Talent alone is not enough to achieve your dreams, but how you utilise and make the most out of your talent is what matters. The perfect example of this is Zoya Mohan, a talented and driven musician.
Zoya Mohan born Indian, raised Californian has brought a unique infusion to her music. She was first recognized for her talent while studying in Orange County High School of the Arts. She was aspiring to be a visual artist at that time. But her high school teacher, Wendy Tobiska, having heard her play the guitar and sing the song ‘Catch & Release’ that Zoya herself had written, told her that music is what she must choose. That it was meant to be. And so with that push, Zoya enrolled herself into Berklee College of Music to pursue Music Business.
I just didn’t admit [about pursuing music professionally] at all. I never spoke or let myself daydream about it. Until about three years ago I finally did. I realized if I didn’t at least try I would fail regardless.”
Getting to pursue music was something Zoya had always longed for, but once she got to Berklee in Boston, she faced an unexpected problem. Opening up about it, she says, “When I reached Boston I became frozen. I was surrounded by the best talent in the world and I just couldn’t get myself to sing or even write. Had almost obsolete self-confidence and I guess it was a blessing in disguise at the time, but, that is a major reason I dropped songwriting and pursued Music Business.” She considers this move one of her best decisions. The business knowledge combined with her innate musical ability to write songs and perform has given her more confidence than ever before.
Despite having this love for music in her for a long time, Zoya had buried it deep down. She feared that if she admitted that this dream was something she couldn’t live without, she would fail. “I just didn’t admit it at all. I never spoke or let myself daydream about it. Until about three years ago I finally did. I realized if I didn’t at least try I would fail regardless.”
Zoya: Plugged In was an amazing project. We collectively decided to donate all the proceeds to provide electricity for schools in rural India.”
With immense courage Zoya stepped into the highly competitive music industry and released three albums, ‘The Girl Who Used To Live In My Room’, ‘natural disaster’ and ‘Letters to Toska’. Additionally she has to her credit multiple singles that have been remixed by nine producers from around the world.
She also has a project to her name titled, Zoya: Plugged In. Talking about the project, she says, “Zoya: Plugged In was an amazing project. We (the producers and Zoya) collectively decided to donate all the proceeds to provide electricity for schools in rural India. That is when the idea was born: Electronic Music for Electricity. It was amazing to visit the kids and schools and actually make some difference in their lives through music.”
Zoya has been making waves in the music industry in India as well as internationally. The Bohemian folk brand that she has created for herself through her eclectic instrumentation and confessional song-writing has gained her a lot of popularity. With the likes of Rolling Stones, MTV Indies, ELLE Magazine, and The Huffington Post featuring her, she is indeed stamping her name in bold all over. Zoya’s unique approach to creating a new brand of music has led to her brushing shoulders with Raghu Dixit, Kawehi, StoryMan, Salman Rushdie; and giving performances at Harvard, Berklee and famous venues like Rockhall Music Hall, Whiskey A Go Go. She has even caught the eye of the great A.R. Rahman.
Don’t imagine a life for yourself that isn’t what you absolutely love doing and can’t live without. There is only this one life and you got to keep reminding yourself of that.”
With the release of her new album, ‘natural disaster’, she is currently in India performing in Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Goa, and Delhi.
Her experience in the music industry has given her some unique insights. Sharing them, she says, “You have to make the first strides of your career alone. You have to understand the models and structures of the industry, what publishers, promoters, public relation reps, management, or record labels actually do. I feel, only then will artists be able to harness their career, be able to brand themselves, and get their music out there. Right now, it is a game of how to rise above the clutter.”
She inspires other music lovers out there to create a name for themselves. “Don’t imagine a life for yourself that isn’t what you absolutely love doing and can’t live without. There is only this one life and you got to keep reminding yourself of that.”
There are many who have unique talents but only a few who harness those talents and are bold enough to take the right steps to pursue them. Zoya did it all by herself, no hand of God propelled her into stardom. This is Zoya Mohan. She is an original. She is Bold, and she is here to stay.