Amritha Shakti: Redefining identity through unique and empowering music
Combining her Indian heritage and musical influences with a later discovered love for soul and RnB, Amritha Shakti creates powerful and unique music that is changing the Australian music scene.
Brought up learning Carnatic music from her mother, as a teen Amritha taught herself Hindustani and Bollywood vocals. She says that Indian music styles have always been an important aspect of her life, not just culturally, but also spiritually.
“[Indian music in my childhood was] inherent to every single day,” she says, “the music side of things is inseparable from my identity as an Indian-Australian, and is interwoven in it.”
Amritha says that despite loving music it had always been a private part of her life. She first pursued a career in international development in Mumbai, wanting to make a difference and help others.
After realizing that her work was not having the impact she hoped it would, she moved back to Australia where she says she “fell” into music.
From there, Amritha began to write and produce her own music, including her unique English and Tamil covers of popular songs that represented the duality of her Indian-Australian culture.
When asked about merging her two understandings of culture in her music, Amritha says that it comes naturally to her and that her Indian roots always had a way of manifesting into her music, even as her interests turned to soul and RnB.
“I think that it is super important to represent the complexities of being a bicultural kid or being a daughter of immigrants,” Amritha says, “I asked myself, how do I represent both identities in my music?
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As she finishes the release of her debut EP, which includes her single ‘Because They Told Me To’, written about the complexities of arranged marriage in Indian culture, Amritha says that music has been incredibly healing for her.
She hopes that her music will challenge cultural norms that come from both her Indian and Australian cultures, especially those that place expectations on young women and women of colour.
Amritha says that bringing those two worlds together through music has shown her that she can create her own identity and define it based on her own terms.
“Especially as a teenager, I saw the Indian and Australian worlds as opposing, and I felt like I didn’t fit in either world,” Amritha admits, “[But now] I get to define that… and no one else does.”
Amritha feels that her music has opened the conversation around cultural identity and has resonated with many of her fans.
At its core, Amritha Shakti’s music is about owning who you are. Her powerful and hauntingly beautiful voice portrays an even stronger message of self-love and empowerment, all while maintaining a deep connection to cultural identity.
Musicians like Amritha are incredibly essential to modern Australian music, stressing the value of multicultural discourse that can strengthen inclusivity and identity.
“There’s a space for everyone,” Amritha says, when asked what she wants people to gain from her music.
“If you’re different in any way it’s really easy to internalise that maybe there isn’t a space for you in this world… I want to use my music to show that there is no ‘Other’, we are all literally the same, and there has to be a space for everyone, no matter who they are.”
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