When I was a young girl, this whole dream began for me with a vision. I was looking out to this crowd of thousands of people and I could feel the energy. Before that I never even thought about being a musician. I just knew that I had to become that artist that was looking out from those eyes. Growing up in America was really different for me because I just saw visions of beauty that were blonde hair and blue eyes. It was just Britney Spears and Christina, you know, there was no one like me. So I started writing about how I didn’t fit in. Everybody has this idea that signing a record deal means you’ve made it. Getting signed to a record label is like qualifying for the Olympics and now you have to go compete and win the gold. ‘Cause after I made the album, it was like, “we love the music, but we’re confused about you singing it.” “Like, what Indian girl makes hip hop music?” I was so motivated to prove everyone wrong. And there was this whole growing hip hop movement in India. So I left Los Angeles and I moved to Bombay. Bombay, Mumbai, one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever lived in. And I’m not just saying beautiful because of the colors, and the food and the energy. It was beautiful because it was a creative space where I could truly be myself. I didn’t have to explain why I’m wearing a dot on my head, or what language is that in? It was just acceptance and that really gave me freedom, as a creator, to really explore. I brought in dancers, I started doing costuming, I started putting flowers on my mic stand. It’s really where I created my stage presence. And for me, feeling so invisible in America, to just feeling so celebrated and seen. Like, everything, all the pain I had gone through, all the rejection from the American industry, everything I was feeling, just disappeared. I had a lot of really exciting moments, but I had so much to learn. I put out a song called, ‘Roots.’ The song is very “talking shit” and that’s how we do it in America. And I thought I could do that in India. I said something that ended up being very controversial and hurt a lot of people. They didn’t expect that from me. To underestimate the pain attached to certain words and certain things. There was so much hate online and it hurt my feelings so bad. I started questioning myself, like am I doing the right thing? Should I be here? And it really reminded me of when I was young. I knew I wanted to be an artist but I was always scared someone would get there before me. I was always scared that I wasn’t pretty enough. It just got me back in that place. The show must go on and I was still booked for some shows in India. I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know if they were gonna receive me with the same love or if they were gonna chew me up and spit me out. And when I looked out in the audience I saw people with smiles on their faces. And they were singing all the lyrics to the songs. Just radiating love. I just knew that, whatever I was creating, had become part of their life, and it was their music. I wasn’t allowed to stop, you know? I wasn’t allowed to give up. I had to become the artist that I needed when I was growing up. What if in five years, in ten years, there’s a girl that grew up listening to me that becomes one of the greatest artists of all time, and wins a Grammy coming out of India? I wanna see that future. And I just hope that I can do my part to inspire them, so they don’t have to feel the way I felt. They don’t have to feel alone. They can be proud of where they come from and they can be different. Being different is totally okay. It is always an option.