The 2021 Grammy nominations have a reason for Indians to celebrate, New York City-based Indian origin singer PriyaDarshini’s debut album ‘Periphery’ got nominated for the New Age Album Category. Getting a Grammy nomination is the ultimate dream of most musicians and that too for the debut album itself is a great step. The previous Indian Grammy nominees include legends like Ravi Shankar and his daughter Anoushka Shankar.
PriyaDarshini is a 37-year-old Tamilian living in New York City and is an actor, marathoner, philanthropist and entrepreneur. Her album ‘Periphery’ by Chesky Records is a harmonious collection of nine songs which explore the themes of the immigrant experience and multi-cultural identity. A South Indian born and brought up in Mumbai who then moved to New York to establish her career would be a quick summary of the artist. Periphery, as the name suggests is dedicated to immigrants who live on the periphery of the society and are often othered. She says her songs are a response to the anti-immigrant rhetoric that has resurfaced recently.
She even collaborated with Joan Morgan who is widely considered the Godmother of the Hip Hop feminist movement for one of the singles on the album, ‘The Banyan Tree’ which she describes as a ‘love song for survivors’. The album is a beautiful blend of traditional Indian music and improvisation with American folk and pop music and that is why it was no surprise when Periphery got nominated in the New Age Album category. The album features world-renowned cellist Dave Eggar, virtuoso hammered dulcimer player Max ZT, famed percussionist and environmentalist Chuck Palmer, and Living Color drummer Will Calhoun. PriyaDarshini has lent her voice for over 100 commercials and has also recorded award-winning soundtracks for Indian movies. She is also a part of many bands like Epichorus, the Karsh Kale ensemble and PriyaDarshini Trio and Woman’s Raga Massive while also running the NGO Jana Rakshita which helps cancer patients. She also holds the record of being the first and the youngest woman to run a 100-mile race in the Himalayas. PriyaDarshini is not just a talented musician but a force to be reckoned with.