#PowerOfPower: Zoya Mohan To Extract Electricity From Electronic Music
22-year old singer-songwriter Zoya Mohan isn’t out to change the world. But, she is out to make a difference. A difference in the lives of a bunch of kids in a remote village in Udaipur. In her latest endeavour titled Zoya: Plugged In, Berklee College of Music alumna Zoya teams up with her college buddies (all of whom are electronic music producers scattered across America) to do what they were trained to do – make music. Rather than making music, this collective effort involves taking a few of Zoya’s popular singles and looking at them from an electronic music lens. Before you start assuming that this is an age-old recipe for success in the music industry, where an artist resurrects their once popular tracks with a different approach, let us have you know that this album is as altruistic as it is musical. Instead of swallowing up the album proceeds, which in today’s age are not much to begin with in the first place, Zoya is taking this money to remote secondary schools and facilities for childhood development in Udaipur to make that aforementioned difference.
Like all good ideas, this one too started over a beer. ‘Asteroids and Eathquakes (a collaborator on the album) always wanted me to lend my voice to an electronic setting, and the minute I heard what he’d done with one of my songs, I knew that we have to get more people to do this.’ says Mohan. ‘Berklee or not, the artist in us will always want to support music and the people making it. The charity angle was a collective decision of ours made only post the nine songs were completed’ she adds. So why India? ‘My father owned a travel company in Delhi and throughout my childhood I’ve been travelling the world. In India especially, he ensured we saw more schools than temples. Back in the day, he too was instrumental in setting up supplies of electricity in Udaipur schools. So, it’s safe to say that the idea of India trickled down to me via him.’
The album proceeds will benefit the Khushiya Toy Library where poor children are educated as their mothers weave baskets and/or craft toys and Tulsidas Ki Saray and Suran Panchayat Jaswantgarh, two schools, which educate roughly 300+ students. Considering India has a lot of states where such charity would be more than appreciated, Mohan picked Udaipur as her father already had a trustworthy contact there and she chose to donate the money directly to the source rather than getting it lost through the organisational mazes of a charity. ‘It’s such little money. Who knows how much we end up making. I wanted to make sure that whatever little we make doesn’t go down a charity black hole. My goal is to help twenty classrooms and considering we’re talking around two hundred US dollars for each, we’re looking at raising a sum of around five thousand dollars.’
Rehashing her songs isn’t Mohan’s first. In her earlier EP titled ‘Lasya’ which meshed dance with her tracks to create a visual EP to this one, she makes her love for recycling art apparent. ‘The dancers from Lasya and the producers this time had complete freedom to do what they wanted with my tracks. Because of this creative independence, each producer's flavour distinctively shines through.’ However, the final product lies somewhere between trance and house. ‘It’s something that doesn’t stray too far away from my original sensibilities.’ says Mohan.
What started out being #ElectronicMusicForElectricity (the name got dropped because it was more than a mouthful), today is a campaign titled #PowerOfPower’ (Courtesy of Quantum Creative helmed by Mohan’s friend AGAIN from Berklee) backing the album. Zoya Mohan’s album is priced at fifteen US dollars. Learn more about the effort, preview the tracks and purchase it HERE.
Here’s a list of the producers who have worked on the album. Sample their work by clicking on their names.
Zoya’s doing her job of making music. She’s doing more than her job by getting out of her way to get nine producers create something that will help kids who she doesn’t know personally. We’re doing our bit by bringing this story to you because A. It’s a great lesson in Humanity101 to see how music can ‘really’ make a difference and B. We think Zoya is as nice a person as her music. You have one job too. Check the album out, buy it, tell the artist what you think about it and share it. Trust us as we say this, a bunch of kids in Udaipur will be more than grateful to you.