My heritage is my biggest influence: Queer musician

Last Updated 30 October 2018, 16:46 IST

The UK based artist Ms Mohammed recently performed at the Beantown Backyard Festival in the city. ‘Music or death’ being her mantra, the artist, with her music, has championed the rights of the LGBTQ community. In a conversation with Malini Raghu, she shares about her experience in the music industry and more.

How was it to perform in India?

It feels pretty special! I’ve always wanted to play here ever since my first trip on holiday back in 2012.

About the Beantown Backyard Festival...

The festival was magical. The location and the crew were amazing. I loved meeting Kabir Ahmed, the creative director, and ‘All the Eblitz’ team. It was special to be a part of the festival alongside great acts from India and also different parts of the globe.

What are the challenges you face in the industry?

It’s a tough business for all involved. There are extra layers of adversity to get through being a minority. I had no point of reference when I came into the industry, and neither does anyone else when they listen or watch me play.

It’s my own personal Everest in the sense that there’s no clear path cut out before me, but I’d like to think that’s changing.

How do you overcome negativity?

It wasn’t always easy! I did eventually grow a thicker skin and unfortunately being an artist online comes with the downside of also attracting haters but being validated by Iggy Pop recently seems to have silenced a lot of naysayers.

What is your perspective on the LGBTQ scene in India?

I am heartened by the scrapping of section 377. It hurts me to know that there are people in the world like me, but not allowed the same freedom and dignity of living a life of authenticity. I just want us all to be safe, loved and accepted.

Which are the genres of music you work with?

I don’t write music with a particular genre in mind. I mostly write songs on the drums, find a groove or loop that I can vibe with and go from there. I add guitar, bass and vocal melody as I go; never saying no to whatever form it takes. I wouldn’t want to be tied to one genre anyway; it sounds like an artistic prison.

What is your inspiration?

My heritage is the biggest influence and a constant source of inspiration. The Soca, Chutney and Reggae that surrounded me growing up in Trinidad find their way into my collective sound. As a Trinidadian of Indian origin, I’m lucky to have such a vibrant colour palette to draw from.

What is in the pipeline?

I am recording a new Single/EP the studio ASAP, which will hopefully turn into an album. I am already plotting my return to India! I do love it here.

(Published 30 October 2018, 13:14 IST)

Follow us on