Exclusive Premiere: Indian-American Anita Aysola Rallies For Women’s Rights on ‘Heartbeat’
The Dhanbad-born, Atlanta-based singer-songwriter incorporates piano jazz, blues and pop on her latest single
In May this year, the American state of Georgia signed into law the “heartbeat bill” which bans abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. Atlanta-based singer-songwriter Anita Aysola had, by then, spoken to government officials, voted, protested and marched against some of these measures that she describes as “the impending war on women’s rights.”
A singer-songwriter trained in Hindustani classical vocals as well as Western classical piano since she was a child, the time was ripe for her to make music about curtailing freedoms in the U.S. as well. “Heartbeat,” her latest single since her 2018 EP Beyond Our Dreams, puts forward an anthem-like blues and jazz-infused message reminding us of the defiant power of women. She says that the wider relevance of “Heartbeat” is because women’s rights all over the world are “under attack.” Aysola adds, “Right now in the United States, many of us are in a constant state of shock and dismay at the atrocities being committed at the hands of our government. While this song was inspired by current attacks on reproductive rights, it is also, more broadly, meant to reaffirm the basic human rights of women everywhere.”
Produced by actor-composer Samrat Chakrabarti, the song also features the Resistance Revival Chorus, a socially-conscious vocal group that lends a rousing element. While she released her debut album More Than Maybe in 2008, Aysola took her time with her next material as she took on a role as a mother of two and a wife. She says, “Some of my older work is still unreleased, but songs that I wrote as recently as three months ago, like ‘Heartbeat,’ are on their way out.” Two more songs – “Rumpelstiltskin” (which draws from the child separation issues at the U.S. southern border) and “Legend In My Mind” – are set for release in the coming months, even as Aysola is confirmed to perform at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. this week.
It will be the first time that Aysola – born in Dhanbad to Andhra Pradesh-origin immigrants who moved from Canada to Michigan – will perform “Heartbeat.” She’s also keen to perform in India, considering she’s keeping a tab on the jazz and indie music scene over the last few years. “There seems to be a true passion and interest in India for discovering new original music. Within the next year or so, I hope to set up a small tour,” Aysola sys.