Anya Gupta is an up-and-coming singer-songwriter at Northeastern. Her debut album “i (don’t) know you” focuses on heartbreak and healing. Photo courtesy of Anya Gupta.
April 12, 2022
One of Boston’s up-and-coming artists is Northeastern’s very own first-year music industry major Anya Gupta. A relatively new musician, Gupta released her debut album “i (don’t) know you” in December 2021 and reached the top of several Spotify editorial playlists, including “New Music Friday,” “Next Gen Singer-Songwriters” and “Out Now.”
Gupta said she found several of her singles, such as the album’s lead track “you ruined phoebe bridgers,” on playlists between the likes of Shawn Mendes and Taylor Swift.
“[The lead single] was the one song that I knew was going to be a big hit,” Gupta said. “Still, seeing my name on a few of the Spotify charts in between the big stars was probably the most surreal part.”
The 18-year-old is confident in her work. Gupta said the goal of her album was to craft an authentic and emotional piece that her audience could relate to, especially people going through a breakup or those who belong to the LGBTQ+ community.
“The album I put out is directed toward heartbreak and healing,” she said. “Heartbreak is definitely not a forever thing, and even though it feels like the end of the world in the moment, it is possible to move on and heal from it.”
Beside the highly successful “you ruined phoebe bridgers,” Gupta said her other favorite songs off the album included “on my body” and “red flags.”
“[The songs have a] really fun, indie-pop tune with electric guitar riffs that you can really jump and dance along to,” Gupta said.
Although the album was drawn from deeply personal experiences, Gupta also enjoys writing fictional songs about people and situations that don’t necessarily exist in real life, but still evoke emotions in the listener.
When hunting for songwriting inspiration, Gupta said she dives into the discographies of her favorite artists. Gupta and those close to her said the artists that inspire her most are: twenty one pilots, Billie Eilish, FINNEAS, Mac Miller, Lizzy McAlpine and girl in red, to name a few.
Gupta’s roommate, first-year music industry major Ellisar Hamdan, is involved with her friend’s musical journey and said she recognizes the influence artists such as Phoebe Bridgers and King Princess have had on her.
“Anya is really good at coming up with amazing ideas for songs, then taking inspiration from artists like [Bridgers] and [Princess] and putting her own spin on it,” Hamdan said.
Gupta’s best friend since childhood, Vivian Dong, a first-year student at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, said she feels lucky to have been in a position to watch Gupta grow as both a person and musician over the years.
“Everyone who knows Anya knows she’s such a genuine person and has such a beautiful soul, which really comes through in her music,” she said. Dong added that her favorite song off the album is the outro “x,” because she loves the instrumentals and feels like it speaks to Gupta’s spirit.
Many of Gupta’s loyal fans keep up with the rising star on social media, especially TikTok, where the musician has already garnered over 50,000 followers. Gupta tries to upload one or two videos a day on TikTok as a way to keep in touch with her fanbase.
“I started TikTok because one of my best friends said they noticed a lot of musicians blew up on the app, and so I wanted to take advantage of that,” she said.
By her fourth video, Gupta said she received over 16,000 views and was pleasantly surprised by people’s enthusiasm for her singing.
“At one point [a popular creator] @karchill danced to one of my sounds, which got me a lot of recognition, and later on, [singer-songwriter] Tessa Violet started following me, which was so cool,” she said.
For any fans who find inspiration in Gupta and are interested in pursuing a career in the music industry themselves, Gupta said she recommends practicing songwriting skills by sitting down and writing for a set amount of time each day.
“You need to write what feels right to you,” she said. “Don’t listen to what anyone else says. Just write and believe in what you’re writing.”
Gupta said she believes this is where true power and authenticity in music lie, and that it is what makes the songwriting experience feel less like a chore and more like the enjoyable passion it’s supposed to be.
The artist has big plans for her near and far future, and both include live performances. She said she fortunately has a friend in Boston who reaches out to venues on her behalf.
“I’m lucky in that that part is already taken care of so I’m able to just show up and perform,” she said.
Gupta added that she is currently most interested in performing at Northeastern’s open mic nights or doing shows at places such as Berklee College of Music and New England Conservatory. Further down the road, Gupta said she hopes to perform for a living and her ultimate goal is to have a stable job in the music industry.
Gupta has gained an enthusiastic fanbase, earned respect from fellow musicians and set herself up for success in the music industry in just a matter of months. She can be found online by searching up Anya Gupta on Spotify and other music streaming platforms, on TikTok and on Instagram.
“Anya has one of the purest hearts of anyone I’ve ever met, and she really stands out from everyone else,” Hamdan said. “She’s an amazing artist, but she’s also an incredible person, which is why I respect her so much.”
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