For our latest #KetchupTalks sesh we caught up with Ananya Birla who spoke about signing with the international record label, Maverick and a lot more!

Ananya Birla is a singer-songwriter based between Mumbai, London and Los Angeles, and the first homegrown artist to go Platinum with an English language track in India – something she has now done five times with two of the tracks achieving double-platinum status.

The self-taught santoor and guitar player, has reached over 300 million combined streams and has also performed at major Indian concerts including Global Citizen, Oktoberfest, Sunburn, Asia’s biggest electronic music festival, and has plans to perform in The UK and US over the coming year.

The latest update about Ananya that has her fans all the more excited is the fact that she is now the first Indian artist to sign with the famous record label, Maverick. We caught up with Ananya Birla about this exciting news and more.

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Check out how our conversation with Ananya Birla went…

1. You’re the first Indian artist to sign with Maverick. Are you thrilled? 
“Totally. I am so happy with the way things have been going over the past couple of years, and I feel ready to take things to the next level. With Maverick, I have the best possible team to achieve that. Their roster of artists is incredible, from Madonna to The Weeknd. It motivates me even more to work hard, produce music that people will connect with both here and around the world, and to become the best possible artist I can be. The Maverick team understands the industry better than anyone, I had such a good vibe from my first meeting with them and we were on totally the same page. I’m so excited about what we can do together!”

2. You’re a multi-platinum selling pop artists and have your own style. Now that you’re entering the International pop scene, are you thinking of modifying it in any way?

“Every artist always needs to be growing and evolving. Last year I experimented with different sounds and genres, you can hear it most on ‘Blackout’ and ‘Day Goes By’. I love to do that, and especially to work with artists from different parts of the world – it reaffirms for me that music is the ultimate global language that has the power to connect people. Whatever I do, I am going to stay true to myself and the music that I want to make. Since I started out, the most important thing for me is to be authentic. People appreciate music that comes from the heart, I definitely do, you can connect with a song so much better when the feelings behind it are real.”

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3. You have collaborated with artists like Sean Kingston and Afrojack. Are you already working on any collaborations?

“In my opinion, collaborations are the way to move forward and expand audiences. There is so much to learn from the collaborative process. When you collaborate, you can elevate a song to a totally different level because you see new perspectives. I’ve met so many amazing and inspiring artists who I would love to get in the studio with both in India and over in the US. We have some really exciting things lined up over the next few months, but I don’t want to ruin the surprise!”

4. Where do you find inspiration for your songs?

“I find my inspiration in real life – things that I’ve been through, places that I visited or people I have met. I like to write about things that have moved me personally, and then develop that idea and make it relatable to other people. It is always real and honest.”

5. Since Bollywood is the major producer of songs and music in India, can we expect you to create music for Bollywood as well?

“I love Bollywood music. Whenever I am back home in Mumbai, I love a movie night with my family and friends. I like writing my songs myself, or co-writing them and since I think in English, I write in English – that’s actually one of the primary reasons why I sing in English but you never know what the future holds!”

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6. You’re also a mental health advocate and entrepreneur, will you also be looking at taking your philanthropic efforts international with your association with Maverick?

“Mpower is based in India, but the message is a universal one. We need to stamp out the stigma around mental illness and make sure that everyone knows that it is okay to not always be okay and to have someone to turn to when they are going through a difficult time. I read all the time about how music can be a really positive force for people who are struggling. It has been so helpful for me when I have gone through difficult times. I want to do more to connect my music and mental health work. I think it is my responsibility to try to use my platform to make a positive impact.”

Besides her music, Ananya Birla is a strong believer of equality. She launched, Mpower, a mental health initiative after she battled her own issues whilst at Oxford University and works towards dispelling the stigma associated with mental health illnesses and providing care in India where there’s been little to date. She also promotes female empowerment through her business Svatantra which lends small loans to women entrepreneurs in rural India to grow their businesses and become financially independent.