When Barack Obama announced he would be running for President in 2007, Canada-raised, India-born Mira Veda admits she was not instantly impressed. Little did she know it would be the President’s encouraging words during one fateful meeting just years later that would define the direction of one of the most important albums of her musical career.
“A friend of mine who had raised money for Barack’s campaign introduced us when he came to San Francisco and I stood there unimpressed and unsure of what this man was about,” recalls Mira, who relocated to San Francisco 10 years ago, adding that she didn’t know much about Barack because she was backing Hillary Clinton at the time. “One of the first things he said to me was, ‘We are one.’ I thought, ‘Wow, that’s the sentiment I’ve always had -- we are all connected by an invisible thread’.”
It’s the same message Mira hopes to convey with her upcoming sophomore album, “In Love Again,” to be released on October 10, 2010 independently -- “to understand diversity, that we are one no matter what,” the 30-something year old singer/songwriter says.
To do so, Mira is taking the sound of “In Love Again” a step further from her 2003 debut, “Infinite Love” -- which she describes as a soulful R&B album -- by infusing the Rhythm and Blues sound with traditional and modern Indian influences.
“On my first album, I didn’t explore as much -- I really didn’t create that fusion between the worlds. But on this new album, I feel like I have totally let loose in terms of exploring myself as an artist and going places I was too shy to go to on my first album,” says Mira.
To help achieve this sound, Mira’s tapped on producers/songwriters Carvin Haggins and Ivan Barias from Karma Productions (Jill Scott, Will Smith, Jazmine Sullivan); Paula Gallitano (Dr. Dre, Lalah Hathaway, LL Cool J), Logan James, formerly from "American Idol" fame; Karsh Kale and Gaurav Raina, who she recorded with in her native India; and Mixman Shawn, an Indian Punjabi rapper and producer.
Not to overwhelm listeners, the first single off “In Love Again,” set to be released on July 30th, is a more standard R&B track titled “Captivated.” Once she has her fans’ attention, Mira hopes to then release second single “Aap Jaisa Koi,” which finds her singing in both English and Hindi. "If I can get people’s attention with the first single, which they’ll be able to understand, it’ll be easier for them to understand the next thing," she says. "It's the same tactic labels used when releasing albums. But now with the industry being such a singles market, one doesn’t really have to go that far."
Combining two generally foreign genres of music may seem risky for most, but Mira knows all about taking chances. Born to a strict, religious Indian family, Mira, who’d gotten her University degree with honors and had planned on one day going into teaching, started taking mainstream music seriously only ten years ago, after taking a vocal class for fun. “Everyone in the room responded in such a way, it finally clicked that I could do this,” remembers Mira.
Mira then moved to San Francisco, where she was introduced to the Recording Academy by producer/singer/songwriter and friend Larry Batiste. Within the Recording Academy as well as other organizations, she met writers, singers and producers, and began writing music professionally. “I taught myself how to write music and before I knew it, I had enough songs to create an album -- so I did,” she says about how “Infinite Love” came about.
In 2008, she appeared on Deepak Chopra’s “‘Gift of Love” album as a vocalist alongside actress Lisa Bonet; other heavy hitters on the album are Antonio Banderas and Angelica Houston. In between, Mira wrote guest spots for Terry Lewis, for legendary group Kool & The Gang and guest featured on a non-profit album titled “Oneness,” which promotes racial unity and lead her to perform before the late Michael Jackson at his Neverland Ranch.
Additionally, after sharing her Barack Obama story with friend and musical director of "Sounds of Blackness," Gary Hines, Mira inspired a song on his most recent album, “The Third Gift,” for which she recorded vocals for the track.
It's been a year since Barack Obama won the Presidential election and became the first Black President in the history of the United States, and Mira continues spreading their word -- through music that meshes together her Indian roots and her passion for R&B/soul. “Everything and everyone is one,” she says, “and I hope my music is just another way of connecting all of us,” one song at a time.