Desi Girls Are Ruling America! Indian-American Singer Priya Darshini Bags a Grammy Nom for Debut Album

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Desi Girls Are Ruling America! Indian-American Singer Priya Darshini Bags a Grammy Nom for Debut Album

2020 hasn’t been such an awful year for desis in America, at least those in politics and entertainment. We have Kamala Harris as the new vice-president and a whole bunch of Indian-Americans have made it to Joe Biden’s team. Our OG desi girl Priyanka Chopra never ceases to make headlines and now Indian-American singer, Priya Darshini has bagged a Grammy nom.

Mumbai-born singer Priya Darshini has been nominated for the 63rd edition of the Grammy Awards for her debut album Periphery. Selected under the Best New Age Album category, Periphery is where Darshini’s South Indian identity crosses path with her American lifestyle.

“A Live album, recorded entirely on One mic getting nod from the Academy is really quite surreal,” the 37-year-old wrote in an Instagram post. “I’ve dreamt of this day since I was little, but I never really thought dreams like this could come true for someone like me – a tamizh ponnu [Tamil girl] from Goregaon, Mumbai! Thanks to the universe for proving me wrong.”

The Grammy nominee, currently signed with Chesky Records, is no stranger to the music scene though. According to her website, Darshini has “sung for more than a hundred television and radio commercials, as well as recorded for several award-winning and chart-topping Indian movie soundtracks”. Moreover, her collaborations also boast a wide range of artists like Pearl Jam, Roy “Futureman” Wooten, Jeff Coffin, Philip Lassiter, and ukulele player Jake Shimabukuro, among others.

Darshini’s affair with music started as a young child. Her grandmother was an accomplished Bharatnatyam dancer and a classical vocalist. Inspired by her grandmother, who also encouraged her to pursue classical music, the Grammy nominee enrolled for classical singing at the age of four. She has been unstoppable since.

Beyond her musical pursuit, Darshini has also dabbled in acting. She portrayed the role of Shubhashini Das in The Letters, a 2014 movie based on Mother Teresa’s life. An ultra-marathoner, in 2007, at age 23, Darshini also became the first and youngest Indian woman to complete the 100-mile Himalayan Ultra Marathon. Mindblown, already? We aren’t done yet.

Darshini also dons the role of an entrepreneur and is deeply involved in human rights and social justice. Having been on multiple expeditions and witnessing the exploitation of Sherpas, the singer went on to launch a social enterprise called The WindChasers that organises ultra marathons. The revenue generated from these events is then used to support Sherpas and their families.

Inspired by her mother’s act of social service while growing up, in 2004, the singer launched an NGO, Jana Rakshita that caters to underprivileged cancer-affected children and adolescents, with medical care and rehabilitation services. “She wanted to serve. She would bring home patients who were getting treatment and didn’t have anywhere to live. These were underprivileged and underserved people travelling to Mumbai from other parts of India,” Darshini shared in a podcast. Through Jana Rakshita, she has also adopted government-run schools in Maharashtra. The NGO has equipped the classrooms with the necessary infrastructure and constructed toilets in the school with an aim to improve sanitation and hygiene.

Quite the achiever, this desi girl.

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