, Southampton and numerous venues in London including The British Indian Awards. I performed at charity events for Pancreatic Cancer Action and Great Ormond Street. A nomination for The Asian Women’s Achievement Awards saw me into the last five in my category of Arts and Culture. I spent the summer in Portugal and wrote all the lyrics for my new album. I am in the process of completing my new album Second Chance which features the Reggae legend Maxi Priest. I had a great time working with him and I also had the good fortune of working with a gifted musician who brought my lyrics to life, his name is Livingston Brown and he has worked with the biggest names in the industry. My latest songs on my new album were mastered at Abbey Road, for me just being within the holy grail of musicians was exciting, overwhelming and I am still in disbelief. I did a small role in a Danny Dyer movie which got me a lead role in another. I also shot four videos this last year, two abroad and one with Maxi Priest in London, all in all it was quite an eventful year.
How have you found the music industry so far?
The music industry is an exciting place to be a part of. Needless to say like in all aspects of life you will meet people who are good to you and people who can be hard to get on with, but that is life. The difficult part is waiting for something to happen, the fun part is meeting musicians, radio personalities and all the links in the chain of making an album and making a career. Going to places like Abbey Road was the most exciting thing ever.
In the last year do you feel you have developed as an artist and if so how?
The experiences of life will always help you mature in whatever you may do. Initially when I started writing lyrics I would go spontaneously by what I felt at the time. Like to ponder over past experiences and future expectations, another part of my experience over the last year is changing my voice to its natural singing voice rather than trying to be something I am not. When I first started singing I did a lot of club music and tried to sound younger than my years, I now feel my voice goes with my mature lyrics and my more experienced view of life. I find it very easy to sit in on interviews live or otherwise and just be myself rather than someone I think people would like me to be. I am what I am.
How did you come about working with Maxi Priest?
I believe in life everything happens for a reason and it will happen at the right time, in my early days my music was not mature enough to handle someone as amazing as Maxi Priest to work with. I had the good fortune of meeting Livingston Brown and started working on my new album with him. He loved my lyrics and said that it would be great to work with me further in the future. While we pondered over 300 sheets of paper of words written by me I chose one which I would love to do as a duet, to which he answered “let me run it by Maxi and see if he’s interested”. The rest is history I guess, Maxi knows a good song when he sees it and I certainly know a good star when I see one. I guess I was ready to work with the big guns, as I said everything happens for a reason at the right time.
What do the lyrics in your new song mean and what inspired them?
It is said that men are from Mars and women are from Venus and that is why we understand each other as we would someone from another planet. The song yo-yo is basically how you feel when you are in a relationship, like a yo-yo up-and-down! It is not just women who feel insecure about a relationship, men can feel as insecure, they just do not voice it as vocally as women do. In this song, a man and woman speak of the relationship from their perspectives and you realise we’re as insecure as one another. The days in a relationship a man and woman both feel “up and down, like a yo-yo, swinging on a string!” I think everybody has experienced this at some stage in their lives.
In your past interviews you have talked about depression and how your music has helped, how so?
Depression in my case is a clinical depression and it is not something that will go away without medication. It is like a diabetic having to take medicine or a heart patient having to take medicine for life, I accept that this is a something I have to bear with. We all have ways of making a tough job easier, I do not think that music will altogether takeaway my depression but I look at it as a crutch. For a person who cannot walk it makes it easier to walk but it does not create a miracle where you stand up and run a marathon. Hopefully as time goes by it will get easier for me to lean less on my crutch and yet I know it’s always there for me, music is in my heart, in my soul and also in my head. I will always need music in my life as much as I need the air that I breathe.
What would you say to someone suffering if they think they may be suffering from depression?
My advice to anyone suffering from depression is you may not eradicate it forever but one thing you can do is make it easier. It is “never too late” to do anything in your life that’ll make you happier. Anything that you aspire to be you can be, human beings are not limited, we’re infinite in our abilities. I found a way to deal with it and was fortunate. I do not believe I could have got through without medication, at times I have tried to give it up believing I was okay but I had gone one step forward and two steps back. If you need medication take it, that is my advice. If you feel you cannot get out of bed in the morning, you have nothing to say to people, or you just are not happy all I can say is one thing, it is the title of the very first song I wrote “I need a shrink!” if you need to see a psychiatrist you are not crazy you are clever enough to recognise you need help.
What have been your musical inspirations from yester years and do you find your music is inspired from your youth?
My biggest inspiration while growing up in music was George Harrison as I believe he is one of the best lyricists in the world. George Harrison had insight into life and lives to come. He also had the ability not just to make his “guitar gently weep” but to make the people who listened deeply to what he had to say, he made their souls gently weep. I spent a lot of my youth listening to music memorising lyrics and during the concert for Bangladesh I went door-to-door singing songs from the concert collecting money for Bangladesh. It is a part of my youth I fondly hang on to. He taught me to feel for other people who are less fortunate than I. George Harrison taught me not to listen to what people say but why they are saying what they say. My modern-day hero is Bryan Adams. In my new album I have written a song called “rock guru” which I have dedicated to my rock guru – Bryan Adams. Bryan Adams is not in external showman he is a true musician.
You have a daily routine which keeps you physically fit, can you describe a normal day of exercise and is it getting harder to maintain a healthy lifestyle?
I do not pretend to be the most disciplined person in the world but I have always battled with my weight and try and keep my weight at the low end of my height bracket which is for various reasons. These are vanity and health. I have always had to battle with my weight and used to play tennis at a fairly good level and played in a lot of competitions, this enabled me to keep fit from a very young age. As a result whenever I run I do a minimum of 5 to 6km on certain days of the week. Alternatively if I am near a swimming pool when I am travelling I try to do a minimum of 100 lengths. I try to eat as healthily as I can but I cheat now and again. I like to kickbox occasionally and have a boxing ring in my home in my gym. I do not tend to do a lot of weight training anymore and I do not ride horses as I suffered a severe back injury a couple of years ago. I feel that when I am on stage or anything to do with the entertainment industry people expect you to look a certain way. We should not judge a book by its cover but sadly we will do hence I trying keep myself as trim and groomed as possible.
You talk of relationships in your lyrics, what advice would you give a single woman in today’s world and do you think women have caught up with men in the game of love and equality.
I can honestly tell a single woman that if she is unhappy being single then all she has to do is go on a manhunt. Men and women are very devious in the game of love, the fact that we dominate the game of love in itself suggests that it entails strategy and ultimately a win or lose situation. I was once told that women give sex to get love and men give love to get sex, single women must bear this in mind. Having said that human beings are very manipulative, we are all capable of playing games, mind games or otherwise, but do not play with the person’s heart as you can only lose!
Yo Yo will be released on 16th March 2015.