Being a B.I.B:: How Has Depression Affected you?

Today’s post was meant to be something completely different entirely. As my first B.I.B. post, I’d wanted to keep it light-hearted but I couldn’t shy away from the truth and the issues I’ve faced as a person first and foremost.

But also as a British Indian Bengali girl.

The Asian Destination :: Depression :: being a BIB

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Chai & Chats with: Veena V

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From the very early age of 15, Veena V has been one to watch in the radio industry. She was awarded ‘Best Radio Presenter’ at the Channel 4 Talent Awards in 2008 and has interviewed the likes of Nicole Scherzinger and Jay Sean but still has many ambitions waiting to be fulfilled. The Asian Destination (TAD) talks to Veena V (VV) on her success. 

TAD: Veena, you made your mark in the radio industry from the early age of 15. What was it about radio that made you want to pursue it as a career?

VV: I just always found it fascinating from a very young age. When I was 5 I used to make cassettes for my family and teachers of me playing song and talking in between the tracks – little did I know I had put together a radio show!

I love being on the radio it gives me such a buzz and didn’t really think of doing anything else as a career (except being a teacher, popstar, businesswoman and 100m Olympic runner when I was little!) Working in the broadcasting industry has always been my passion.

 

TAD: You have been so successful in your career already and yet you are still so young. How does it feel that many of your fans have placed you as their role model and look up to you?

VV: I wouldn’t say I’m successful and I’m no where near where I want to be in my life and still have so many ambitions I want to fulfil. Many people don’t realise I’m also a Mum so have slowed down in the last couple of years to really spend quality time with my son. Being a mum inspired me to set up a pregnancy blog called www.VIPregnancy.com to document it all.

If children aspire to be like me that’s a honour but I wouldn’t call myself a role model.

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TAD: In 2007, your Q2 RAJAR figures were 107,000 listeners and you beat the Breakfast Show figures which is really surprising. Have you faced criticism or jealousy in the industry? How do you deal with it all? And what advice would you give to individuals looking to break into the entertainment industry?

VV: My show and listener figures on Club Asia Radio has been one of my career highlights. I loved my time there and learnt a lot. I haven’t encountered any jealousy in the radio industry but I have come across many people with big egos!

I’ve actually just written a blog post about how to be a radio presenter and I made a YouTube video on my 3 biggest tips to get into the media industry. I update my blog regularly so be sure to check out lots of radio and TV presenting advice on there if you’re trying to bang down that door.

TAD: Veena, how important is your Asian heritage? And how do you incorporate your ethnicity into your everyday life. Have you found it difficult to balance cultures and traditions whilst living in a British culture and lifestyle? Was your family always supportive of your career choices?

VV: Being Mauritian is important to me but I wouldn’t say it’s built into my everyday life. I never knew the Asian music industry existed and how important it was to people until I started working at Club Asia, I was blown away by it.

My parents have always been so supportive and just want me to be happy. They really are the best parents in the world and are my role models.

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TAD: You have interviewed some huge names such as Nicole Scherzinger, Imran Khan and Jay Sean. Have you ever got really starstruck or tongue tied? If so, with whom? How do you deal with nerves on air? Who are you yet to meet that you would really love to?

VV: I don’t think I’ve ever been starstuck except when I did my first celebrity interview at the age of 16! I love Nicole Scherzinger, she’s even more beautiful in real life.

I would love to meet and interview Diddy and Richard Branson. They inspire me. I wake to Diddy’s Instagram pictures which really motivate me for the day ahead!

TAD: You already have a number of awards such as “Best Radio Presenter” at the Channel 4 (4 talent) awards in 2008, and host`The Shaadi Show’. What can we look forward to hearing and/or seeing you on next?

VV: Keep an eye on my blog for all my latest celebrity interviews and where you can hear me on the radio next www.VeenaV.com

Photo Source: veenav.com

Want more updates from Veena V? Follow her on Twitter!

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Chai & Chats with: Arjun Coomaraswamy

London-based singer, songwriter and producer, Arjun stands out from mainstream music. Mixing soulful R&B with his desi roots, it is no wonder his first four singles created such hype and has been described as one to watch internationally. The Asian Destination talks to him about his whirlwind of success and about being a rising star in the music industry.
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TAD: You were nominated as ‘Best Newcomer’ at the ‘Brit Asia Music Awards 2011’, chosen as one of ‘MTV’s Top 20 Unsigned Acts for 2012’ and your music has made it to global TV channels such as CNN, MTV India and NDTV, making you truly a ‘rising star’. You also won Best Urban Act at the UK Asian Music Awards in October 2012. We’re sure this is still only the beginning of your success. Tell us, how has the last 18 months been for you?

A:  I guess you could say that the last 18 months have been life changing for me.  I’ve been fortunate enough to perform all over the world and had the chance to meet and work with some amazing people.   Hopefully this has laid a foundation for the next step – the mainstream in the UK and US.

