Supriya Nagarajan is a pretty remarkable woman. Her upcoming album Posse of Fireflies is making a statement on anti-light pollution, she has also been nominated for Wonder Woman of the Year (Woman at Home Magazine) and also runs a national PRSF funded mentoring program for female artists and composers to help them overcome the barriers that Supriya had faced years ago.
Supriya founded and is CEO of Manasamitra, following a successful international banking career. In an interview with us, when asked to introduce herself, Supriya described herself as:
“I’m a person who likes to compose music and sing! My compositions are all very visual, inspired by visuals. Visuals is a subject that really interests me, so I create visuals for things that inspire me in my head and that actually translates into a musical piece… Apart from that, I am a very people-oriented individual; Close with family values, focused on the people around me (friends, family, etc.)”
The visual inspiration comes across beautifully in Supriya’s upcoming album Posse of Fireflies mixing traditional South-Indian sounds with electronic elements to capture the fireflies that illuminated the artist’s childhood 30-hour coal train trips from metropolitan Mumbai to rural Madras.
It’s clear that family is something that is very important to Supriya and a great source of inspiration and support :
“My mother is a musician herself and she was my biggest inspiration during my childhood. My husband and my children have always been supportive during this journey. This is my second career so I actually made a conscious decision to move from my first career, which was accounting, to music.”
Supriya runs a mentoring programme to support female artists in the music industry as she herself had many barriers to overcome on her own journey. I asked her what she would change about the music industry:
“Oh, there are plenty of things I would change! Gender inequality, ethnic inequality, etc. – the inequality in the music industry is tremendous. And also the monetisation and salaries because people who make commercial music or pop music are the only ones who manage to survive longer in the industry. Everyone else, independent artists who are in genres that are not considered “commercially viable” really struggle. So there really has to be a uniformity, allowing all musicians to survive. During covid I don’t know what people would have done without music and yet, when it comes to paying for music people hesitate. Commercial artists make millions and then indie artists are left with very little.”
“My personal fight has been a mixture of ethnic and gender inequality, because I’ve been promoting a mentoring scheme for south-asian women composers. I find that there are none or very few in the UK and I feel that in 2022 this is very unacceptable.”
The gender and ethnic inequality in the music industry is definitely a space that still needs to be fought for and it’s women like Supriya that are making a huge difference by using their platform to spread awareness and by helping others. The advice that she gives to young women in the music industry is definitely worth taking on board (I know I will)
“Just 3 very important things for me; Have the guts and resilience to prepare for a difficult journey, be confident throughout this process and keep your individual voice. Don’t dilute your voice. The most crucial thing is to not worry about closed doors because there are always going to be other doors that will open for you. For that 1 door that has closed, there are 2 new beginnings for you. You just need to keep moving forward and work hard to keep those doors open.”
“It’s a difficult journey and you have to be prepared. But you can’t stop, you have to keep walking and you will get there. And you will find your place in the industry, there’s a niche place for everyone you have to just keep working until you find it. There’s definitely a place for everyone here!”
Be sure to check out Posse of Fireflies when it’s released on the 15/08 and show this incredible lady some love.