“The music world is coming together”: A Chat with Downtempo Musician Priyya

I was blown away when I first heard Priyya’s music. I was minding my own business, scrolling through Facebook during work hours when I came across an interview that looked interesting. I clicked through to Priyya’s song ‘Constant’ (produced by DRKBXT) and when I hit play, I was swept away into a world of wonder.

I love how elegant and graceful the sound is, and at the same time, how comfortable. This Nepalese-born singer and musician is based in New Jersey and is a pioneer in the world of Downtempo music. Their music is melodic and soothing, and in between beats, holds echoes of social themes of identity and belonging. I feel like I’m in a trance if I listen to their music long enough. It relaxes the soul. I was able to discuss a little bit with Priyya about what their life is like, so please enjoy!

Black Nerd Problems: First things first: What’s the nerdiest thing about you?

Priyya: Getting into heated discussions about Star Wars.

BNP: Run the gamut with us; what does your everyday life look like?

Priyya: Work all day, music at night, wine breaks in between.

BNP: Your music blends culture with ethereal magic. How do you create your sounds?

Priyya: [I’m] still working on my unique “sound” but one of my favorite things to do is to blend natural sounds with those digitally produced. I take influences from all around me, from my friends, the musicians I work with, my family, and that is what inspires my writing the most. My mother was a classical Nepalese singer, and I am really trying to evoke those diatonic tones and vocal techniques in my singing as well. My biggest teacher is and always will be my mama.

BNP: Do you find yourself inserting a lot of socio-political commentary in your work?

I feel that my upcoming music will be very much influenced by social and cultural factors. That is a big reason why I feel it is important to sing in both English and my mother tongue, Nepalese. While all my songs may not carry obvious political themes, I feel that representing my experiences as an immigrant and not adhering to Western expectations of “pop” music are equally as important as creating the music itself. Despite the many dilemmas we face today, one positive thing I have noticed in the music world is the coming together of different cultures and a wave of females of color, conveying their voices unapologetically. This is such an encouraging and inspiring notion to artists such as myself.

BNP: What are your plans for the future?

Priyya: Keep creating, writing, living, and hopefully making beautiful friendships and memories along the way.

Social Media Links:

Soundcloud: Priyya

Facebook: Priyya Music

Twitter: @priyya____

Photography Credit:

Cover image: Elena Mudd @elenamudd

Interior image: Althea Thom @g.y.l.a

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  • Oona Sura is a cosplay enthusiast with an appreciation for Framboise Lambic, Haruki Murakami, and cats. Catch her at the next anime convention on the East Coast!

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