TAD: Your ever-increasing fan base means your YouTube music videos are being watched in the millions, you have the support of Radio DJs internationally and your performances are being requested all over the world. How does it make you feel to know your music has been so well and widely received?

Arjun

A: To be honest, it is still a shock to think that anybody other than myself and my mum could be listening to my music!  I consider it a blessing to be able to make the music I like and find that there are other people out there who like it too.

TAD: What would you say was the turning point that has marked your growing success over the last couple of years?

A: The turning point was definitely the moment when I decided to do a remix of the Tamil film song “Why This Kolaveri Di?”  That was a complete experiment and no-one was more amazed than I was  when I woke up the next morning and found that it had gone truly viral.

TAD: When did you first become interested in music? Were you always passionate about it as a career or did you (or your parents/family) have other plans for you? When did you first become interested in music? Were you always passionate about it as a career or did you (or your parents/family) have other plans for you?

A: From a very young age I used to play in various school bands, on instruments ranging from the flute to the drums.  I always dreamt of being a musician, though initially I went a more conventional route and studied Architecture at University.

TAD: As well as singing and playing a variety of instruments (including guitar and the flute), you also studied Music Production and Sound Engineering at college. The music business is a tough industry to make your mark in, yet your online popularity seems to have given you an advantageous edge. Would you say your versatility is what makes you unique?

A: I’m not sure how versatile I am!  Certainly it has helped to have had a varied musical background.  I definitely enjoy exploring different musical genres and am constantly experimenting with different options to try to come up with different sounds.

TAD: Who are your musical inspirations? If you had the choice, who would you love to collaborate with one day?

A: My main inspirations have been R&B artists like Craig David, Ryan Leslie and Donell Jones.  Right now if I had to pick a couple of artists whom I would like to collaborate with, I would say Frank Ocean and Miguel, because they are pushing the boundaries and forging a new R&B sound.

TAD: Your song about ‘Aishwarya’s Eyes’ made it to The Times of India! Are you a big Bollywood fan? You were born and brought up in the UK, how strong a connection do you keep to your desi roots? Your version of the popular Bollywood song, ‘Chaiyya Chaiyya’ includes covers of Nicki Minaj’s Superbass. How much does being a British Asian, influence your music?

A: I have become more interested in Bollywood music recently.  Earlier I used to watch the films for their own sake, now I am interested in them more for their soundtracks! I try to keep abreast of all the big Bollywood releases which come out.

I came to the UK at a very young age.   My parents are very Westernised, but I have a lot of British Asian friends.  I think I am fairly in touch with my Desi roots through music and through my friends.   Being a British Asian is the main factor which has influenced my music, because the music I listen to is derived from two different worlds.  This has led me to create music which resonates with other Westernised Asians around the world who represent a fusion of two cultures; this is what makes us unique.

TAD:  How do you handle criticism and rejection?

A:  The more success you have, the more people are exposed to your music and the more criticism you will face, especially when you remake classic songs.  It is important to take on board constructive criticism; you have to be strong-willed enough to take what others have to say without being put off your own course.

TAD: What advice would you give to individuals wishing to embark on music career or those that are struggling to get signed?

A: The advice I would give to individuals who want to embark on a music career is: make sure you learn how the industry operates.  You should not make getting signed your main objective.  You should develop your own sound & brand, and always try to be unique!  Focus on making music and on being you, and let labels come to you.   Use the basic tools available to you in this day and age (i.e. social media) to your advantage and get your music out to the world.

TAD: How do you react to people calling you a role model for independent music artists?

A: It is flattering if anyone considers me a role model.  Having gone the independent route thus far, I can say that one good thing about being independent is that you have complete creative control and can do everything on your own terms, without anyone telling you what to do.  It also means you can connect directly with your listeners/fans.

TAD:  Could you tell us a little bit about your new mainstream single, which is set to be released soon? Will it be available internationally? How do we make sure we know when and where to get our hands on a copy?

A: The mainstream single I hope to release soon is called “Take it Back” and is basically a tribute to old school R&B, since I would like to see R&B brought back in the mainstream.  Rather than follow what is trending and sonically in fashion at the moment, I thought it would be more interesting to carve out my own niche and make music which I genuinely believe in.  If you stay tuned to my social media sites you’ll definitely know when it’s coming out: hopefully it won’t be long now!

Arjun

Make sure you are following Arjun on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Soundcloud!

Still can’t get enough? Here’s his website for more details!

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from Destination: Interviews

Happy Durga Puja 

 Happy Kali Puja & Diwali 

from Destination: Celebration

The Asian Destination Links

Follow The Asian Destination on Twitter: @theasiand

‘Like’ us on Facebook: facebook.com/theasiandestination

Follow us on Instagram: @theasiandestination

The Asian Destination Links

Follow The Asian Destination on Twitter: @theasiand

‘Like’ us on Facebook: facebook.com/theasiandestination

Follow us on Instagram: @theasiandestination