Toronto-via-Orlando singer, Prita Chhabra has been raising her profile significantly lately. Her most recent single, ‘Dance’, has been played and performed all over the place, and most recently, she won the Best World award at the Toronto Independent Music Awards.
She answered a few questions for us following that win.
Raz Mataz Magazine (RMM): You’ve said that you aren’t professionally trained, but when you were in Orlando, you performed at Disney World quite a bit. Do you feel that was a sort of apprenticeship in performing? Has that experience helped you in your adult life?
Prita Chhabra (PC): It definitely did. I’ve been in choirs all through elementary school, high school and university. Any time I performed, it was training for me. I’ve always had a love for singing and music and my mom said I was humming before I was talking. Sometimes you just have to do that which comes most naturally to you, and for me, it was singing.
RMM: Tell us about your recent TIMA win. How has it affected your career?
PC: It’s given me the biggest confidence boost! It’s so nice to have fans come up to you and tell you that you’re great, but it’s a whole other ball game when your peers and people in your industry acknowledge your work. It’s very validating! It has totally re-energized me and I feel so blessed to get to do what I love to do.
RMM: Your AIDS-awareness initiative is clearly something dear to your heart. Has it made its way into your music, or are they two separate ideas?
PC: Music and helping others are my two passions and they are definitely intertwined. I don’t do music for me, I do music in the hope that I can help others through my music. Going to Africa and doing HIV/AIDS research greatly influenced me to pursue my singing dreams. I got one of my first performance opportunities in Africa, when I was taught a few songs in Chichewa and given the chance to sing in the choir, for members of Parliament and villages across Malawi. Living in a rural village for three weeks with no running water or electricity and seeing so many beautiful, intelligent and talented human beings living with these crazy circumstances made me really appreciate and value my life in the West. I realized that by simply being born in Canada made me one of the luckiest people in the world and that my life was precious, not something to be wasted worrying about stupid insecurities in my head. I always believed I’d never make it as a singer. . . I wasn’t good enough, pretty enough, etc. . .
Going to Africa eliminated all those fears and just pushed me to not only live my life to the fullest, but also be a voice for all the people I met in Malawi. I feel like I have to get myself to the point where I can do something huge for them. I could have been born there, with the same soul, heart, hopes and desires, and not be able to think about any of them due to my circumstances. I sing those African songs at all my shows, and I talk about my trip and all the people’s stories so that they can feel like they have a voice, and so that my audiences can begin to appreciate their lives, too. I hope to do a heck lot more with my HIV/AIDS awareness initiatives and the two passions still lie intertwined!
RMM: Do you have any upcoming projects that you’d like to mention?
PC: I will be releasing a new single/video called ‘Aaja’ very shortly. It mixes English and Hindi lyrics and is produced by JoSH. I’m also starting a newsletter on December 1st for World Aids Day and if people sign up, they’ll receive personal messages, rare videos/performances and unreleased songs throughout the year!