Courtesy of Roshni Mohan/MiC.

Growing up as a young South Asian girl in a small city in Michigan, finding representation in music always felt nearly impossible. I had two easy options when it came to listening to music. I could either listen to whatever was trending in the U.S., or I could listen to the South Asian music my mother would blast on her phone while cooking. And as much as I loved listening to A. R. Rahman and Dhanush while helping my mother roll out her chapatis on a random Tuesday night, I never felt seen by their artistry. It wasn’t music I could dive into, getting lost in the melodies, replaying the lyrics over and over in my head like a trance. 

My knowledge of Tamil is very limited. I can understand basic conversational Tamil and repeat back a whopping 14 words. So understanding fluent melodic Tamil was already a challenge, but being able to sing along to the lyrics was unimaginable. So I did what 11-year-old me thought was my only option — listened to the radio. 98.7 was my channel. I’d get into my mom’s car from school and immediately pause the Tamil song she was listening to since I couldn’t understand the lyrics, just to put on Detroit’s 98.7, which played whatever was trending on the Billboard Hot 100. Through the years, this radio obsession quickly switched over to whatever song my brother played in the car through his phone in middle school, eventually then jumping to whatever my friends listened to or what Spotify recommended to me in high school. I could understand and sing along to every song I heard. But gaining this meant I lost any form of the musical representation that the Tamil music gave me.

So a few years back, I fell into a Spotify playlist searching frenzy, finding South Asian artists that I could listen to, enjoy and relate to. After finding a few that I featured in part one, I decided to continue my hunt. Here are some more of my favorite artists so far. 

Nikhil Ramani

Nikhil Ramani is originally from Chennai, a city in South India, where my family currently resides. Both he and his roommate, Luke Duckworth, have been creating music together and releasing it on Spotify since 2020. Through this, Ramani has accumulated over 1,500 monthly listeners. I stumbled upon Ramani’s music last October when I heard the duo’s song “seventeen.” The song grapples with the end of one’s youth: the period of shifting from adolescence to adulthood, reflecting on all the fun times they had as teens. The lyrics paint a clear story about Ramani and his friends when they were younger, filled with imagery about the “Chennai heat” and the “salty breeze” that loomed around Ramani growing up. This was one of the first things that made me gravitate so strongly to Ramani’s music. The lyrics were so direct, letting me follow along to his story as if I were there. It made his music feel so homey and relatable. As if he was someone you knew, could talk to and listen to for hours. The music felt raw and less manufactured, almost like a home video, something so hard to find nowadays. To get into Ramani’s music, start by listening to “seventeen” and “Halfway Across the World.”

Anjali Taneja

Taneja is an Indian-American artist releasing music since 2017. Her latest single, “How It Feels,” has been playing on rotation in my Spotify playlists since its release in January. Her music takes a unique spin on R‘n’B through a more indie sound, creating a flowy feeling that cannot help but bring out a deep calmness. The equal blending between the music and more relaxed vocals drew me into Taneja’s music. “How It Feels” is a song that immediately makes me close my eyes and forget every pressure in my life for two minutes and 18 seconds. Her song “Paradise” has become another one of my favorites. The song title itself describes the vibe of the song, exuding a light and airy feeling. To get into Taneja’s music, start by listening to “Paradise,” “Keepsake” and “How It Feels.”

Shravya Kamaraju

Kamaraju is a singer and songwriter who first started out by making covers of popular songs on TikTok. She would add desi influences, like adding Bollywood mashups to the covers which led to her rise in popularity. From TikTok, she began creating her own music. Her most popular song has amassed over 220,000 Spotify streams. I first listened to Kamaraju this past summer, when she released “Fire Hazard.” The song focuses on the outside world pressures she faces as both a young adult and college student. With lyrics like “carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders” and “all in good time / even natural disasters subside,” the song centers on how she’s falling apart with too much on her plate, but still wanting more but with the hope that eventually this feeling of dread and pressure will pass. The upbeat music contrasts with the feeling of mental exhaustion translated through the lyrics, highlighting the hope that things will get better. To get into Kamaraju’s music, start by listening to “Fire Hazard” and “Night to Remember.


With only five tracks released on Spotify, Indian American artist hrishi is quickly gaining popularity. He brings his desi music influences into both his TikTok covers and his original music. hrishi was trained in Carnatic music, a traditional style in South India, for over 10 years, and highlights this talent in his music while creating Carnatic remixes of popular songs on his TikTok. His song “20somethin” begins with clear Carnatic vocals. The song was released in May 2021 and has already picked up over 130,000 Spotify streams. The lyrics focus on young adult life and how it isn’t always the life of the party society paints. To get into his music, start by listening to “20somethin” and “Paul McCartney (superstar).”


With only 203 monthly listeners, Sne’s music is severely underrated. Her most popular song, “Honey,” showcases Sne’s smooth and sweet vocals. Every time this song plays through my earbuds, I can’t help but just fall back in bed and lie there all day while the song sits on repeat, losing track of time in her melodic golden voice that perfectly flows across the music and immediately sends me into a trance. The lyrics focus on fantasizing about someone — the thought of them consumes your mind the way Sne’s voice does, echoing in the back of your head. Where being with them becomes the only wish and thought you have. Even with only four songs out, Sne has quickly climbed my Spotify hierarchy and become one of my most listened to artists. To get into her music, start by listening to “Honey” and “Miss You.”


Dameer is a singer and songwriter born and raised in Bangladesh. His Bangladeshi roots mix with the Western musical influences he heard growing up to create his modern sunshine indie sound. His song “Michelle,” with over 700,000 Spotify streams, diffuses a happy feeling every time it plays. Hearing the song for the first time sent me into a spiral of queuing every one of his songs over and over, until I could quote every lyric. Dameer’s first 2018 releases quickly created buzz, leading to an album release in 2019 called “For We Are Distant.” This past year, Dameer has gone independent, breaking away from the label he signed with as a teenager, releasing “Bashbo Bhalo,” his first independent song as well as his first song fully in Bangla. To get into his music, start by listening to “Michelle” and “Air.”

All these artists have given me music that I can dive into. Music whose melodies I can get lost in. Music whose lyrics I can replay in my head. Music that I can lie in bed all day and listen to, daydreaming to the sound of their voices. Music I wouldn’t mind playing in the background while I help my mother roll out another batch of chapatis on the weekends when I’m home from college. But most importantly, it’s music that I can listen to and still feel close to my South Asian roots. They’re artists who represent me and artists I can relate to. I have compiled a playlist with all of the mentioned songs as well as other South Asian artists I think you should start listening to. I hope you listen and enjoy. 

MiC Columnist Roshni Mohan can be reached at