What are your names?
My name is Shreya (Shray-ah) Preeti (Pree-th-ee). Originally, I wanted my artist name to be just “Shreya,” but there was already an artist with that name on Spotify, so I couldn’t release under just my first name. I ended up going with “Shreya Preeti” because I felt like my middle name (Preeti) was easier to pronounce than my last name.
What is your genre of music?
I would say that the umbrella genre that my music falls under is Pop, but I would describe myself as an Alternative-Pop artist. This past year, I’ve been experimenting with my sound and listening to a lot more Alt Rock, 70’s and 80’s music, Folk, and Soul music, so I’ve been incorporating all of those kinds of sounds into what I create.
Give us a little bio about you.
23-year-old Shreya Preeti (Shreya) is an alternative, Indian-American singer/songwriter based out of Chicago and Minneapolis. With an off-of-center Pop sound, Shreya showcases her expansive range through both memorable and unique melodies and lyrics. Shreya continues to break the mold by incorporating elements of alternative rock and soul into her music, as can be heard in her sophomore EP, Encore, released November 14th, 2018.
What made you go in to music?
I’ve been involved in music all throughout my life. As a child, I took classical Carnatic (South Indian) voice lessons with a family friend. As I progressed through my schooling, I was always a part of the school choirs, and eventually started taking part in musical theatre. I didn’t begin exploring solo singing until I was in college and joined a co-ed a cappella group at The University of Minnesota, called 7Days A Cappella. Being in this group allowed me to explore and grow not only my solo voice, but also my leadership and teamwork skills, which has fundamentally shaped who I am today. My boyfriend is the reason that I went into music as a career. He is not only my emotional and supportive rock, but also my producer, engineer, and mixer! Working with him has allowed me to challenge myself every time I write and perform a song, because he is constantly pushing me to break the mold and be something different. His unconditional support in me pursuing music has been the most important and influential factor in being an artist.
Are you a signed?
I am not currently signed. I am 100% an independent artist in all facets, which is both empowering and challenging.
You released your new EP ‘ Encore’, tell us more about it.
Encore is the result of the past 1.5 years of my life. I really don’t know if I could prouder to be able to call it my own music. There were so many emotions that went into creating this EP, and I honestly feel like those emotions can be heard by anyone listening to the music. Encore is a six-track alternative-pop EP that has undertones of alternative rock, soul, and old-school R&B integrated into it. I wrote three of the songs with two of my very good friends that I met in college, and I wrote both Brand New and Transition alone. All of the instrumentation you hear in the music is from real musicians playing real instruments!
Describe each track in two words.
Brand New: Raw. Big.
They Always Do: Soulful. Vulnerable.
Junkyard: Ear candy!
Transition: Lauryn Hill (can that just be one word? Lol), R&B
Sanctuary: Sexy and surprising
What was the writing process like?
Long and challenging, but 100% worth it! I had written about 60ish songs since the summer of 2017, which was when I released my first EP. The type of music I listen to and my life experiences heavily influence my writing. 2018 was a really hard year for both me and my family, which definitely influenced the things I wanted to write about. For a few songs on Encore, the writing process started with receiving a scratch beat from my producer, and then writing lyrics to it. I tend to have ideas and melodies come to me right away when I listen to a beat; if I can’t think of anything within the first few listens, it unfortunately usually means I can’t ever come up with anything that I love, and have to move on to a new song. I tend to be very shy about my lyrics because of how personally I write to my own experiences, but one of my goals as an artist is to grow in my writing confidence and continue growing my co-writing skills. I co-wrote They Always Do with a good friend of mine, which was an amazing experience for me. Junkyard and Sanctuary were also co-written with another friend via text and FaceTime.
What was the recording process like?
Also long and challenging, but so much fun! I think we re-tracked every song on the EP (multiple times) because we always knew we could perform better. We usually recorded when I came home to Minneapolis during school breaks. I love the feeling of recording music, so this part was definitely my favorite part of the creation process. I tend to still get nervous about what others think of my lyrics, melodies, and vocal quality as I’m recording, but I’m slowly becoming more confident in my abilities as an artist, as well as learning that it’s okay to write some crappy songs and have people tell me they are crappy songs.
What is the message you want listeners to take from the EP?
