by Mona Jhaveri - December 21, 2020

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Arshia “AshTad” is an extremely talented musician and aware teenager who has done more for the fight against cancer than most people twice her age. In this interview with AshTad, you’ll learn more about her musical beginnings, her collaboration with her father, and how they became involved in the fight against cancer.

Q: What was your original calling to music? How did you start out?

I started singing when I was 3 years old. I was exposed to music because my dad is an avid singer and guitar player. He inspired me from a very early age.

At 7 years, I posted my first YouTube performance of “Why This Kolaveri Di” with my dad, and this led to private lessons in Indian classical music. 

Q: Who or what is your musical inspiration? Which artist(s) do you look up to?

As a teenager, I love and listen to all kinds of music. I love K-pop and I am a huge fan of  Bangtan Boys (BTS). I love a variety of other artists from Ariana Grande, Alessia Cara and Ryan Tedder to Elvis Presley and Simon & Garfunkel, I’d say there’s no timeline to my music playlists. I gravitate to music that inspires and has a meaningful and relatable message. 

I chose to cover “The Sound of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel.  Although this song was released in 1964, which was over 50 years ago, I felt moved by its message and essence which continues to stay true to this day when social platforms have made us more connected, yet very isolated at the same time. I have also covered songs like “Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley and “Memories” by Maroon 5. 

Importantly, I tend to gravitate to artist’s whose moral compass is something I agree with. This is one of the reasons I love BTS. While many new age artists’ songs are about relationships and love, BTS music covers important subjects such as bullying, elitism, mental health. 

Q: Why did you become involved with Music Beats Cancer? Has cancer directly or indirectly affected you?

Currently, I am a high school student with aspirations in science. I love solving hard problems and I have been working on a patent pending idea with my dad. When Covid19 hit unexpectedly, I started looking for ways to help and support the broader community.  I realized that in order for us to get through this together, we need each other more than ever. 

What better way to do it than to partner up with Music Beats Cancer to raise money safely to help the fight against Covid19 and Cancer.  (Check out AshTad’s page HERE)

I like to contribute in little ways that I can as an aware teenager. From a very young age, I researched and wrote about topics like CRISPR, global warming, some of which has been published in my high school publications and local environmental clubs. 

 Q: What is happening next in your music career?

My dad and I have launched our own YouTube channel, “The AshTads.” I want to continue my passion in music and see where it takes me. I also want the music I create to be purpose driven, meaningful, help heal, mend fences, bring solidarity between the west and the east. Music has no boundaries, no language which is what drew me towards music in the first place and I would like to pursue that. 

Q: Anything else you would like Music Beats Cancer readers to know about you?

I love that Music Beats Cancer has a dual purpose: 1. It provides a stage for up-and-coming artists like myself, and 2. It promotes a positive impact on society by raising funds to help fight Covid19 and cancer. This made all the difference! I look forward to a strong and fruitful partnership with Music Beats Cancer in the future.

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