“Once you’ve learned the art of writing your own songs, you’ll find freedom.”
Aaradhna Patel, the Wellington, New Zealander queen of old soul Rhythm & Blues, is not just any individual, but a stunningly powerful and well-cultured artist. I had the incredible opportunity to interview this rising star to get a better look at the actual Brown Girl’s story behind the album and the music. Find the interview below!
The songstress who goes by her moniker Aaradhna, has been in the music industry since 2003 singing here and there when she could. Today, she has released 4 albums including her latest hit project “Brown Girl.” This solo studio album was so successful for its incredible strength, diversity, and artistry that it was able to reach a No. 1 spot on the official NZ Music Charts!
The singer-songwriter has been recognized by such notable publications such as The Source, The Guardian, and many more. She has also collaborated with some large names in the business such as Talib Kweli, Common, and Calvin Richardson! Though Aaradhna deems herself a shy-character, there is nothing timid about her music. The strength in her voice is overwhelming in all the right ways. When you listen to her voice, you can feel the intense emotions that she exudes both in her lyrics and the instrumentals of the music, attempting to convey the inner being that she. Her identity is something that she holds dearly to her heart and something she wishes other people of ethnic and social minorities to embrace as well.
In this particular album, the charismatic introvert is as bold as a lion in her sound as she caresses each note with a paradox of tones- both with a fire and an innocence. It is enticing and the perfect album to chill back on a Sunday evening when you’re in the mood to enjoy the positive vibes. The best of it is, she is real. Very very real. No synths, no layers or cover ups. Just Aaradhna, the music, and her honest feelings. With her silky, erotic, and profound vocals, we get the truest form of soul from this very authentic musician.
You can listen to the full length album below and watch her music video to “Brown Girl” above!
Here is our interview:
Neelu Mohaghegh (NM): So how are you right now?
Aaradhna (A): I’m good thank you 😊
NM: Where are you from? And how is the music scene there?
A: I’m Samoan & Indian from New Zealand. The music over here I feel is thriving.
NM: What got you into music to begin with?
A: Music was instilled in me at a young age. I grew up in a musical household, Mum & Dad both sing in their native tongue.
NM: What was it like constructing your album? How was the overall process for you?
A: I wrote the songs in skeleton form – I had the melody and lyrics and Jeffrey Scott from Truth & Soul gave these songs the body with his production. We did a bunch of sessions out in Brooklyn and L.A and had a lot of amazing musicians play live. The overall process was fun & organic. The way I like it.
NM: What is your favorite track off the project?
A: “Brown Girl.”
NM: What inspired the album? Why Brown Girl?
A: Love, heartbreak and life in general. Brown Girl represents growth for me.
NM: So, now I know you’ve worked with some big names like Talib Kweli and Common and Calvin Richardson. What was it like working with each of them?
A: Growing up listening to these artists and then being able to get a chance to work with them is a surreal feeling. I’ll never get over it and will always appreciate these moments.
NM: Your voice is so powerful, moving, and charming, did you learn from anyone or is that something you just did on your own?
A: I’d say that Mum, Dad, my love for Sam Cooke, SWV, and a lot of R&B/Soul artists help craft my sound today.
NM: Should we be expecting more music videos and a tour for the album soon?
A: Yes, that’s definitely a part of the plan. Keep up to date with my plans on aaradhna.com
NM: Was your family supportive of your musical career? How about your friends?
A: Of course, it’s definitely important to have those kinds of people around you. I keep my circle positive.
NM: What is one of the greater challenges you have faced in your career? What is it like entering into the music industry?
A: For me it’s trying to stand out and be heard. Because I’m more of a shy reserved person. I’m an awkward introvert and I feel that it sometimes affects the way I come across in media. It’s a challenge but I’m working on it. I love my job, I get to sing. Being able to work in the music industry is a blessing for me.
NM: Since we are a college demographic publication, we always like to ask artists this: Did you go to college? If yes, what did you study and how did it influence what you are doing now? If no, what do you think you would have studied?
A: I would have looked into archaeology.
NM: What is the best advice you can give to aspiring artists in college who want to do what you’re doing?
A: Write your own music. Once you’ve learned the art of writing your own songs, you’ll find freedom.
NM: Which artists or people in your life inspired you?
A: So many, but to keep it short it would be my Parents, Sam Cooke & SWV.
NM: If you had one word to describe yourself, what would that be? How about a color?
NM: Are there any hidden messages behind your music? And are you trying to make your listeners feel a certain way when they hear your music?
A: I’m just conversing through songs expressing how I feel. I’ll let the listener decide what it means to them and how they perceive it.
NM: Now about your letter that you sent out to listeners of your new album, it was extremely heartwarming and inspiring and I wanted to ask what brought that about? What made you want to write that?
A: I find it easier to communicate through writing. Speaking in interviews are hard for me I get my words jumbled up because I get too nervous when it comes to them. So, I thought writing a letter would be good. That way you get a clear idea of what I’m trying to say.
NM: In the letter, you mention how people of your ethnicity are labeled by the social constructs created in your community, and I wanted to ask what your stance was then on all of the tragedies that have been happening in our world these past few months, from the shootings to the refugee crises to the terrorism to so much more? Is there any source of resolution?
A: It’s heartbreaking! It’s been going on for so long. I can only hope it gets better, but we’ve got a long way to go. We just need to throw our egos to the side and be reminded that we are one. Its gonna take time. But I think the more people talk about these things the more powerful our words can become.
NM: If you weren’t doing music, what do you think you’d be doing instead right now?
A: I’d be getting my Indiana Jones on. Traveling looking for treasure. Id be an Archaeologist.
NM: And lastly, if there was one place you could perform live for everyone, where would you want that to be? And if you could collaborate with someone on a song, who would you want that to be?
A: I’d do the Apollo theatre again. That place means so much to me, so many magical human beings have performed there. It’s too special that place, their energy is still floating throughout that theatre. And I would love to collaborate with Shuggie Otis.
It was an absolute pleasure to speak with such an inspiring woman, with a head on her shoulders and a positive outlook on life and what she wants to do!