The first dreamchaser of my new DREAMCHASERS Q&A series is the seriously amazing, incredibly talented singer songwriter Nimmi (many of you know her as Namrata)! Nimmi recently made her musical debut with her first mini-album of five songs, four originals and one cover, on Soundcloud. With emotionally powerful, heartfelt vocals and soulful sadgirl vibes, her songs had me riveted from the first listen.
Keep reading to hear about Nimmi’s lifelong love of music, how she found the courage to pursue her dreams, and of course, how she rocks those infamous sneaker wedges!
Cat: I’m so happy you decided to share your music with the world! I would always hear you singing in the hallways in college—has music always been a passion for you, and how did you get started?
Nimmi: Yes! I grew up in an artistic family; my mom danced, while my dad was a really good singer, so we grew up listening to a lot of music, singing around the house and watching musicals. Apparently, my grandma noticed how I would always sing to my Barbie dolls and told my mom to put me in music classes. I started off singing classical Indian music, then started dabbling in more Western music genres, like R&B, soul, soft rock, etc.
C: What kinds of self-doubts did you have about making music and sharing it? Did your self-doubt prevent you from doing this earlier?
N: In high school, I had pretty traumatic experiences with music. My teacher was very racist and secretly thought I smelled bad due to the “ethnic food” I ate and never gave me good parts in musicals or even in choir due to favoritism. Combined with the fact that I was mostly rejected from all acapella groups in college and several other musicals, I became rather reclusive in how I expressed music. I would only share it with friends or my family but no one else. It became a form of therapy rather than outward expression. I think this fear really did stop me from producing music earlier; however, I have no regrets starting this journey post college as I think it’s incredibly important to have a good support group and an education before getting into an industry that is incredibly cutthroat and harsh. I got to figure myself out before diving into an environment where I’ll be constantly pushed around.
I think I have internalized this guilt that comes with many immigrant/first gen children in that I should be following the path that is more acceptable in our communities rather than what is intuitively more compatible to us.
C: What finally got you to push aside those fears and go for it?
N: After my father passed away rather suddenly and having my grandparents living at home, with their health getting steadier worse, the notion of death and age became rather familiar with me. Suddenly life and the meaning of time became more precious and I sought out to live a more fulfilling life rather than one that is more accepted or expected. When my time has come for me to leave this Earth, I don’t want to regret anything that I’ve done. I should be able to say rather proudly that I followed what I wanted to do, even if it is more difficult and trying at first. With this principle circulating around my head, it lead me to working more aggressively on music and creating a career out of it.
C: Now that you’ve released your first songs on Soundcloud, how do you feel?
N: I’m really nervous! I was pushed into showing my Soundcloud by my family and was incredibly apprehensive showing my work. However, I’m overwhelmed as well by the love and support by my friends and peers. I think I have internalized this guilt that comes with many immigrant/first gen children in that I should be following the path that is more acceptable in our communities rather than what is intuitively more compatible to us. This overwhelming feeling of support made me realize that I am surrounded by people who do really care about ME rather than the image I should portray!
[My] confidence came from growing up as an outcast in school, as someone who moved around a lot and honestly as a young, thick (and not in that desirable way the Kardashians have appropriated!) brown girl.
C: Yes, I totally relate and I’m so glad you’re pursuing what you love! And lastly, a fun question: I’ve always admired your super cute yet risk-taking style! I’ve never seen anyone rock sneaker wedges like you can. What are your style inspirations, and how do you find the confidence to rock your looks?
N: D’awww thanks Cat. I think my inspirations started from home! My family always taught me that no matter where I’m going, if I’m stepping out of my house, I better wear a decent outfit and wash my face. No questions. As POC we are judged way more on our appearance and thus from a young age it was ingrained upon me to be “presentable”. Granted, there are some issues with that way of thinking, but it has stuck and I have always looked to my incredibly stylish mother and grandmother for tips. They, like me, do not always understand fashion trends, and throughout the years, they both have put an emphasis on wearing what looks and feels good on me, rather than what is supposed to look good on me. I think the confidence came from growing up as an outcast in school, as someone who moved around a lot and honestly as a young, thick (and not in that desirable way the Kardashians have appropriated!) brown girl. I learned pretty much early on that nothing, no matter how hard I try, I will never ever belong in a group and rather than being sad about it, I found something comforting about it. I’m going to wear a men’s shirt, because…well why not? I’m still going to be judged by it and rather than let that define me, I want it to empower me and push me to challenge these boundaries we as society have created. I do not need anyone’s validation about how ~cute~ this outfit is besides me!!
Listen to Nimmi on Soundcloud (my favorite is the sadgirl yet badgirl jazz jam “Never Mean Anything”):
If you love her songs, hit “follow” to keep updated on her future projects!
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DREAMCHASERS is a Q&A series featuring creatives and artists who are pursuing their dreams. We’ll talk about their inspirations and aspirations, and what pushed them from dreaming to doing. My hope is that these snapshots of awesome people chasing their dreams will inspire all of you, my readers, to chase yours.
If you’re a creative, artist, and/or fashionista, and would like to hang out with me and get featured on this blog, shoot me a message. I would especially love to hear from women of color and trans and non-binary people of color, who are underrepresented in the creative industries.