Upcoming artist Anya Gupta on the rise of TikTok, quarantine creations and the importance of LGBTQ+ music

Written by: Charlotte Bredael

Upcoming singer-songwriter Anya Gupta’s music features stunning, gentle vocals, relatable lyrics and catchy hooks giving her tracks an addictive quality comparable to artists like Mal Blum, Girl In Red and Phoebe Bridgers.

She’s one of the many young artists who have utilised their time during quarantine to focus solely on music, away from the distractions of school and all else life throws their way. Having recently experienced a spike in Spotify streams after gaining popularity on TikTok, Anya has found a community of like-minded people who relate to her music and hopes that her tracks can become a safe-haven for the LGBTQ+ community. She is now learning how to produce her own tracks in anticipation for her latest single ‘Way To Love’ that she’s planning to release in September.

I sat down with Anya to discuss all things music, social media and inspiration. With a clear passion for what she does, Anya’s confidence and interesting outlook lead to an insightful look into what it’s like to be a young person entering the industry, which you can read all about below.

Let’s start at the very beginning, what originally inspired you to start making music and who have been your biggest influences.

That would probably be Twenty One Pilots for me, I started listening to their music when I was in middle school, like 7th grade. I used to write a lot of poetry back then and I realised that a lot of their songs are like if you were to mash up six-seven poems together and create a song, so the first song I created was kind of like that. I never ended up releasing it but that’s what started my little music career. And then there were artists like Dodie, I’d watched a lot of her videos and I really liked how she would write songs about mental health, sexuality and life experiences, so I started writing songs about the things I saw and experienced. 

I’d love to know more about you in general, are you aiming to pursue music as a full time career and what else do you like to do in your spare time?

I’m hoping to pursue music as a full time career, I know the music industry is quite brutal and it’s a lot about talent but it’s also about luck, if I do get the chance to pursue music as a full time career I’m definitely going to. I spend a lot of my free time writing and producing around being at school but since we’ve been in quarantine I’ve been learning how to mix, master and create songs, as well as how to properly record things to make it sound good. I went into quarantine with six unfinished songs and I was able finish them all by having the time to use my creative process for something good.

You have an impressive following on TikTok which seems to be a very popular platform for up and coming musicians at the moment. Do you feel that having easy access to wider audience has and will continue to benefit you in your musical journey?

Definitely, I started using TikTok during quarantine and my first video got around 700 views, I’ve never had that many on YouTube or Instagram. When I started I had 200 monthly listeners on Spotify and now I have over 4000 so it’s definitely helping a lot. I got 200K on a video that I didn’t expect to do well at all and I gained around 3000 followers so it’s really helping me and I’m definitely going to continue to use it.

What is your favourite song of yours to perform and your favourite song to cover, and why?

My song ‘Heart Of Gold’ was the one that a lot of people started listening to, mostly because it’s really upbeat and one of my happier songs. It’s the most fun to play because it’s a very simple song, it only consists of four chords and every time I get to perform it I’m able to jump around without messing up any of the guitar. My favourite songs to cover are honestly anything by Billie Eilish but I cover a lot of different songs that I love.

It’s great to see a smaller LGBTQ+ musician beginning to gain recognition, as well as LGBTQ+ relationships slowly becoming normalised in music. Do you feel that the industry has progressed over the past few years when it comes to LGBTQ+ representation and how do you aim to use your music to express your own identity?

Representation is definitely growing because now there are artists like Girl In Red and King princess who are specific to helping the women love women community and normalising LGBTQ+ relationships and I love that. There’s also Dodie who is openly bisexual and writes about men and women, she’s happy with it and it’s music that is relatable to her audience. I’m hoping to do the same thing, being open with the fact that it’s okay to be figuring things out. A lot of the songs that I’m about to release are about just figuring out who you are and I think a lot of people can relate to that. Maybe they’re scared of how their family are going to feel or they don’t understand themselves so my goal is to be that reassurance that it’s okay to figure it out and to create music that people can relate back to if they feel a little lost.

If you could collaborate with any artist, who would you choose and why?

I’ve been listening to Dodie for like six years so I think she would be really cool to collaborate with, I relate to her music a lot. Also Billie Eilish, I feel like every single song she creates is so unique and it’s always a different sound. She’s one of the biggest artists in the world right now but I started listening to her when she released her first song ‘Ocean Eyes’ so that would be really cool.

Do you have any exciting projects that you’ve been working on recently?

Before quarantine there was one song called ‘Way To Love’ that I was really struggling to write and I think it took me like 2 days to figure it all out, I’m hoping to release it around September time. I’m very excited about it, I think it’s going to be another ‘Heart Of Gold’ and that people will really be able to relate to it. It definitely shows how confident I’ve grown in my sexuality, I’ve been reluctant to release music that has she/her pronouns before and even though they’re not in the song, it’s definitely more evident and I’m really happy with how it’s turning out.

You said it took you two days to figure out the logistics of the song, do you have a specific place or mindset that you like to be in to get into that creative zone?

I don’t have a specific place, it depends on how I’m feeling. There’s this bench near where I live that’s shaded by a tree so I’ll take my guitar there and I’ll write there. Sometimes you just need different scenery but since we were in quarantine I mainly just do it in my room and I get most of my inspiration at night so it’s normally like 3am. Sometimes I’ll use my diary entries to see how I was feeling and then I’ll find a way to articulate it into lyrics. I have this cute little yellow journal that’s like my lucky journal so I’ll write in that or I’ll use voice memos if I think of something cool so I can just record it and then come back to it later.

What is your ultimate dream goal for your music career within the next 10 years?

I want to play more shows, I’ve definitely gained the confidence to do that but my ultimate goal is just to make a career out of doing what I love to do and to inspire other people to be confident in themselves. I reached out to an artist for advice recently and he kept saying ‘make stuff that makes you feel things’, it’s such a simple phrase but it shows that if you make music that’s authentic and true to yourself, there’s always going to be someone else who will relate to it. I just want to make some people happy and I think I’m doing that at the moment so I want to gain a bigger audience so I can continue to do that for more people.

You can find all of Anya’s previous tracks on Spotify and Apple Music via the links below and make sure to give her a follow on social media to be the first to know when her new single ‘Way To Love’ is released. We can guarantee this isn’t the last you’ll be hearing from her.

Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/artist/anya-gupta/1434780958

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCj-7zRKSs8jnfaVRmJX9L0Q

Instagram: @anya4204

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@anyagmusic?source=h5_m (@anyagmusic)