Lollapalooza India debutant Raveena Aurora on what inspired her latest album ‘Asha Awakening’
The US-based singer and songwriter performed in India for the first time at Lollapalooza 2023
A quick scroll through Raveena Aurora's Instagram and you could figure that being a child of the South Asian diaspora raised in the States is at the core of her songs, her style and her personality. The US-based singer and songwriter, who rose to prominence with her soft R&B tracks back in 2017, made her India debut at Lollapalooza.
Raveena performed at Mumbai's Mahalaxmi Race Course on the first day of the two-day music festival. While she started the year 2023 on a bang with her India debut, 2022 was no different for Raveena.
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The 29-year-old launched her album, Asha Awakening, where a Punjabi space princess embarks on a journey of self-exploration. Her setlist for Lollapalooza included songs from the said album.
Post her performance, Raveena sat with team Indulge for an exclusive chat revealing the inspiration behind Asha Awakening, the impact of South Asian roots on her style and much more.
The inspiration behind your latest album, Asha Awakening, comes from India, especially in the song Asha's Kiss. Tell us a little about that.
I wanted to create a love letter to all my Indian influences and also highlight the history of how Eastern and Western music have been meeting for decades now. I think as an Indian American artist and a child of the South Asian diaspora, I felt lost at times on where I really belonged in music.
In studying the history of the collaborations between South Asian and Western artists in the 60s and '70s, and also the early 2000s, I was able to find that my place in music I have always felt drawn to. I took a lot of inspiration from artists like Ananda Shankar, Asha Puthli, The Beatles, and Alice Coltrane from the '60s and '70s... and then Timbaland, MIA and Jai Paul from the early 2000s.
You performed at Lollapalooza as a celebrated Indie artist with over 120 million streams on Spotify to your credit, how did that make you feel?
I feel like it's a full-circle moment. I was so excited to share this moment with people who will understand me and my music in a way that's super innate.
One of the songs is titled Internet Is Like Eating Plastic and it throws light on the duality of the internet. How do you deal with the troll brigade that can make or break an artist's career with a tweet?
I don't think that anyone can take the spirit of someone's artistry away from them. You can get distracted by it, for sure, and trolling can eat you alive but I think our karma as artists is learning to stay focused and loving art over all other distractions like the internet, fame, money etc.
Apart from your music, you are also known for your dramatic sense of style. What inspires your on-stage looks?
Definitely goddess energy! I love wearing new designers and experimenting with vintage 70s pieces. Also, my mom custom-makes some costumes for me which I love.
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Once in an interview, you mentioned that during the start of your career, you were denied labels because you are brown. In your music now, you are seen wearing bindis and elaborate maang tikkas. Is that your way of embracing your ‘brownness’ in the West?
I think I can't hide it no matter what - whether I wore that stuff or not. It's just in me - I grew up around a really rooted Indian immigrant community and I feel very much inspired by both India and America. It does feel good, however, to incorporate the beauty of India in both my music and visuals.
Mumbai hosted Asia's first-ever Lollapalooza music festival featuring 40-plus artistes from across the globe, including American pop rock band Imagine Dragons and Punjabi rap star AP Dhillion. The tickets for the festival were priced at Rs 12,000 (general) and Rs 23,000 (VIP access).