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Mira Veda - a soul without pretense

You might have heard Mira's beautiful voice elsewhere or you might have heard it here on AV's own webcast - well now read the South Asian Soul Diva (doubt she will approve of the title I just gave her) tell us how everything came about.

AV: First off, why don't you tell me about the album, how did it come about? How did you actually get to work on your own album?
MV: You know, it was basically by accident. Well, I had initially started working for a producer here in San Francisco but, as that got going I got another opportunity to work with a different producer that I had admired for quite some time. So when this second prospect materialized, I jumped on it and just ended up in this whole writing process - writing more and more songs. Finally, we had a lot of music so we decided to put an album together. Ultimately it was my decision; so, with the support and encouragement of friends and family we released it. It has been kind of a roller coaster ride so far and I am just going along with the flow.

AV: So, are you going to divulge which producer you were holding out for?
MV: Yea, one of the producers was Chin Injeti. He has worked with and opened up for people like The Roots, Jamiraquai and many others. He is just this great, award winning, singer and songwriter. Besides him, the other producer I worked with was Larry Batiste and he's the former president of the Grammy's in the San Francisco chapter. So, I was very blessed to have that.

AV: Wow - how did you actually meet up with these guys? Where did you form those contacts?
MV: You know the funny thing is people started recommending me because they heard my voice and my vocals. So people, this even happens now, were people are recommending me to others they know. So, Larry and I met through a similar recommendation, somebody introduced us. Chin, on the other hand, I got a hold of myself. I got in touch with him, sent him some of my stuff and he responded after he heard it.

AV: Ok before we continue - and before I forget - one random question: I read that you've performed at Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch!?!? How did that happen!?!?
MV: Yeah! Like I said it's all word of mouth. I have a lot of people who are very supportive of my music. I know some people who are in the industry in LA, and are huge supporters of mine. One of them was doing a benefit concert at the Ranch and he just asked me if I wanted to perform and I of course said 'Hell yea!' So they called me three days before this concert that Michael was doing at his ranch and I performed. It was very cool; to get to meet the King of Pop is definitely inspiring - it is like getting in touch with the royalty of music. I mean you grow up listening to these people and your response is very much: 'wow I'm in the same space as him, I am in his house'.

AV: Actually, almost in the same vein - I heard you had done some work with Deepak Chopra. How was that for you?
MV: What happened there was, a friend of mine who knew that I could sing in Punjabi and Gurmukhi told Deepak about me. I was never even told about this conversation. Then one day one of the producers from Deepak's camp just called me up and said 'We need you to send some of your work to us - we might want to use it on our upcoming album.' Again, of course, I did and they liked it. So, now days I hear that Deepak plays my track in every lecture he has.

AV: So do you feel that working with Deepak has gotten you ready for other producers or people who are more in the public eye?
MV: You know, I don't think so because they are two very different things. My album is very neo soul very jazz oriented, and it's completely two different audiences. The stuff that he does is more spiritually based. But, the funny thing that has developed is that I have two different genres contacting me to do two entirely different things. I just recently had Kool and the Gang call me up. They wanted me to do vocals in the 'Indian language' to compliment a song that they were doing. So, I get two totally different inputs from two different places. I don't feel that they really mix yet, its two different types of music but, it definitely gives me a sense of credibility by being requested by all these people.

AV: Having these two different influences, and being Sikh in Canada? How do you think that has worked into your music and what you want to create?
MV: Well one thing is that it has exposed me to a lot of different sounds that maybe if I was living some place else I wouldn't have been exposed to. Where I grew up in Canada, there weren't a lot of Indian people but, when I got into high school I met a sizable Indian population. There I was exposed to all this music and culture, as well as the huge urban Indian population that exists there. It definitely gave me diversity. I know now that I have the ability to do two completely different types of music and fuse them together and, my background has helped me with that.

AV: So any desire to create Bhangra then?
MV: Oh, I would love to do that! I'm out on the prowl right now; I'm looking for people to work with on that. I would love to do something that puts a whole new twist on it. So if you meet anybody or hear of anybody, send them my way.

AV: So who have you contacted for that?
MV: I haven't yet, but I am kind of looking. I've talked to a few people, and I know some people are trying to get me in touch with certain people, but I have not specifically gone out there and made it public or anything. I guess, I am to you right now.

AV: Well I hope AV can help! Now, talking about different people you've worked with so far - how is it to have Jay Dhabi and Zakhm remix one of your tracks? How did that come about?
MV: Well, Jay was introduced to me by Sanjay Sagarwal from Ziba Music. I, at the time, didn't even realize what a huge coup that was to get Jay Dhabi to remix a track for me. He's pretty well known in the industry and that was very phenomenal. I loved the track that he did. With Zakhm, on the other hand, it was completely different - we had been trying to work together for almost a year. I had met him in San Francisco and I fell in love with his style. We had really wanted to do something together but, our timing was never right, we just kept missing one another. Then, he went to India and by the time he returned I sent him the track and told him that he has a small amount of time to do it but, he got it done and it was brilliant. Unbelievably brilliant!

AV: Ok on your album then, which one track is your favorite? Which is the one that speaks about you the most you think?
MV: Right now I think the one track that I am really passionate about is 'Love yourself.' It's because there's a message in that track - I want people, especially women, to gain some internal strength from it. I want them to realize who they are and who they can be, and not look outwardly for everything. To me that's what that song is about and I resonate with that song a lot because I was thinking about a friend of mine when I wrote it. I just really want my girlfriends to find their strength, so I think that song right now is my favorite.

AV: Actually, I read somewhere that according to you the song 'I thought you were loving me too' speaks for both men and women equally. Was there an inspiration behind that one?
MV: I don't know if I've told this story before but I was mad at three people when I wrote that song. I think it does speak for everyone because I think that everybody has been through that phase, of feeling really duped and feeling like 'you know what I am investing so much time and energy into my work and this is what I'm getting back?.' It was one of those moments where I was really feeling down - I really just found a way to express myself in that song, I think that is my most vulnerable song.

AV: You gonna tell us the names of those three people?! :)
MV: No I'm not!

AV: Aww too bad! So, what are you up to these days?
MV: Well right now, I'm working on some songs with Jay Dhabi right now. We are actually trying to do some stuff together. Then I recently just met a, believe it or not, beatboxer in L.A. who wants me to do vocals for some of his stuff. There are some other things are going on but mainly, just playing around right now and promoting the album.

AV: All right, is there anything else you wanted to share?
MV: No, I think we pretty much covered it all. I probably said more than I should have! So I am going to end it there.

AV: Thank you for your time Mira.

For More Info, check out Mira's Site: Miras Music

Transcribed by: Rummie

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