Third culture kid Dana Naidu takes a jab at life's kicks a la karate-do while singing her songs

Anyone who has a father who owns a dojo—a Japanese place for immersive meditation—can learn more than just the traditional karate-do: The ability to deflect life's kicks or absorb them head-on.

When the pandemic turned the world upside down, third-dan black belter Dana Naidu—known by her students as Sensei—swerved the blow of the lockdown like a feather and took the first bold step in pursuing her passion for music. "I’ve always known that music would be a huge part of my life. I just didn’t know how or when. But I knew," the Dubai-based Tamil-Russian (#hybridbaby) singer-songwriter shares with Musivv. 

What is it outside of music that you enjoy most?

Haha! I love this question because I never have one answer! I’m creative! Anything that involves me using my creative brain fuels me! Designing, styling, sketching, and editorial makeup! Digital art, tattooing, literally DIY anything, crocheting and knitting, shoutout Sqwigglies, a brand that I’m working on! Basically, if I can get my hands dirty, count me in! There's something about the process of building something from scratch and then physically holding that finished piece that’s ADDICTING!! (emphasis not ours)

Tell us about the first single you released. What was it about? What was the creative process like?

It's called “609”. I wrote it with Edenojie. it's about miscommunication and how the only solution is being open and honest. That was the main idea. I’ll leave the rest to your interpretation. Check it out, it's on every major streaming platform out there. We wrote it in one evening. It was the fastest session I’ve ever had, we were so in the zone! Words kept flowing, we recorded a million different melodies until we found the one, It’s like we shut the world out and met each other on the same wavelength. It's called 609 because that’s the apartment we were in when we wrote it. It belonged to a friend who really believed in us. We thought that was the perfect title. Whenever I think about the process, I can picture a silhouette of Edenojie and me against the balcony, walking in circles around our friend's coffee table tryna create this record. A pretty memory. Something I’ll keep with me forever.

If you have the power to change one thing in the world, what would it be and why?

Let women have autonomy over their body and their choices. Why? human rights. #mahsaamini 

Do you believe that fashion and music are inseparable?

Ooo good question!! In a way, yes, cause both are expression arts! It’s how we showcase individuality, no? Music and fashion have influenced each other like crazy through the years. I’m constantly finding ways to express myself through my style. To incorporate pieces of my culture. To be different. I’m rebellious and aggressive with my fashion but soft when it comes to my music. I’m not gonna put myself in that box though! Things change. If I’ve learned anything about myself, it’s that Dana is an ever-evolving butterfly. I welcome change. I welcome growth. 

Best advice you received from someone?

Treat people the way you wanna be treated. I’m only where I am right now because of the people around me. I’m fortunate to have met them at the right place and time in my life. Edenojie, my manager Cristina, my band, Tac. They’ve taught me so much and continue to teach me, I’m truly grateful. 

Special thanks to: Cristina, Cre8tive Entertainment

HOMEGROWN is musivv’s segment dedicated to featuring UAE-based artists. Features under this segment are eligible for a nomination under this category in the Musivv Awards’ annual recognition.

October 24, 2022

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