When I first stumbled across Anya Gupta on TikTok she literally took my breath away. After singing the first couple of lines of her song “you ruined phoebe bridgers”, I knew that she had found her target audience. Anya Gupta’s music has created a safe space for women of color who are Desi but especially Desi women who are part of the LGBTQ+ community.
I got the opportunity to interview Anya and highlight her musical journey from the very beginning and capture what’s next on her rise to the top as a predominant Indian-American artist who is making her mark on the world.
1.) How does the songwriting process look for you?
I write a lot and keep entries of my day, so if there is something substantial in there, I’ll start by finding an idea and basing the first lyric on it. Other times I will come up with a random melody and use voice memos on my phone to capture it, or I’ll start with a chord progression on guitar and immediately open up Logic Pro X on my laptop and start producing something then go from there.
2.)Where does your inspiration come from?
A lot of my inspiration comes from the music I listen to (FINNEAS, Billie Eilish, King Princess, Dodie, etc.) I also like to write about my life and the things I experience or just a universal idea I want to explore more. I strive to make my music as authentic as possible.
3.) What does being a Brown woman in the music industry mean to you?
Other than Raveena, I haven’t really seen any Brown, queer representation in the industry, let alone Brown representation. Being a brown woman and also identifying as queer, I’ve had people in my comments thanking me for writing the music I do about my life experiences and for being open about my sexuality because they feel like they don’t have an environment where they can properly express themselves and their identity. Being a brown woman in the music industry means giving other brown people a safe place to be themselves and also creating music they can really connect and resonate with. In some way now, it almost feels as if it’s my responsibility to do so and that’s not necessarily a bad thing since my overall goal in music is to build a safe community for the audience of listeners that genuinely enjoy the art I create.
4.) If you could collaborate with anyone who would it be?
Recently, I would say Phoebe Bridgers. In 2021, I spent a lot of time listening to her music and have definitely taken a lot of inspiration from her work. FINNEAS would also be a great one, I learned how to produce because of him. I’m constantly in awe of the lyrics Phoebe Bridgers writes and strive to be as good as her in the music industry. A lot of people who listen to my music also listen to her as well.
5.) What’s one piece of advice that you would give to an aspiring singer/songwriter?
Write what feels right to you. I’ve had a number of people come up to me telling me my music will never sell because I write “sad songs” and “only happy music sells.” One thing I give myself a lot of credit for is writing about what I want to write about and not falling into the trap of trying to create “the next hit.” My overall goal is to create authentic music that people can resonate with. I literally have a quote on my wall that said “Make stuff that makes you feel things.” I’m so grateful I’ve had friends to back me up whenever I’ve started doubting myself and the art I am creating. But in short, just create what you want to create because if you don’t enjoy the music you’re making, what’s the point? It’s your art. What matters most is if you’re proud of it, and I’m so happy with the music I’ve been writing recently.
6.) Tell us a little bit about yourself
I feel like this is always a loaded one and I never know what to say! Growing up, my two biggest stress relievers were running and writing. I never even thought about singing or writing songs until my freshman year of high school. Whenever I would go on runs, I would have stories and thoughts running through my brain and when I was done with my workout, I would grab my journal and just write it down. I used to draw a lot as well. I was always into art, and I definitely was the creative one in my family growing up. I think a lot with my heart rather than my brain (logic) which definitely makes things harder for me sometimes! But I think that’s what makes my songwriting good. I feel like the majority of high school I was out of touch with my identity, and it was only until I started taking music seriously, I was really able to start exploring myself and who I was. Even now, I’m still trying to figure out who I am, what my purpose is, and what else I want to do in life. Other than music, I play tennis, I love photography (I just bought my first film camera!), and I love puppies, especially my dog Coco.
7.) What was your favorite song to write from the album?
That’s an incredibly difficult one because all of them are so special to me. This song has gotten the least amount of attention but means the most to me; writing “on my body” was very cathartic because it felt like I was finally expressing a lot of things I was holding back that year. I definitely also poured the most emotion into that one. I also remember being really excited when I came up with the idea “you ruined phoebe bridgers.” Writing that song was so easy for me and it has also been the fan favorite. I remember showing it to one of my friends and she just loved the analogy and so did I. It really felt like I was able to tell my story and express my emotions perfectly. It’s also something so many people can relate to! I didn’t realize how many people tend to attach songs/artists to significant others, exes, friends, etc and how difficult it can be to let go of that.
8.)What’s one song that motivates you and has sentimental value for you?
Recently, it has been the song “Once a Day” by Mac Miller. I listen to it maybe three times a day minimum. It’s just so calming and makes me feel less overwhelmed. Mac Miller’s music always made me really happy and it’s nice to have that one song you can rely on to calm you down when you need it. It reminds me to just take my time and not rush anything and that everything is okay, most of the time I’m just overthinking and getting ahead of myself!
9.)What’s next for Anya Gupta?
I’m honestly not so sure yet! I just released this album three weeks ago and the support has been incredible. I’m so new to this industry and every milestone means the world to me, so I’m honestly just trying to bask in it, enjoy it, and not get ahead of myself. That said though, I am still writing songs in my free time and writing about the things I care about, so I wouldn’t doubt that new songs will be coming very soon!
Be sure to check Anya Gupta on all streaming platforms and listen to her new album “i (don’t) know you”
and stream “you ruined phoebe bridgers”! You can also find Anya’s music on different Spotify playlists.
Her Instagram is anya4204 while her TikTok is anyagmusic.