Musician of the Month: T U R Y A

Thanks for taking the time to be interviewed for Warrior Woman Magazine, you have been nominated Musician of The Month! How does that feel?

Well, it’s a great honour! Thank you so much. It’s extremely flattering…

So, tell us about you? How long have you been in the industry?

I’ve been working professionally in the music industry since I was around 16. I started gigging in Sydney, Australia (where I lived for 2 years), I was in a few different bands during that time and was also writing my own material. When I moved back to the UK, I was working with various producers, writing and recording my songs but was also eager to continue studying music, so I did that and got a 1st class honours degree in Music performance.

While I was studying, I met Nitin Sawhney who took me on the road as a band member and gave me some wonderful opportunities to perform at the Royal Albert Hall, Sydney Opera House and Glastonbury’s Pyramid stage to name a few. I started writing my album while working with him and it has developed to where we are today.

What and/or who inspires your music?

What inspires my music are life experiences, emotions and observations. It generally always starts with an emotion which can then be translated into musical language. I’ve grown up listening to so many different styles of music but have been particularly drawn to some troubadour singer songwriters like Jeff Buckley, Joni Mitchell, Kate Bush and Nick Drake but have also deeply resonated with Indian Classical music.

In your experience in the music industry, have you experienced or witnessed any sexist issues?

I haven’t actually experienced much sexist issues thus far (touch wood!) because most people I’ve worked with professionally have been very respectful towards women. Music is all about self expression and women have such a powerful, intuitive voice that I have seen to be respected by a lot of men in the music industry, especially as songwriters. But I can understand that as a performer, young women in particular, are generally more likely to be sexualised or exploited in order to gain some wider appeal, as they say, 'sex sells’ but I feel that is so unnecessary. All women in the music industry should be respected as writers, performers, singers and creative beings without feeling they have to prove anything.

But I can understand that as a performer, young women in particular, are generally more likely to be sexualised or possibly exploited in order to gain some wider appeal, (as they say, ‘sex sells’) but I feel they should have the choice and power to do what feels natural to them and that they shouldn’t be encouraged to be provocative unless it comes from a place of their own self expression.

Have you ever felt pressured to look or act a certain way?

I haven’t really. I think what is “cool” is being unapologetically yourself! Whether that's quirky, nerdy, awkward or anything. To be confident and calm in your own skin, body and being is what is really cool. The music industry can subconsciously pressure artists to look or behave in a certain ‘cool or edgy’ way but I believe one’s own music should just speak for itself.

What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve come across and what advice would you give to others in a similar situation?

I remember a funny gig I did ages ago when I was starting out, I had my own band and did a gig in a pub in Brighton for the Great Escape Festival and there was also a football match going on the other side of the pub and there were all these lads who were singing football songs during my gig so I had to compete with them in terms of volume (laughs). They started getting a bit rowdy so I just laughed it off. I think every bad gig experience is totally necessary to go through!

What are your most proud moment of your career?

Releasing my debut single Rain last Friday.

What would you say the worst moment has been so far?

Probably the football story, though it wasn’t THAT bad… I think doing music in itself is such a privilege so having ‘worst moments’ are few and far between.

What do you have planned for the next year?

Doing some gigs, releasing songs and music videos from the album.

And to all those Women Warriors out there, you are perfect, so beautiful and incredibly resilient. Be yourself no matter what, focus on your dreams and have fun in the process! Love, Turya. X


#Issue5 #HayleySmith #Interview

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