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Via Zoya Music
via Zoya Music

KSPC’s Week of Womyn is here to showcase womyn artists and call attention to the gender inequalities in media and beyond.

We are pleased to share an interview with Zoya, a singer-songwriter who spent her childhood here in SoCal. Zoya will be playing tonight at KSPC’s Feminist Festival!!


1. Has your identity shaped your experience as a musician and/or your decision to become one? If so, how?

Well my identity has definitely shaped my sound as an artist but my decision to become one was kind of out of my hands! I was born in India, so, my heritage has really influenced my work – in the sense that I take sounds from Indian music and blend them into the western folk-singer/songwriter genre. At first, I didn’t even realize I was doing it, but now being aware of it – I’ve been empowered to experiment more with world music and blending my cultural background into my folk songs.

2. Do you think the independent music scene is more accessible for women and minorities?

Absolutely. In this crazy new digital age – for sure. Having access to so many DIY outlets and to be able to express yourself in your own homes with the medium of our laptops is insane! Everyone can now – no matter who, what, or where you are – and in my opinion we are in the middle of a new cultural renaissance. People from all of over the world can create something, connect and share it with the world – literally. No matter if you are a woman, man, underprivileged person – we all have the opportunity in music to now to do and create what we love and share it with others. It’s pretty beautiful.

3. Why do you think women are so underrepresented in the arts? Are there ways to fight this that you have found productive?

I actually don’t think they are so underrepresented. The majority of artists I personally am influenced by are female. Like Frida Kahlo, Fiona Apple, Ani DiFranco, Susheela Raman, Maya Angelou – all from different parts of the world or different generations even, have impacted the world through their art and ideas. 

I feel there are many women making an impact in the music industry today, not only on the performance side but in the business itself. (ex. Ani DiFranco) I remember watching a video on Noisey TV a while back that featured Annie Clark of St. Vincent who was arguing that women have reached equality with men in the industry. She said, “The only difference (between male and female musicians) is probably that you get asked, ‘What’s it like to be a woman in music? I think that’s it.’” 

4. What advice do you have for young women and minorities trying to enter the arts?

Just do it! & Do it all yourself (marketing, booking, management – the works) until you can’t handle it anymore. You’ll know when that time comes, but until then feel empowered and lucky you live in a time where you can create and say whatever you want to share with the world. Don’t be afraid of that, be inspired by it.

5. Who do you find inspirational?

Oh, so many humans! My parents, many of my professors when I went to Berklee College of Music, my colleagues and all the incredible musicians at Berklee, my band members, and really any artists who are traveling the world doing what they love, with no fear of failure and who weren’t afraid to follow their dreams.