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Sarab Singh Interview

1. What is your name and your profession(s)?

My name is Sarab Singh, Drummer/Composer.

2. What is your ethnic background and what is your citizenship?

Indian, specifically Punjabi Sikh. US native citizen.

3. Are either/both of your parents musicians or somehow involved in the music industry?

Neither parents are involved in the music industry, but both love music. And my mother grew up playing several instruments and is incredibly musical with an amazing ear.

4. Please tell us a little bit about your experience, either growing up as an AAPI in America, or as a person of Asian descent who immigrated to America, whichever applies.

My experience has overall been wonderful. Growing up in the late 80's and 90's, people were more likely to be a little less tolerant than they are now, but overall people have always loved that I'm Indian and that this gives me a unique perspective on things in this country. They've been curious about it, and many have felt that it's somehow a part of my musical feel!

5. How connected do you feel to your heritage/culture(s)?

I do feel connected, and more so the older I get. My parents have always brought me to Gurudwara (Sikh temple), and it always kept me connected in a cultural sense, and now more than ever it connects me in a spiritual sense as well. It can be easy to lose the cultural connection since I am constantly surrounded by American culture, but ultimately it's something that is always present and deeply rooted in my being. And also everyone thinks Indian food is awesome now so it's fun to go eat with my American friends when I'm on tour and stuff!

6. 6a.) How did you get into music? Did you major in music in college? Where did you attend college/university (and grad school(s), if applicable) and in what subjects did you get your degree(s)?

I got into music through my mom basically playing beats on my back to put me to sleep, and then hearing the Sting record "The Dream of the Blue Turtles" playing in my house alot and just loving it! I played in bands all throughout highschool and studied with a great teacher, and then I attended the University of Miami Frost School of Music where I studied Studio Music and Jazz (and also Music Industry).

6b.) When and how did you decide you were going to pursue music professionally? What were your parents’ reactions to you deciding to pursue music? Do they support your music career now?

I moved to New York City after graduating and started playing all kinds of gigs in the city and it just kind of went on from there! My parents were very supportive after speaking to a few of my drumset professors and seeing that it would be a viable option for me. They are the most supportive people in my life!!


7. What are a few of your (music) projects of which you are the proudest? What were your roles on those projects? Beyond those projects, please feel free to name some of your other credits as well as any brands/companies you officially endorse.

The project that I am most proud of is the one that I am currently involved with which is a band called MUNA. Their music is so special on many levels, and is my very favorite music to play as a drummer. They are also some of my very favorite humans in the world! I have also worked with Sara Bareilles, Ingrid Michaelson, Natasha Bedingfield, Charli XCX, Madi DIaz, and Joji (among some others). I endorse Gretsch Drums and Istanbul Agop Cymbals. These instruments are so beautiful and inspiring and I feel so lucky to play them!

8. What are some obstacles you have encountered (if any) being an AAPI in the music world? What are some obstacles you have encountered (if any) as an AAPI in general (non-music)? Conversely, has being an AAPI ever helped you in the music industry or in general?

I have not encountered too many obstacles being an AAPI except maybe someone occasionally thinking that I am going to be a bit meek on the drums, but I just try and let my playing prove them wrong and usually it does (or at least I hope it does haha)! I haven't encountered any obstacles in general though, except maybe people being shocked that I'm not a doctor or a lawyer! I think being an AAPI has helped me with certain artists that are Asian who want to have a band that are representative of Asian cultures.

9. 9a.) Who are some AAPI musicians/composers/producers who have previously inspired and currently inspire you (if any)? Why?

An AAPI drummer who inspired me alot when I was in high school is Ashwin Sood. He is an amazing drummer/producer who used to play with Sarah McLachlan, and it was so inspiring to see an Indian playing with such an important artist and sounding so good doing it!

9b.) What are your hopes for the AAPI music community and your hopes for AAPIs in general?

My hope for the AAPI community is that it will continue to show the world how much artistic talent there is in our community.


10. Name one or two non-music-related things/subjects about which you are also passionate.

I love watching Sci-Fi movies and finding new Vegan restaurants! I am also just passionate about being Vegan in general and I believe it can change the world for the better in so many ways!

11. Any final thoughts? Alternatively, do you have any questions for me and/or the greater AAPI music community?

Thank you so much for shedding light on so many wonderful artists in our community!


Support Sarab Singh online :)

Instagram - @sarabsingh 

Spotify - Klvr Grl

Images courtesy of Sarab Singh (photo credit: Penelope Martinez)

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