Towards the Dreamier Landscapes of Music: With Singer-Songwriter Ramya Pothuri
Ramya Pothuri is the new singer on the block and you cannot ignore her talent. Trained in classical music and an avid guitar player at the same time, she is here in Mumbai to make a mark in the music circuit. We sat down with her for a chat. Read on!
Ramya was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan in America. Around the time her little sister came into the picture, all four in her family relocated to St. Louis. Missouri. This is where she lived for the next 12 years before moving to India. Her dad is a musician hence her sister and her started picking stuff up naturally. Both could sing from a very young age, so their mother really nurtured that in them and started sending them to the piano, violin, and vocal lessons. At the age of 11, Ramya taught herself the guitar. It was kind of an obsession at first, and lead to her parents getting very worried about her. She would come home from school; lock herself in her room till night and just play, and learn new songs. At school too, she struck a friendship with kids who were equally passionate about music and so a lot of fun jamming sessions followed. She had also secured a position in her school’s orchestra and choir as well as a church choir. Everything was going great AND then…they moved to India.
Self-discovery in a New Land
From the safe confines of her life in the U.S., she suddenly found herself thrown amidst the hustle-bustle of India. In a series of events involving her parents' business, her entire family moved to Hyderabad. This happened when she was 16. Suddenly being exposed to a foreign land and foreign culture, she had started resenting her parents. She didn’t even know the language back then. It was very intense for the first three months.
But looking at all that in retrospect now, she is really glad that it happened. She doesn’t think she would have been pursuing this career if it wasn't for the move. It burst her bubble and before she knew, she was out of the cocoon.
The Sound of her Voice
When asked about her songs, Ramya says that she always found it really hard to describe her sound. She says she would probably call it very mellow and moody; moody being the best word. She has been influenced heavily by folk music as well as Indie Rock and Dream Pop. She started leaning more towards the folk and ethereal sounds. But now, towards dreamier landscapes. She listens to a variety of artists like Fazerdaze, Bon Iver, and Daniel Caesar.
After she finished her 12th grade, she decided to take a gap. Incidentally, around that time, she got an opportunity to sing four times a week at the Trident Hotel’s bar section. She got the job and ended up falling in love with it. Sometimes after she finished her set, people would come up to her and tell her how much the singing helped them after a long day, or how they liked it in general. It gave her work a greater purpose. After six months of playing there, she decided to take up music full time. She convinced her parents to let her move to Mumbai. They were a little bit worried about her at first but then let they let her go. And that is how she landed in Mumbai.
Tryst with the City of Million Dreams
For the first one year of her survival in Mumbai, her parents supported her and asked her only one thing- to observe and understand the music scene in Mumbai.
After a year, she started making enough money from gigs that she could start supporting herself completely. She had also put out her EP around this time. So along with the corporate gigs that she was already getting, she became financially pretty comfortable.
For Ramya, the real struggle has been to keep going forward even when it seems like nothing is working out. The days that gives her the overwhelming feeling to give up and just go to college and live a normal life. Confidence is another issue some days. She still gets stage anxiety and tries to cope with it. The thought of tons of other people doing the same thing as her, and the inevitably comparing yourself, makes it difficult further. The struggle for her has been more of a mental one. Nevertheless, she believes that there is definitely an opportunity for everyone to make a living.
Skipping College and Chasing Dreams
Ramya chose not to go to college, and that’s a thing a lot of people still nag her about, given the conventions of the society. But she believes that that doesn’t make it a bad decision at all.
Some people do tell her from time to time that not going to college is a smart thing to do. She thinks more and more people are now changing the way they think. A lot of people are quitting their jobs these days to do what they love and she didn’t see any point in going to college and then getting a job just to quit it later. Instead, she saved three years of college and invested them wisely in her music career.
She feels that she often tends to be too harsh on herself and every birthday she is upset about not being successful yet. But now, she has decided to not do that to herself because there is no set age for success. She believes that if she keeps working towards her dreams every day, it'll happen one way or another.
Listen to some of her amazing work right here.