MUMBAI—Pop star Ananya Birla has a brand-new music video, and like the title “Unstoppable” suggests, it's all about celebrating women being unstoppable. Ahead of her highly-anticipated album launch in April, the first Indian musician to be certified as a Platinum artist in the English category has starred in this powerful video for her International Women’s Day single that released last month.
The video features these 14 trailblazing women together on a single platform for the very first time – Mary Kom, Neerja Birla, Aparna Popat, Sania Mirza, Juhi Chawla, Pooja Hegde, Gabriella Demetriades, Kanika Kapoor, Anusha Dandekar, Sukriti Kakar, Karishma Chavan, Malini Agarwal and Falguni Peacock, all standing together as empowered women, performing to Birla’s soaring vocals. The video has been directed by Karishma Chavan.
The inspirational video hailing woman power in all its capacity came out Apr. 5 and calls out a slew of gender-based tags, expressions and double standards used to stereotype men and women in India.
The song and video were initially scripted for the singer’s mother, Neerja Birla by the 24-year-old pop singer-songwriter, who wrote the lyrics in 2015 as a tribute to her mentor and inspiration who has chartered her own path and is an achiever in her own right.
Stated Ananya, “This is a feel-good anthem, which I wrote taking inspiration from my mom. I am finally being able to release it with women that I find to be very inspiring. The idea that society underlines our gender norms should not restrict us from working towards what we want to achieve. I truly believe that your gender doesn’t define you, and being yourself makes you unstoppable. This video showcases women who have overcome gender role expectations. I hope people can watch this and feel empowered, free and unstoppable.”
“Unstoppable,” which has been released via Universal Music, follows on from five back-to-back platinum-selling singles “Meant To Be,” “Hold On,” “Circle,” “Livin’ the Life” and “Better” that have amassed over 150 million streams globally. Of these, “Better,” featuring India’s first vertical music video, was the young musician’s fastest climb to a platinum certification.
Ananya Birla is signed to the Universal Music Group India and is supported by Island Records, UK. She holds the record for being the first Indian artiste with an English single to go platinum - as per the Indian Music Industry (IMI) recognized criteria for certifications.
Having scaled the charts at home and appeared on major playlists in the US, UK, UAE and South-East Asia, including Apple Music’s Best of 2018, Ananya has played at concerts including Global Citizen and Asia’s biggest EDM Festival – Sunburn,and was listed as one of GQ’s Most Influential Young Indians, Miss Vogue’s 28 under-28 Genius and Forbes’ Women to Watch, recently gracing their cover.
A self-taught guitar and santoor player, she started her musical journey at the age of nine. While at the University of Oxford reading Economics and Management, she went through bouts of panic attacks and depression. She performed at open-mic nights around London and found some solace within music. Having realized she found her purpose, Ananya blindly dropped out of Oxford. She says “I am not just living anymore; music makes me feel alive.”
Ananya has recently collaborated with Christopher O’Ryan a.k.a. TEK, Anders Frøen a.k.a. Mood Melodies, Tim Nackashi, Afrojack, Jim Beanz and Rock Jacobs. Her EP is due to release late April 2019 and is featuring talented and renowned artists from Nigeria and Jamaica.
At 17, Ananya also founded Svatantra Microfin, a company that provides financial solutions for underprivileged women in rural India. It is set to be a billion-dollar company by 2022. A cause close to her heart, Ananya advocates the need for a conversation on mental health. She set up a mental health initiative called Mpower to speak about the stigma associated with mental illness and co-founded a mental health care center.