Karishma Deo, an Indo-Canadian singer-songwriter with more than 85,000 followers on TikTok, has captured many hearts through her soulful renditions of classic Bollywood songs as well as mashups of Hindi and English songs. The artist will perform as part of the 5X Fest Blockparty at the Beaumont Studios, which runs from Sept. 17–19.
“[The festival] is iconic because it promotes South Asian music and supports both established and upcoming artists,” says Deo.
Her musical journey
As a child, Deo recalls that she was terribly shy, but music was the one thing that got her to come out of her shell. Her parents put her in various music classes so she could be more involved and outgoing in her community, which Deo feels was the biggest blessing in her life, as she is now an outgoing, confident performer and able to express herself through music.
“My musical journey [and] experiences made me realize that music is where I find the most happiness and peace,” she says.
Deo is an emerging artist on both the North American and South Asian music scenes. She has performed with Canadian singer-songwriter Daniel Caesar at the 2018 Junos and with India’s top Bollywood singers Neha Kakkar, Sunidhi Chauhan, Atif Aslam and Sonu Nigam during their North American tours.
Although Deo has spent a lot of time working and collaborating with other artists, she still finds time to create her own original music. So far, she has produced and released two original songs with accompanying music videos. She notes that these successes did not come without challenges, so new artists just starting out need not be disheartened.
Deo’s advice for any young artist: “Follow your dreams and work hard at it.”
The artist notes that although Western and Indian music are different, they are both very rich and she can express herself in both languages – English and Hindi – and forms. Her classical Indian music training combined with her Western vocal training has allowed her to create a bridge between her two cultures, creating music is at the intersection of these two identities. This is something she feels many Indo-Canadians can relate to. For example, her song Jhumo to the Rhythm uses both English and Hindi lyrics.
Deo feels lucky to be surrounded by a supportive community of artists, where she can blend her Indian and Western cultures. She says social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok are drivers of change and they provide opportunities for minority artists to have a voice and to collaborate.
“I believe that these opportunities can help to combat discrimination against artists of different ethnic backgrounds and cultures,” she says.
Deo says these sites are the grounds of cross-cultural music and new genres are constantly being formed. There are also clear ethical boundaries that have been set up due to the rise in popularity of social media. For example, the audience and the artist have ways of preventing discrimination on their platforms like blocking, reporting and turning comments off. Artists do not need to be subjected to cruel behavior and the platforms are in total agreement as seen through their community standards.
Deo is very excited to perform at 5X this year, and she is thankful for events focused on elevating South Asian culture.
“It is such an honour to be part of the lineup of amazing artists that are performing… and I am so stoked about it,” she says.
For more information, please visit www.5xfest.com