Priya Ragu

Priya Ragu: + A dedicated poem and a SXSW 2022 Interview

January 26, 2023 in Features

by hierba malita

Priya Ragu

Table of Contents

  1. Poem by Smruthi
  2. SXSW '22 Interview by Hierba Malita


by smruthi

edited with pixie

the stories she sings take shape, visually and exquisitely rich:

and as the leaf high settles into my body,

her voice rings through my very essence

and the lyrics etch themselves into my bones

it’s rare these days to experience a work of art so wholly

my mind, body, and soul moving

through the complex range of the human experience:

a bond so rare to find, so quick to lose

i listen in quiet rapture as she mourns a lost love

feeling a phantom heartache settling in my chest

this “takata” is a riddim like that

i move unabashedly

டப்பாங்குத்து: letting the beats move through me

with no formal choreography or thought

reconnecting with myself

in a way that i never have before

i close my eyes to listen deeper

while her voice keeps me rooted in my body,

tethered to this earth

her songs impart primordial truths

touching deep with rhythms i cannot name

but they invoke familiarity within me,

i’m reminded of where i come from

she sings of messages and lessons from our past

tied with the vision of the future:

from love to loss, from grief to joy

i thought i knew how i felt these emotions

but her work makes me redefine them

as if i am a newborn, discovering what feelings are

and seeing the world for the very first time

it’s an ancestral vision come to life


as தமிழ் diaspora, the narrative of a lost child is the one i follow

never able to fully meld into either of the places (or any of the lands) i am supposed to call home, but with Priya Ragu, i know i can carve out my own space in this world:

it's all in my hands right now


2. Priya Ragu Interview

DJ Hierba Malita first found Priya Ragu in 2021 as a feature for Still Strange by Oddisee featuring Sainte Ezekiel. Later in 2022, they would find each other as fan and performer, interviewee and interviewer, on the site of SXSW, inside Mohawk to be specific.

Describing Austin: Good Energy. Spicy

Discovered: Lobster Burger, “it was okay. I thought the lobster was
going to be warm, but it was cold.”

Loves Performing: Lockdown

Priya Ragu Interview

By DJ Hierba Malita

My name is Priya, and I'm from the UK.

I just arrived yesterday and we played two shows and it was amazing. This is my first time in Austin. Yes. Oh, my God. It's amazing, honestly. I arrived early in the morning yesterday, so I'm, like, very, very jetlagged. Other than that, I'm really, really enjoying it. It's always like a different experience when you perform your songs for the first time in front of an audience. So I felt like the people received it very well. Thank you.

Favorite song to perform?

My favorite song to perform is Lockdown. I really love that song. And, um, it's just like singing and rapping and it's a mix of everything. And there's also a great guitar solo in the song. So yeah.

When did you decide music was for you?

I think I never decided. I just went with the flow and, um, kind of accepted it. Yeah, that makes sense. Music was always knocking on my door and I never fully opened the door - just slightly. And in 2017 I was like, okay, I'm going to open that door and see what comes through and quit my day job. I was working for airlines as a technical purchaser of aircraft parts. I was just, you know, minding my own business and living life. And then as soon as I opened that door, my life changed. And it was just about taking that leap of faith and trusting yourself.

Fav Collaborations?

You know, I haven't been collaborating a lot so far, but a song I did with Jungle is called Goodbye My Love, and I really enjoy that. I also like collaborating with R.C., I love him. We've been friends for years. And then, uh, yeah, funny story. I've known him for ten years, and for a long time, he didn't know that I'm a singer. I never told him. And, um, and then suddenly he saw something. A snippet on Instagram, like, a few years ago. And then he was like, Hold on a second. You're a singer. And then he was like, Hey, you wanna sing on my new album? And I did that and I love it.

Dream Collabs?

I honestly don't have any. I mean, I admire a lot of artists but I truly enjoy making music with my brother. My brother is my producer, Jophna Gold, and I feel like that's my legacy, you know, to do this family project and leave something behind, you know? My brother was always a musician since he was a kid. And I always looked up to him, and he's a big influence but it took a long time for me to understand that we were supposed to work together, you know? And it's been only three years since we started, so it was quick. I feel like nowadays, like siblings, they should do music together. There aren’t many. It's all about timing, you know?


I play a little bit of kind of everything, I would say so. I started out playing the violin for seven years. I play chords and keys and that's how I write my songs. And then I start to learn bass guitar. But it's also not that great. So it's like, yeah, a little here and there, but it's nice enough to perform on stage, you know?

What are some songs that have been stuck in your head right now?

Um, there's this Portuguese artist, but I forgot his name, too. As you can see, I'm not good with names. I love, like, Portuguese music. Um, Spanish music. But I don't know what it is, but I feel connected to the Spanish culture. I don't know what it is. I don't have any relatives or anything like that there. But every time I listen to that music, or if I'm in South America or whatever, I feel very connected. Maybe in my previous life, I was a Latina. (Ayayay!)

Shout outs

Shout out to all the listeners for listening. Check out my new music. You can find me on Instagram @PriyaRaguOfficial and yeah, let's connect. It's going to be my year. I believe I'm going to play a lot of shows. I'm going to open up for Jungle in Europe. I’m probably going to play in India as well this year. So it's all open. But yeah, and a new project is coming out. So a lot of things going on. Thank you for having me.

Thank you Priya Ragu and your management or allowing me the time and opportunity to speak with you during your busy week of SXSW 2022. You were such a cool person and I feel blessed to have interviewed you. Great answers, great music, great person! Much love to you all the way from Austin, Texas <3

Check out more of Priya Ragu’s music here!


Ale M / Luya

DJ Hierba Malita

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