Ambika Jois. someone I met about a year ago through friends. Her voice mesmerised me and such a beautiful and humble being at the same time. Ambika recently performed on the BBC Introducing stage with Shammi Pithia. I wanted to speak to Ambika about her music, inspirations and how she feels post Glasto…
1. Glastonbury! A legendary event, how do you feel post-Glasto?
GlastonburyFestival. That is just a name I came across on the TV now and then. I never thought I’d once visit the farm and get to sing there. That too with one amazing group who know what good music should sound like. I can’t get the mud out of my mind. Like wow! I have a tan from that sunshine. Loving it!
2. Tell us about your performance at Glastonbury
To my tastes, Shammi Pithia, Flux, Aggi Dukes and Ash King – simply world class artistes with such passion and respect for music. That in itself counts as great motivation to sing anywhere the wind takes me.Glastonburyhas definitely boosted up my biog though. I’m very happy and feel blessed to have performed at such a place. The crowd were great, very supportive and I loved every moment of the performance.
3. How did you you get discovered by BBC introducing?
I started working with Shammi Pithia a few months ago; we recorded together for his new EP “Paredolia” releasing on 27th July 2011. This opened doors for me to get involved with Shammi Pithia and his band Flux on a performance note. Shammi Pithia’s music has been aired on Friction Introducing before, therefore he bagged the opportunity of the slot at Glasto and he was awesome enough to ask me to join him. That’s the big man right there, I got to meet Bobby Friction personally who mentioned that he thoroughly enjoyed my performance with the band. I also tried on his Swagistani hat – now that’s proof I’ve now been discovered by BBC Introducing in one way or another!
4. How did you feel when you were up on stage in front of so many people?
I always get stage fright. When I start singing though, I turn into someone else. My heart leaps out and the music controls me. Glasto was one opportunity I was determined to offer my soul and life into performing well. It was amazing singing for all those who stood to watch us perform. Better even when I saw them dancing along!
5. So Ambika tell us a little about you, how you started and your achievements to date?
I trained in South Indian classical music (Carnatic) at the age of 7 years old under my dad who’s a violinist/composer/string arranger. I used to play Indian violin too, and ended up pursuing vocal more. Opportunity after opportunity, I’ve been blessed with supportive teachers and friends within music that has opened many doors for me and allowed me to recognize what it is that I want to achieve with music. I still believe I haven’t achieved enough to state, but I’m grateful for all the experiences I’ve gained along the way from nothingness to what I am today.
6. What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
One of my incredible pillars of support is my stepmom. In my many worlds of confusion, she spoke these words that helped me then and I still hold onto in times of darkness that actually does bring me a lot of hope and faith in myself – “When you don’t know what to do, ask yourself what you’re fighting for. If it’s happiness, do whatever it takes to get that happiness. Real happiness comes from working hard for it.”
7. Define love….
Love yourself enough to let your neighbour know you’re lovable. And then love thy neighbour. I also quote that friendship is love. A real, strong, trustworthy and liberal friendship, I mean.
8. How did you discover your talents?
I believe that everyone has more talents than they recognise in themselves. I believe I have been gifted with many things – a singing voice, a musical family, a mind that doesn’t stop buzzing and good people to show me the right paths. And I think I’m still discovering my talents. Not yet completed.
9. Music seems to flow in your veins Ambika, What does music mean to you?
Music for me is being close to God. Being close to God means being close to purity and love. I understand myself better when I’m active in music. This seems to be the way forward.
10. What’s next for Ambika?
I think it’s time the world heard me out a bit. I’m writing new songs and still working with Shammi Pithia in performance. London South Bank Centre’s Purcell Room is the next big thing on 26th July showcasing some of Shammi’s best works till date and also featuring some numbers from his new EP “Paredolia” which I’m featured on a track. Once this is over, I shall adhere to what my heart is telling me – “Write, sing and enjoy!” The next one year starting now will be so much fun! Keep your mind on my music through Facebook, Twitter and Youtube for regular updates!
I wish the lovely Ambika all the very best with her music career and I look forward to hearing her work.