As long as there has been the glass ceiling, there have been women who have broken it down into fragments by going beyond it. No doubt the music industry in India remains a highly male-dominated one but women are making a niche for themselves even if it is one step at a time. Shia, a rapper from Mumbai, sets herself apart from her contemporaries with her pop-rap fusion and fascinating composition style. SheThePeople spoke to Shia recently.
Rap gives Shia more room to express herself and, for her, it is more difficult than singing. That in itself is exciting. This desire seems to come naturally to her in some way.
“I’ve been making music since I was in high school. I always partook in band competitions, and open mics and always found myself in places which fostered environments for artistic growth,” Shia says. She was only able to interact with musicians from the hip-hop scene after she began going to concerts in Mumbai. She began going to cyphers, joined the Straight Up Dharavi hip hop crew, and was signed to Prabh Deep Music’s label Purple Wav. They were the ones that pushed her for Jah Blessings.
That song served as more of an introduction to music for her, a sort of self-statement that she was doing it. For Shia, skill is more important than time. She recently dropped Bean as a preview. She further adds, “I have big plans and big dreams and as much as I’m dying to drop what I’ve been working on, I choose to be patient with it. ”
Wynne, Little Smiz, and Doja Cat are three female rap artists who have inspired her. These women are genuine artists, and she is aware of the breadth and depth of their work. It’s a lovely fusion of fortitude, imagination, and a winning mindset. She claims that these women deserve to be in the spotlight. They are so genuine and independent that Shia is appreciative of them and hold them in great regard.
The gender bias?
Shia has frequently overheard men remarking on how influential women are due to their attractive bodies. And also statements such as, “This is false feminism; she’s simply using the title of feminism to market herself.” Shia says, “I’ll continue to extend my support to women, put out more music and stick to my stand.”
In Shia’s opinion, she does not see many male rappers willing to team up with female members of the rap music industry. Beyond measure, women assist one another; if one does as well, it will be for the best.
She says, “Bean was a track I made a year ago, and in all honesty, it’s a track I didn’t give much thought to. The song just came to me. I was just sitting on the track, unsure of whether it was good enough. It was by accident that I played it for Ahmer (a rapper from Kashmir) who encouraged me to post it, and to my surprise, I got a great response.”
The color scheme of her music video is as muted as it is aesthetically pleasing. Shia had little influence over the aesthetics because they were made on a tight budget using natural lighting and modest artificial lighting. She and her team had very limited room to maneuver, and they all agreed that Bean was the greatest product given the available resources. Shia, who is proud of her team for successfully completing the project, confesses that she was first uneasy but that her confidence has since increased.
Shia is undoubtedly excited to share music that explores female sexuality. She even has a song about this subject, “Feminine Energy,” and is passionate about accepting her body and showing it openly in India, despite the predominance of conservative views. “I think that by pushing my liberal ideals through my music videos, I’ll be able to start a domino effect of other women to follow suit.”