San Leandro, Calif. — She’s a pop singer with a soft spot for tigers, sharks and elephants. She goes by the moniker Anjali World — a nod to her global influences and global aspirations.
Anjali Ranadive is a child of the San Francisco Bay Area, where she spent her childhood soaking up its diverse sounds, tastes and cultures. Her two pop singles released so far — her bhangra-accented debut “We Turn Up” and the just-released R&B track “Perfect Storm” — are accompanied by colorful, upbeat videos.
Money raised from the sale of music downloads goes straight to her nonprofit, Jaws and Paws, which supports conservation of keystone predators such as sharks, polar bears, and tigers. In fact, a rescued tiger adorns her Web page, and Tai, a rescued elephant on loan from the International Elephant Foundation, features in the video “We Turn Up.”
Ranadive is no stranger to hard work. The Indian American artist earned a bachelor’s of science degree in marine biology from UC Berkeley before throwing herself into the music business full time: “24/7,” she told India-West. Her schedule went from handling 20 units per semester, so that she could graduate early, to pulling all-nighters on late-night gigs and hitting vocal, dance and performance rehearsals the next morning.
“This is such a dramatic change, after graduating in December,” she told India-West in a phone interview last week. “I have learned that a lot of people, when you look from the outside, seem a certain way. It’s harder than I thought — but I was brought up to never give up.”
Ranadive is also learning how to switch mental modes from scientist to artist. “I might be driving to a wildlife reserve during the day, and staying up all night, making music,” she explained.
Her work is produced by “Super Dave” Knott and she has collaborated with rapper Tyga of the Young Money label and French Montana, a rising rapper from Morocco now based in the U.S.
One song that she never gets tired of is America’s national anthem — not only does she perform it at NBA games (her father, Vivek Ranadive, is the owner of the Sacramento Kings) but she also hit a career high recently when she was asked to perform it for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his star-studded appearance at Madison Square Garden in New York City. “It was the most incredible event,” she recalled.
As for her unique blend of Indian and American lifestyles, Ranadive explains, “My first single, ‘We Turn Up,’ incorporated Indian sounds and it says that I’m an Indian artist. But at the same time, I’m an American. I don’t speak Hindi, though I wish I did — and this fusion is the best way to become universal.
“I’m trying to make a difference on a global scale,” Ranadive told India-West.