Spotlight on Prakriti Nanda

“Listen to this song, if you can’t sleep”. Prakriti Nanda is sitting on the grass, strumming the Ukulele and singing pensively: “blow open the door, to a starry sky… turgid rivers, chirping birds .. of dreams, nightmares and reality… “ Her tryst with music, is a way of self-discovery. Songs that reflect Prakriti's world colluding with volatile emotions grappling intense times. “Currently, the challenge for me is to become okay with recording songs that I have written about my lover, without feeling the need to censor anything” says Pratika, speaking about the identity in formation, as a non-binary person/artist. Based in New Delhi, over the past few years Prakriti has evolved, building a repertoire as an emerging singer songwriter. As a part of our ongoing spotlight on emerging non-binary talent from India, we spoke to Prakriti Nanada, about coping with lock-downs, the need for self-expression and how she views the music ecosystem for non-binary artists in India.


What led you towards music initially?

Prakriti: I started exploring music as a form of self discovery. Finding a talent early in life grounded me and helped me establish a sense of identity. It was also the power of music to soothe me and make me feel connected to my family that attracted me to it. My songwriting has been heavy influenced by Norah Jones, John Mayer, The Staves, Lianne La Havas, Sara Bareilles and so many more. There's inspiring music everywhere, when listen more and more...

What challenges do you face, as a non-binary artist living in India?

 Prakriti: It's taken a fair amount of time, to be comfortable about talking openly, about gender, my sexuality in front of the audience. Especially while performing my music. Earlier, I'd have to censor my stories a little bit and that never felt right. Currently, the challenge for me is to become okay with recording songs that I have written about my lover, without feeling the need to censor my feelings...

It’s important that non-binary artists get more opportunities and listeners. One way to do that is to include queer artists in creating queer content. I have rarely ever seen a queer individual featured in a queer film or involved in the making of ‘pride anthem’, for example. Queer artists through their art or other forms of expression can help so many people make sense of their sexuality, gender and an overall sense of identity. To me, acknowledging the role of queer artists within crushing gender norms is also so empowering!

Tell us about your upcoming music and what motivates you currently?

Prakriti: I'm all set to release my first ever Hindi single in early December. 'Saavan' captures the desperation of hoping to grow under extremely difficult circumstances, such as the last two lockdowns. So many artists have been worried about their well being and growth through the past two years. I hope the song serves as a reminder to keep hope alive, in the difficult times that await us. Apart from that, I am also starting the process of recording fresh songs about my relationship and other life stuff in February, 2022. About career trajectory, I want to take a more collaborative approach to making music... one that pushes me step outside my usual style.