It was a glitzy Saturday evening filled with melodious, peppy music as Ananya Birla, the 22-year-old daughter of industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla and philanthropist Neerja Birla, launched her debut international single, ‘Livin’ the life’, at a grand event on the lawns of the Taj Lands End hotel in Bandra (W). The track — a mix of pop and EDM — mixed by Dutch DJ Afrojack, has Ananya as the co-writer and composer with American producer Jim Beanz.
She and Beanz collaborated on the single over the past year and recorded it at a studio in Philadelphia. Beanz has previously worked with international pop stars Nelly Furtado, Cheryl Cole and Demi Lovato. Saturday’s launch event kicked off with graffiti artists making hearts, peace signs and musical notes on one side of the lawn, as a number of dancers ran simultaneously towards an expansive stage, grooving to a peppy number. While their entry was accompanied by fireworks and theatrical fog, within minutes, the star of the evening appeared on two big screens put up on the stage. “Music is my magic,” Ananya said in a video that showcased her love for music.
Soon after, as her proud parents looked on, Ananya descended on the stage on a platform to the cheers of the crowd that had Bollywood stars Hrithik Roshan, Sohail Khan, Dino Morea, Sooraj Pancholi, Afrojack and Beanz, among others. She then joined the dancers and led a spellbinding performance on the new single. Speaking to Hindustan Times before the performance, Ananya spelt out her long-term music plans, saying she wouldn’t want to focus solely on Bollywood right now, but does not mind working with composers from the Hindi film industry in the future.
“Farhan Akhtar is a good friend of mine. I can see myself working with Vishal Dadlani and Shankar [Mahadevan], Ehsaan [Noorani] and Loy [Mendosa],” said Ananya. “But, I look at music from a larger perspective. I want to work on reaching out to people, through my music, at the grass-roots level.”
And how does she plan to do that? Ananya will give people “access to music platforms” through her organisation, One. Ask the University of Oxford alumni about her collaboration with Beanz, and she says, “I met him through the record label [Universal Music Group] that signed me. I was familiar with his work. But when we met, we really got along. He has been incredibly supportive about my creative freedom, and he really understands me. He also made me feel really comfortable in the studio.” Beanz had words of appreciation for Ananya, too. Addressing the gathering, he said Ananya has “all the makings of a star”. With the video of her single out for everyone to enjoy, Ananya has apparently already started working on her next track. She is also looking forward to performing at a concert on November 19 alongside Coldplay.