Lavanya Ayren, born Sukriti Agarwal on 15th March 1996, is an Indian singer and songwriter based in Mumbai. She was born in Prayagraj, India. She attended Girls’ High School and College, Allahabad in her hometown and finished her B.Sc. in Animation and VFX before moving to Mumbai.
Besides working on her music, Lavanya also creates artworks for her album arts. Her background in Arts and Design helps her in keeping her team small while working as an independent artist, along with her Mumbai-based producer and friend Aditya Mhatre. Lavanya released her debut EP “Her: A Story” on September 15th, 2021, which is said to be a representation of a phase from her own life.
Here is Lavanya Ayren in a conversation with GOGO Magazine.
1) When did your journey as a musician begin?
It took me a while to realize that my passion for music was always there in front of me, and I never noticed. I have kept changing my fields ever since I was in school. From Art to Computer Science and Mathematics in high school, to Animation and Vfx in college, and then Film-making. Later, I moved to Mumbai to become an actor. And after that, I’ve worked as a writer.
After going through a roller-coaster of different fields, I wrote my first two songs by mistake – at least they felt like that to me, in the heat of some moments. I soon realised I felt better doing this, better than anything else I had been doing so far. I started writing a song giving an outlet to every overwhelming emotion since then. Nothing came close to the satisfaction songwriting gave me.
2) Tell us more about your background in arts and design.
I opted for Animation and VFX after school, after my mom suggested me this field seeing my knack for both artistic and technical fields. I was very good at what I did since I already excelled at drawing and sketching. I learned graphics design and illustration, some 2D animation, 3D modeling, texturing and lighting, learned the basics of motion graphics, video editing, and VFX & even film making. I started taking up various freelance graphics projects since I was 19. I worked on a variety of video, film, and publishing projects for a few years to sustain myself in an expensive AF city. When I’ve finally switched to music, all those skills are being utilized in creating my artworks, graphics, and videos.
3) Which has been your first track?
4) Who has been your inspiration?
This is a difficult question. In general, I have been inspired by countless people over the years. I grasp and learn something from every person I come across or read about. As for my musical inspirations, I listen to a variety of music on a daily basis. I make a goal of discovering a new artist/song every day and keep making a note of the elements I like. Some early artists whose songs I used to sing along as a kid were Amy Macdonald, Dolores O’Riordan, and Westlife. I used to loop a lot of Enya and Edward Maya. I also used to listen to a considerable amount of instrumental OSTs in my teenage, which I think has heavily influenced my overall listening experience and made me focus more on the music side of things.
About my own music, I’m not gonna lie, there wasn’t anyone specific when I first started writing songs. I just had a story to tell, which stimulated my need to write, without thinking about how my songs should/will sound. Later, I found FKA Twigs to be a huge inspiration for me, for her overall music style and production quality. I also respect Taylor Swift for her overall work ethic and relate with her in the way she tells her story. Other artists whose music inspires me include Cigarettes After Sex, Late Night Alumni, and Melanie Martinez.
5) Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
My life is very unpredictable, as I myself am very erratic. I never make long-term goals. (I can tell you where I see myself next year though). Anyway, all I can see for now is making a lot of good music and being able to perform them around the world too. I’d be releasing my 6th or 7th album in 5 years for sure.
6) How would you describe your music?
To be honest, I haven’t really found my sound yet. ‘Her: A Story’ was very experimental for me, as each song in this EP is very different from the other. There’s Art pop, there’s the alternative, there’s indie-pop, cinematic, and chill music. I tried to explore myself and expand my horizons both as a singer and a songwriter with this album, to gradually figure out what I do the best. A majority of my audience describes me as ‘soothing’ though, and I think that’s about right. The main reason why I started singing was that it soothed me too anyway. But I haven’t confined myself to a single genre just yet. I’d say I’m more lyrics-oriented right now, trying to tell my story and my feelings out loud. I’m experimenting with sounds and still exploring.
7) Which has been your most memorable song or project?
The whole of this EP is super memorable for me for so damn many reasons. It’s my very first album. I had started it from scratch without any background in music, just learning vigorously along the way. It took me two years to write, as I wrote each song during a certain phase of overwhelming emotions. At first, it felt coincidental; writing the second song felt like luck. But I soon figured that I was actually writing songs on command. It took another two years to produce and release the whole thing. Bringing a storyline about a certain phase of my life to closure through five songs, and figuring out my passion along the way, feels like an era in itself.
8) What advice would you give to the aspiring musicians?
I’d say – be extremely honest with whatever you’re expressing. A musician (an artist in general) has to bare their soul to create anything worthwhile. Stick to your truest feelings no matter what.
9) Share some of your achievements with the magazine.
Featured in Spotify editorial playlist ‘Fresh Finds India’.
10) How was life in quarantine?
I won’t lie and say it was very tough. For me, life in quarantine was like any other day really. I’m a home-plant and not very social. It was a little harder financially, yeah, but I was able to focus more on my music during that time. I’m very close to my family and best friends already, and I spend a lot of alone time with my thoughts too, so there was no change in that regard as well, unlike so many others who got to reconnect with their families and themselves because of the pandemic.
For me, it went as smooth as a pandemic could go. I wrote around 20 songs last year, and came up with many good ideas for my future albums as well, and grew a lot as a musician overall. So I’d say it was pretty good.
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