Meet Avanti Nagral, the singer whose debut single ‘I Like’ introduced India to the concept of virtual reality

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Avanti Nagral

Avanti Nagral is not your average new-kid on the block. As expected, we asked her what really got her inclined to singing. And her response, though hilarious, was rather serious – ‘in vitro’.

Since her father plays the tabla, she would constantly be surrounded by rhythm. She grew up doing a lot of devotional music and simultaneously started playing piano at the age of 5. “I spent the first 8 years of my life in Boston, and then moved to Mumbai where I was introduced to my current Guru, Dr. Prabha Atre, a living legend of Indian Classical Music. She took me on as her only child student, and I was blessed to have a Guru who allowed me to experiment with my music in other ways. Over the years, I gained experience in various different styles – Broadway, Sufi, Gospel/Church Music, Soul, Bollywood, Pop and different languages”, she recalls.

She has performed at venues across India, in the US, and in the Philippines – Broadway Show reproductions, events, festivals and concerts. “I’ve also recorded a pop-devotional English-Sanskrit fusion album and have done strange things along the way which didn’t make sense at the time, but eventually all the dots connected, or hopefully will in the future”, says Avanti.

The singer burst onto India’s music scene with her first single ‘I Like’, a song about following your dreams, passions, and not caring about what the rest of the world thinks. “It portrays the individuality of empowerment – and to me is just really about doing WHAT YOU LIKE!” she connotes. The music video has been shot by internationally renowned music director Blake Farber, who has worked on projects with artists like Beyoncé and brands like Nike and has given India its first virtual reality music video through ‘I Like’.

“India being the leading nation in the world in Technology to the IT capital, it yet has brought the trending VR world into its own market. I think something VR related to India can be something big, imagine even a Bollywood Film with its elaborate dance numbers into a 360 environment – would be a visual revolution” says Blake. Growing up in New York City and learning about Indian culture, and India, has had a huge impact on him. Talking about working with Avanti, Blake has nothing but words of praise for the singer – “I had one of the easiest and most memorable experiences after working with Avanti based on any other Music Video I’ve directed. She helped produce everything and was easy going during the shoot, as well as being on top of everything from the post production process. The best and most famous artists I’ve worked with are usually the nicest and most professional, so we can see her career ahead as an amazing one to come!”. Avanti too, had a blast working with Blake and the entire cast who had a unified vision of an immersive and unique experience, and to bring access to this technology to people who don’t have it yet.

Avanti has plenty of new music, videos, content and performances in her kitty. Her (busy) schedule includes wrapping up a small tour in the Philippines, doing a series of performance-cum-motivational-workshops called ‘Soar’ workshops at schools across India, and performances in Boston and Cambridge. Fans can expect a new single in a couple of months, as will some exciting stuff online.

As for Blake, he has a couple of projects lined up here in India. “I’m planning the 1st Season of this upcoming TV show that I’ll shoot there shortly with Ashish Manchanda. The show is called Parivar Tea Canvas. I’m also going to be directing some commercials with my producer Souraj Bhattacharyya and his company Haddock Films, who is also producing the PTC 1st season” he says.

Before signing off, Avanti has a message for all of you trying to make your way in the music industry. “Remember what drives you. It’s been an interesting journey navigating different opportunities and trying to carve out your own path – there is really no set manner in how to go about it, and at many times it will feel low, frustrating, annoying, not worth it, but keep your eye on the vision”, she advises.

Avanti’s journey may have just begun, but she’s enjoying navigating her way through the industry. “I’m still learning and figuring it out but I’m loving the process and the amazing people I get to meet along the way!”, she signs off.

You can watch Avanti’s single ‘I Like’ here.

In case you didn’t know-

Virtual Reality videos are immersive video content accessed through the use of virtual reality headsets. Unlike the ordinary videos, virtual reality videos create in illusion of the user being part of the video through the rendition of 3D images. The viewing of such videos is not restricted to computer or television screens and depending on the video or the kind of content being watched, the user can also interact with the video.

Just like with the ordinary videos, virtual reality videos can be created at the beginning when a video is being recorded or captured using 360 degrees video cameras. The videos can also be made from computer generated content using VR immersive video enabled applications. The formats adopted by virtual reality videos will vary from the software and the device used in the production of the videos.