Ridi Oswal on Overcoming Creative Roadblocks and Staying True to Her Vision – Exclusive Interview

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You discovered your passion for music at the young age of 8. Do you remember how that came about?

Oh, absolutely, that’s a moment I’ll never forget. It all started in a music academy in New York, kind of by chance. The moment I was introduced to the rich sounds of jazz and opera, something just clicked inside me. It wasn’t just learning music; it felt like I was discovering a piece of myself I didn’t even know was missing. That academy opened up a whole new world for me, where I could express all my feelings and stories through tunes and lyrics. Even when hopping from one school to another got tough and fitting in felt like a puzzle, music was always there for me, steadfast and true. It was during those early shaping years that I really found my voice, both literally and figuratively. Singing and songwriting became more than hobbies; they became essential parts of who I am, guiding me through my own journey of finding out who I wanted to be.

What inspired you to release your first single, Top Guy, in 2021?

Dropping “Top Guy” was like everything coming full circle for me. It was the product of soaking up all kinds of music vibes, from the classic Indian tunes I grew up with to the captivating French beats I fell in love with while in Switzerland. All these sounds kind of wove together, fueling my passion for creating music that’s a bit of this and a bit of that—just like me. “Top Guy” wasn’t just another track; it was my way of saying, “Here I am, this is my sound, and this is my story.” It marked the beginning of really putting myself out there, sharing my own mix of tunes and tales, hoping to strike a chord with anyone who’d listen and maybe see a bit of themselves in the music I make.

You’ve been on the roll with multiple tracks! But, have you ever hit a roadblock? If yes, how did you overcome it

Oh, for sure, the journey had its share of ups and downs. Running into roadblocks feels like part of the deal when you’re on a creative path. But honestly, each bump in the road has been a chance to stop, take a good look at where I’m at, and maybe choose a slightly different direction. Sticking to my guns, challenging what’s expected in the music scene, and always pushing myself to grow artistically have helped me get past those tough spots. I get a lot of my drive from the world around me—the incredible diversity of cultures, the stories people share, and staying true to what I believe my music should be about. That constant chase for something new, something genuine, it’s what keeps me going. It’s how I hope to knock down walls and light the way for anyone who wants to carve out their own unique space in the music world.

Your style of music often uses elements of fusion rather than just sticking to one tried and tested genre. Tell us more about your creative process and style.

My music’s all about mixing it up, bringing together the vibes from my Indian background with all the other sounds I love. It’s kinda like having a foot in two different worlds and making them fit together. I’ve been lucky to grow up appreciating all kinds of music, and now I get to create tunes that hopefully make others feel like they’re part of this big, global family, too. It’s about sharing stories that anyone, anywhere, can get into, making something new but also familiar. Growing up amidst bullying, I endured school changes. This adversity fueled my music and led to my co-founding Stop the B, an anti-bullying initiative with my sister. Through music and activism, I intend to empower others to stand against discrimination, fostering unity and understanding.

Speaking of Gen Z, we must also speak about social media. In this digital age, have social media platforms helped you as an artist?

Social media is a bit of a love-hate thing for me. On the bright side, it’s thrown open the doors to the whole world, letting me share my tunes and what I stand for with folks everywhere. But then, it’s got its downsides, like this invisible push to fit into a certain mould, which kind of messes with the whole idea of being an artist in the first place. I’ve been trying to keep it real on there, making sure I’m using social media to truly connect and share the real stories behind my music, all while trying not to get swept up in the pressure to be anything other than myself. It’s definitely a tightrope walk, learning how to juggle being present online and keeping my artistry pure and undiluted.

Are there any new genres or musical styles you’re curious about exploring in the future?

Blending my Indian roots with contemporary sounds is like creating a musical mosaic, where each piece adds depth and richness to the overall picture. Drawing inspiration from classical Indian instruments and infusing them with modern beats and melodies, creating a unique fusion that resonates with audiences worldwide. It’s about honouring my heritage while embracing the ever-evolving landscape of music, bridging the gap between tradition and innovation.  I will always be open to exploring new lengths and new genres of music.

In addition to music, you became UNESCO’s youngest speaker for the anti-bullying movement with Stop the B. Tell us more about the organisation, your personal connection to the cause, and your UNESCO experience.

My engagement with UNESCO’s Stop the B movement was huge for me, mainly because I’ve had my own rough patches with bullying. What they’re all about—spreading kindness and really tackling bullying head-on through education—just clicked with what I believe in. Getting to stand up on that global stage and talk about how we can all do better, how the media plays into this, and the big difference a little empathy can make in our schools was kind of surreal. It was this big, eye-opening moment that showed me how music can actually bring us together to tackle some pretty tough stuff. Being a part of that, getting to use my music and my voice to help shine a light on bullying and start real conversations about change is something I’m really proud of. It’s about more than just songs; it’s about making a real difference and hopefully helping some folks along the way.

You are currently pursuing a chemical engineering degree alongside your music career. How do you strike a balance? Does this mean you will shift your career path eventually?

While deeply passionate about my music, I am also a student immersed in chemical engineering, striking a balance between academics and personal pursuits. I know, quite the shift from the music scene! This’ll tell you that music isn’t my only passion. But education has always been a big part of my life, just like music. Science and studying have a way of grounding me, providing balance amidst the whirlwind of creativity. So yeah, you could say I’m juggling quite a few hats, but hey, isn’t that what makes life interesting? Remarkably, education seamlessly intertwines with my passion for music, creating a good mix that forms the narrative of my life.

 As for the future, who knows? I’m all in for both right now, riding the wave of challenges and thrills they throw my way. Let’s just say I’m keeping all doors open and seeing where this wild ride takes me.

Except music, what are other things you are passionate about? It could even be a hobby, simply.

I’m all about diving into creative projects and discovering new adventures in my downtime. Music is my go-to escape – crafting melodies, experimenting with sounds, or just jamming out with friends; it’s where I find my groove. Nature is another love of mine; you’ll often catch me hiking, taking peaceful strolls in the park, or simply soaking in the beauty of the outdoors. And oh, the thrill of travel! I’m always on the lookout for my next destination, eager to explore new cultures and experiences. When I’m not lost in artistic pursuits or globe-trotting, you’ll likely find me cozying up with a good book, whipping up new recipes in the kitchen, or cherishing quality time with loved ones. For me, life’s all about savouring those simple pleasures!


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