When people listen to Encore, my hope is that they will be able to feel the real emotions that I am talking about in the songs. I’m proud of my songs not just being about sexual lust (although I love those types of songs and absolutely have songs like that – hello, Sanctuary!). On Encore, I’m talking about insecurities and emotional baggage, feeling stuck during moments of my life as a full-time graduate student on top of being an artist, and the things that my family has gone through in the past year. I hope that people can connect with these messages and find some sort of solace in what I am talking about.
Where can we buy the EP from?
You can purchase the EP from iTunes, Amazon, and Google for $4.14! It is also available for streaming on all streaming platforms.
Do you have any shows coming up or a tour in planning?
I do not have any upcoming shows, but I do have two visuals coming out in January 2018 that are each live performance sessions of me and my band. You can watch the first of the two videos here of us performing Junkyard!
What can we expect in 2019?
In 2019, you can expect to see and hear a lot from me. I recently decided that 2019 is the year where I am going to be constantly releasing music and visuals, first of which you can expect to hear everywhere in a couple months!
Do you have any collaborations coming up with any up coming artists?
I don’t currently have any collaborations in the work with others artists, but I am always eager and down to co-write with other artists and share our talents and resources with each other!
Would you be up for collaborations if other musicians wanted one with you? And who would they have to contact?
Yes! One of my many goals for 2019 is to build a music community of friends and collaborators. Anyone interested in collaborating can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you play any instruments?
I don’t currently play any instruments, but I used to play violin as a child for about 7 years. I was abysmal.
Who are your influences?
My current influences are artists like Charlie Puth, Shawn Mendes, Sabrina Claudio, John Mayer and Ariana Grande. I think that each of these artists have put in the work and exploration to find their unique sounds a musicians, while also still allowing themselves to continue growing and experimenting with new sounds, which is the type of artist I want to be. I also have to mention classics like Whitney Houston, Beyoncé, and Queen!
How do you get inspiration to write songs?
I write about the things I am going through and the things that I hear about from those I care for. As a therapist, I am also inspired by things my clients say, which absolutely influences the types of things I write about in my music. I write about my insecurities as a coping mechanism. For example, I was recently comparing the hell out of myself to another artist – my way to move forward was to write about how I was feeling. Now, that song is going to be the first single I release in 2019!
Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years?
In 5 years, I envision myself living in Los Angeles with my boyfriend (maybe he’ll be my husband in 5 years!), where we are both pursuing music full-time. I see myself being established as an artist at that point, with a team surrounding me that believes in my music whole-heartedly. I also see myself having one or two dogs who will go on walks/runs with me, as well as snuggle up with me as I binge-watch shows on Netflix and Hulu.
When you’re not doing music, what do you do?
I am currently in my last year as a graduate student at The University of Chicago, where I am getting my masters in social work. As a graduate student, I have class on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and then am at my internship on Mondays and Wednesdays as an outpatient mental health therapist. So a lot of my time is currently spent doing homework or working with my clients!
What was the song you listened to most that influenced you to go more in to the music scene?
Back To My Love from Becky Hill was the song I continuously listened to when I was first started writing and recording my first song, called Memory. Ever since then, that song has had a really special place in my heart, and I will always love both it and Becky Hill.
What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
To try to not care about what other people are doing, thinking, or saying. I am an extremely overly analytical person and almost constantly feel like I am comparing myself to other artists. One thing that I have taught myself to say in these moments of comparison is that someone else’s success does not mean that I am failing. I also have the phrase, “their success (does not equal sign) your failure” tattooed on my right forearm, which is really special to me.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians not about the industry and just as an artist?
There’s no need to sound exactly like your favourite artist(s), because that artist already exists! Your sound is unique to you.
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
“Their success does not equal your failure.”
Where in your hometown is a must go to visit?
Minneapolis, Minnesota is full of live music venues! I’d recommend for anyone to go to a live show at the famous First Avenue. Otherwise, we don’t have sales tax on clothing or shoes, so you can always go shopping at the largest indoor shopping mall, The Mall of America.
Your coming off tour;
1/ Where do you go first? It’s a toss up between my memory foam bed to sleep and watch Friends on Netflix, or the shower, because travelling always makes me feel gross, haha.
2/ Who do you see first? My boyfriend! But hopefully he will be with me when I go on tour, since he is such a huge part of my music career.
3/ What do you eat first? If my mom isn’t around to make a delicious Indian meal, I’d probably go to Whole Foods first and get a salad (or pizza, let’s be real).