My Roots by Tamil-American singer Sandhya Chari is trending with over six lakh views, already!

Tamil-American singer Sandhya Chari is super excited about the attention her debut single is receiving online

author_img Romal Laisram Published :  14th January 2022 12:00 AM   |   Published :   |  14th January 2022 12:00 AM
Sandhya Chari

Sandhya Chari

US-based singer Sandhya Chari is on cloud nine as her latest single, My Roots, celebrating brown women, is on Rolling Stone’s Hit List and has garnered over six lakh views on YouTube. For a debutante artiste, this is definitely cause for excitement and the first generation Indian-American songstress with roots in Tamil Nadu is more than elated. We catch up with the crooner who recently won AR Rahman’s #99SongsCoverStar, to find out more about the single.

What is the story behind My Roots?
My Roots is homage to the multiculturalism that is inherent and abundant in South Asia. Breaking barriers, My Roots is also a women empowering anthem that invokes people to rise in their power. At the end of the day, regional and cultural differences should not prevent us from uniting. We are stronger when we are together!

What does the word ‘home’ mean to you?
The word ‘home’ is a little complicated for me since I was born and brought up in the US, but India has definitely influenced my growth and I’ve made so many amazing memories there. As I’m getting older, I definitely miss the rich culture that India has to offer. Chennai definitely feels like a home away from home to me. When I am in the US, I am always aching to come back to India.

Where are you based today and how do you root back to India?
I am based out of California, USA. I am a first generation Indian-American and my parents/ancestors have roots in Tamil Nadu, India. Whenever I visit India, I always stay in Chennai. So, Chennai always has a spot in my heart.

What is your fondest memory of Chennai?
The street food, auto rides, motorcycle rides, and walks around T Nagar are all of my fondest memories. The list goes on and on. Some of my best memories were made in Chennai. I love going to Marina Beach at night and eating all the street food there. Sowcarpet is my favourite place to shop, and I love the hustle and bustle! I can’t pinpoint one specific thing because Chennai is another home for me.

From covers to an original composition; tell us a little bit about the journey and a little bit about the video that focuses on women from all across India?
The journey has been full of learning and growth. The covers I did provided the foundation, but my first original composition allowed me to explore my creativity. I wanted to enter the independent industry with something unique that would make me stand out amongst other artists. The music video focuses on 14 deeply rooted South Asian women from different regions. We covered several states in India, and panned out to Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh as well. Each woman speaks a different native language, represents a different region, and is decked out in different cultural clothing. We wanted to be as authentic as possible and we scouted for women whose roots originate from that respective region. This track appreciates the beauty and versatility of desi women. Whether it is our features, intelligence, or talents — we honestly deserve to be celebrated.

A lot of your Tamil lyrics seem to be inspired by Tamil poetry on global harmony?
Yes, the Tamil lyrics are inspired from Tamil poetry and I wanted to be as authentic as possible with the meaning. The lyrics loosely translate to how we should not look at differences and create barriers, because at the end of the day we all claim a piece of this land.

Still from the video of My Roots
Still from the video of My Roots


Who penned the lyrics of the song and what are your opinions on the representation of brown women in the West?
I wrote the Tamil and English lyrics in this song! This line means that we come in all various shades of brown and we are literally, ‘drippin in melanin.’ I definitely think that representation of brown women in the West is slowly emerging. There is still room for expansion, but producers like Mindy Kaling and several South Asian actors are trying to make sure that there is more accurate representation in Western media.

If you had to summarise your sound, as it evolves, in one sentence, it would be?
My sound would probably be cross-cultural and a blend of Western and desi music. I am trying to combine the best of both worlds and to not restrict myself from exploring different genres and languages.

What can we expect from you, next?
I am working on a few more singles. This is just the start and I am really looking forward to continuing to release consistent music. Hopefully, I can collaborate with other artistes and sing in Bollywood/Kollywood one day. You can expect to see me dropping some bars in my next song, working with other musicians, singing in new languages, and blending modern day beats with desi elements.

Streaming on YouTube.