South Asian female artists are just as talented as their male counterparts but sadly, these fantastically talented ladies don’t get the attention they deserve.
They’ve got power packed voices, lyric writing skills, composition of sick beats, and some, even have amazing dancing skills to match. There are quite a few rising stars that you definitely need to follow as these ladies will seriously blow you away with their level of skill.
Check out these 8 female artists we think you absolutely need to know
1. Ashni Dave
Ashni Dave is a singer and songwriter currently in New York City, where she teaches and performs. You may have seen Dave rocking venues like Rockwood Music Hall, Music Hall of Williamsburg, The Greene Space, The Bowery Poetry Club, and more.
Her music is all about the journey of life, from how people respond to pain to how one heals and learns about oneself. She has a heavy jazz and R&B flavor in her music which is sweet, soulful and even cathartic. She draws influences from the talented artists she grew up listening to from Amjad Ali Khan, Zakir Hussain and old-school Bollywood to Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles and Billie Holiday. Dave has even studied western classical piano.
You can catch this singer’s music on Spotify’s Women of Jazz playlist, Bitch Media’s Podcast: Growing Up Immigrant, and the acclaimed, up-and-coming web series Brown Girls.
2. Nida Hussain
Nida Hussain is a Pakistani-American singer from New York City. Hussain grew up in a family of music lovers and the talented young lady picked up the singing bug from her dad and aunts who would always perform at family events.
Hussain is naturally gifted with a melodious voice and she is working hard to hone her craft. The artist is learning to play new instruments and dabbling in writing original music as well. She loves being able to blend her South Asian heritage with her American lifestyle through her music and experiment with it.
Her inspirations are a blend of both cultures as well from Pakistani musicians like Qurat-ul-Ain Baloch, to Bollywood top hits and even mainstream American artists. Just at the start of her career, this artist is one to look out for.
3. Sonia Rao
Sonia Rao can not only sing, but she’s grown up studying violin, piano, guitar and the flute—this girl can do it all!
Rao has this alternative pop vibe that has gotten her music featured on more than 35 shows including MTV’s Jersey Shore, ABC’s The Vineyard, Married to Jonas, Underemployed and Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Her single “You Say I” from her debut album was featured on MTV India! Not only has her music allowed her to independently raise $40,000 to fund the recording of three albums, she’s also performed and spoken at TEDx regarding gender equality!
Can you say #GirlPower?
Rao received loads of praise from mentors CeeLo Green and Christina Aguilera regarding her third album Meet Them At The Door when Rao was on their singing reality show, “The Voice.” Rao’s music—especially the tracks of her third album—tell a powerful story whether it’s a break up song, a song to help you overcome a dark time in your life and remind you that things will get better or a beautifully empowering track that allows your inner doubts to fade. She sings from personal experience, her transparency is why it’s so relatable and easy to love.
4. Raja Kumari
Indian American rapper, song writer, recording artist and classically trained dancer, Raja Kumari is absolutely killing the game. She is tough, she is raw, she is real and she is so talented these male rappers need to step their game up ASAP because this princess is ready to take over.
Raja Kumari is best known for her collaboration with notable artists including Gwen Stefani, Iggy Azalea, Fifth Harmony, Knife Party, and Fall Out Boy. She is also recognized for receiving the BMI Pop Awards in 2016 for her songwriting skills and for being nominated for a Grammy award in February 2015.
5. Anjali World
California’s sexy young diva, Anjali World is an Indian-American singer and songwriter. The urban pop singer specializes in pop, R&B and international music, she brings a youthful new vibe to the music scene.
Anjali has been singing since she was a kid, she even joined a women’s chorus as a teen and recorded with her brother at his home studio in the Bay Area during the infamous “hyphy movement.” She’s even been writing poetry and song lyrics since her childhood and is influenced by the greats in all art forms from Shakespeare to Lauren Hill. She’s sang the national anthem at NBA games, opened for artists like Trey Songz, Raghav and New Boyz.
Her first single was “Turn Up” featuring popular rapper, French Montana after signing with Nick Cannon’s label Ncredible Entertainment.
This gorgeous singer is not just a pretty face but very intelligent. She has a Marine Ecology degree from the University of California, Berkeley, she taught herself to play the ukulele, co-founded the non-profit Jaws & Paws which aims to raise awareness and conservation tactics for protecting the environment, she is a painter as well and runs an online clothing store with apparel sporting her artwork and a portion of the proceeds from both her album sales and clothing sales are donated to Jaws & Paws. Clearly, she’s taking over the world ASAP.
6. Sonia Mehta
You may not have heard of Sonia Mehta as she is reserved and quiet financial analysts who loves to read but don’t be fooled by her shy exterior, this girl packs a punch. Analyst by day and musician by night, Mehta has a powerful voice and is just as passionate about her growing music career as she is about her career as a financial analyst. The Ohio State University graduate describes her influences as being a blend of everything from alternative rock to Bollywood but her own voice has more of a pop music feel.
Mehta doesn’t understand Hindi too well but she was always moved the emotions of Bollywood music. She feels inspired by Bollywood music and her South Asian heritage and the blend of cultures shows in her music.
7. Neetu Dhanjo
Neetu Dhanju’s is a singer and songwriter who hopes to empower with her meaningful lyrics that add so much depth to her music. Dhanjo uses thoughtful lyrics to send messages of positivity and of love regardless of race, age, gender, or sexual orientation. She reminds you that while you can be vulnerable and hurt in love, love can also make you incredibly strong.
Her music career began with YouTube covers in 2013, and the young star was noticed by many including Cosmopolitan Magazine which featured her “Blank Space” by Taylor Swift cover and she won third place on Ryan Seacrest’s online contest with her “Monster” cover.
She’s not only talented and adorable, this singer is brilliant as well! She’s currently enrolled in the Canadian & American Dual JD Program at the University of Windsor School of Law and Detroit Mercy School of Law. The Dual JD is a unique program that prepares its graduates to sit for both Canadian and U.S. bar exams and to practice in both countries.
8. Vidya Vox
Vidya Vox may be one of the more popular singers on this list of artists you should know. She’s an Indian-born American who grew up in Virginia and is trained in Carnatic classical music from a young age. She’s also learning Hindustani Classical and taking Western voice lessons as well.
This little packet with a huge voice is regularly a vocalist of the Shankar Tucker Band and has performed at great venues and festivals around the world including the White House, NCPA, Webster Hall, Festivals Des Artes in Reunion Island, MERU in Netherlands, & INK Women.
Vox’s popularity grew immensely after she started releasing her Bollywood and Western pop mashups on her YouTube channel. With millions of subscribers and praise from stars like Diplo, Major Lazer and Hrithik Roshan, as well as publications such as Cosmopolitan, Buzzfeed, The Hindu, Deccan Chronicle and many more—this artist is one you definitely need to follow.