Ananya Birla is a singer-songwriter from Mumbai, and the first homegrown artist to go Platinum with an English language track in India.
Since signing with Universal Music in 2016, the self-taught guitar and santoor player, has reached over 100m combined streams on her first four songs, collaborating with artists such as Afrojack, Jim Beanz and Mood Melodies.
Ananya, who has been listed as one of GQ’s Most Influential Young Indians and one of Forbes’ Women to Watch, is working on an upcoming EP at the moment which is due to be released in April and will be supported by Island Records UK.
Also a mental health campaigner, Ananya uses music to bring people from all backgrounds together and organises music festivals in Mumbai to benefit the mental health organisation she founded, Mpower.
We caught up with Ananya for the latest in our ‘My London’ interview series.
Camden. It has some of the best live music spots in London, as well as loads of cool places to eat, shop and hang out.
Favourite place for brunch:
White City House. I love the Soho Houses around the world, but this is one of my favourites. It’s slightly outside of the chaos of central, so it’s a good place to gather my thoughts. Great food (including one of the best veggie burgers I’ve ever had), good vibes and nice view.
Best coffee in London:
Shoreditch Grind. The people watching is great, and it’s open from early till late which is a life-saver. I always start my day with a fresh juice or smoothie, so it’s great to be able to pick up something fresh and healthy along with my caffeine hit.
Favourite gallery or museum:
I always try to visit Maddox Gallery, they have an amazing selection of contemporary art and photography. And the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea, which is usually a riot of inspirational and unique installations.
Tell us a secret:
When I am on the road, I sometimes facetime my dog Skai.
Favourite place to shop:
I love the treasure-hunt of vintage stores on Portobello Road and Brick Lane.
Favourite place to find inspiration:
Any of London’s amazing music studios. It really is the best place in the world to work on a song.
Best London destination for a date:
Electric Cinema, there are huge chairs with blankets, so you can get really cosy, plus you can order food and drinks to enjoy during the movie.
Holland Park. It has a breath-taking Japanese garden for meditation, and peacocks hanging out everywhere!
Favourite food market:
Borough Market is an experience I recommend to any of my friends coming in from out of town. It’s like going back in time and so quintessentially British!
Your sanctuary in the city:
Getting lost in Highgate Wood, especially in spring when the Bluebells blossom.
What inspires you?
In London, definitely the people. They’re the funniest in the world but also soulful and with stories that can stay with you for weeks.
This season I’m loving:
My Acne Studios Manhattan multi white sneakers.