Classical music influences hiphop song

In new music video, Indian- American artiste Seirah Royin encourages you to follow your passion

Seirah Royin has a Karnataka connection.

Seirah Royin is in an international artiste but her roots are in Bengaluru and Mysuru. She’s the granddaughter of S Ramaswamy, founder and principal of National Institute of Engineering.

The artiste worked with Oscar winner Jeffery Brown in her previous film ‘Sold’; the film was produced by Emma Thompson. She’s also a musician who is currently riding high on the success of her release ‘ONBV’, which was done in collaboration with music producer Hari Bhatt,co-director and producer Raeshib Aggerwhil and hiphop artiste Thailr.

In an exclusive interview with Metrolife, Seirah spoke to Anila Kurian about her connection with India and her vision for the music industry as an international artiste.

Tell us about your connection with India.
Though I have lived in the US all my life, my roots are from Karnataka. My father’s family is from Mysuru and my mother’s from Bengaluru. My spiritual leader, Tarneivji, was also in Bengaluru. I last visited Mysuru for the Belly Festival where I emceed for the night along with Bollywood actor Rahul Dev.

Any memories of your grandfather S Ramaswamy?
Unfortunately, he passed away before my father got married. But I have personally witnessed his legacy on several occasions. I had the amazing opportunity to meet with Narayana Murthy, an alumnus of NIE, when he was visiting the US. At the table we were sitting, the alumni prepared a dinner plate especially for him. I was surprised when he offered the plate to me instead. When I asked him why, he responded, “I am sitting next to the granddaughter of S Ramaswamy. How can I eat before you?” I was shocked that he would give me so much kindness and respect just out of deeper respect for my grandfather. I was truly humbled that day.

You sing, dance, write and direct. Which do you think you are strongest at?
I am an actress first and foremost. I live in Los Angeles and work in Hollywood. But the release of the music video, ONBV, is a deeply personal one. It is a song that encourages people to follow their dreams and listen to their heart’s calling.

Where did the inspiration for your song come from?
I had never written lyrics to a song before but it just flowed through me at little after midnight when I was on a call with my spiritual master. Then I met Hari Bhatt from Top Dawg Entertainment who agreed to be the music producer. We combined the hiphop element with female rapper Thailr, Indian classical music and divine melody that I learnt from Tarneivji. The song is a journey of a little girl who has her heart set on music but is forced to follow the traditional way. But when she finally found the courage, she pursues her true passion.

What are some of the projects you’re working on?
I’ve been working on a feature film for a couple of years now. It’s a true story that took place during World War II. We envision it as a co-production between Hollywood and India and Europe as the story involves all places. It will also include A-List talent from Hollywood.

Do you plan to do any films in Kannada?
I would love to work in a Kannada film! I do speak fluent Kannada because my parents spoke it in the house as I was growing up.

What are some of the challenges that you face as an Indian-origin artist in the US?
I think the greatest challenge is the lack of stories that reflect our unique experiences. Having said that, it’s also an opportunity to be a storyteller. It is up to artistes like me to create the stories for ourselves.

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