For an independent artist it is helpful to be multidisciplinary- Monica Dogra

Founded by Ankur Jain and propelled by investors like Snapdeal, Zomato and Sequoia Capital, Indian craft beer Bira 91 has made noticeable room to stretch in the beer world. The Rs 40 crore it raised in series A of funding is being deployed towards an aggresive marketing campaign based on innovation and engagement. The brand recently launched a live event property 'Bira 91 Live' in Delhi as an embodiment of all things musically experiential. Scroll below for excerpts from our chat with headlining act- Monica Dogra!


1. You are among the more accomplished independent artists in the country. What is it like to be alive right now?

Feels pretty good to be alive! Lord knows there are moments when it doesn't. Thank you for saying that I am among the more accomplished. That feels pretty good too.

2. Tell us about your love for music and your professional journey.

I've always felt that music connected me to something deeper - something greater. I think that is why I've always pursued it for as long as I can remember really. My professional journey started very young. I got my first gig when I was 16 years old singing at Carnegie Hall. I acted in my first film when I was 23 years old. I always knew what I wanted to do, and I just kept walking the path of making it happen, no matter how much disappointment, no matter how many people told me no.

3. How has the scene changed over the years, considering you have lived then and now?

When I got started in India in 2007, there really wasn't too much of a scene. Karaoke was popular. Metal was popular. Shaa'ir and func was one of the first Indian Indie bands to "make it big". Whatever that means. We were a part of many firsts. The first music festivals, the first live music venues, the first Indie Labels. I think things have definitely grown, but we are still fighting an uphill battle. Non-Bollywood artists must create the audiences they wish to cater to....STILL. Things are slowly changing yes, but there is still quite a lot to be done.

4. Which platforms according to you are creating impact for the community of independent artists?

I think music festivals, blogs like "The Wild City', HomeGrown, shows like "The Stage", "The Dewarists", management companies really stepping up their games like, KRUNK, MIXTAPE - key brands investing in live music, the synergy between fashion, music, and film, everything creates an impact. Yesterday I just performed for 50 designers on behalf of Vogue at Amazon India Fashion Week. That's why in my opinion, to really make a strong mark as an independent, it is REALLY helpful to be multidisciplinary.

5. Which are some of your most fav music events in the country?

Magnetic Fields Festival is really beautiful. I also really love the smaller more remote festivals like Ziro, Indie Earth.

6. What are the challenges Indie music artists face and what is the way forward?

I think the biggest challenge is that Indie artists are waiting for something to happen to lift off their music - and there really isn't an infrastructure in our industry for that sort of expectation. Indie artists need to treat themselves like their own small business, and just go about the journey of being a well oiled machine. No one and nothing is going to happen to you - YOU have to happen to YOURSELF.

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monica dogra Indie bira beer Bira91

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