Ananya Birla’s new single, “Everybody’s Lost,” is a mellow, hedonistic bop for uncertain times.
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The song—featured below with an accompanying video—is all about letting loose, and it shows Ananya doing just that. “No one really knows what’s going on,” she sings in one of the track’s standout lines, “So we just gonna do what feels good.”
“Everybody’s Lost” is a smooth, sensual follow-up to the Los Angeles-via-Mumbai pop artist’s anthemic “Let There Be Love,” which arrived back in July. “It’s a very relaxed track,” Ananya tells American Songwriter of “Everybody’s Lost,” which pairs her velvety vocals with a minimal electronic beat. “It basically talks about how we’re all lost in our own ways and you’re not alone.”
We caught up with Ananya over email about her new single and video, writing 200+ songs during the pandemic, and her love of Halsey. Check out the full interview and listen to “Everybody’s Lost” below.
American Songwriter: Tell us about your new single, “Everybody’s Lost.” What’s the story or message behind the track and video?
Ananya Birla: “Everybody’s Lost” is a song that I wrote about eight months ago. It’s a very relaxed track. It basically talks about how we’re all lost in our own ways and you’re not alone. The music video was super fun to shoot. It happened during the pandemic, so everyone was masked while we were shooting. Even though there’s a certain story behind the music video, it’s quite abstract… I think we’ve been able to find that balance which makes it super cool. I also I’m becoming more me as an artist and, in the song, hopefully people will actually be able to see me evolving. The song is super close to my heart.
What do you hope listeners take away from it?
I think the fans that I have will, hopefully, see me evolving as an artist and appreciate that. I hope they’ll enjoy this new sound of mine. For new listeners, I hope they understand my message which is that we’re all in the same boat and it’s okay to let your hair down sometimes and just have a good time without worrying about life.
Did you work with any collaborators to bring “Everybody’s Lost” to life?
The producer of the song is Black Summer, he’s seventeen years old and lives in Australia. I actually met him with my vocal producer in Tarzana [in] LA. It was really cool how the song came together. He happened to be in LA, so we got together in the studio and he made a couple of beats for me. For some reason, this one really stood out to me and so we started writing. It came together really beautifully, and, after that, he helped me take the song to the next level. Working with him was really amazing.
For the video, I worked with a director called Martin Landgreve and he really understood my style. When I’m on a music video shoot, I like going into character and doing my own thing rather than having lots of choreography to follow. I really enjoy going through different characters and feeling those characters. I think Martin really allowed me to do that and pushed me to my potential.
You said in another interview that “Music was my best friend growing up through good times and bad – it made me feel connected, that there was someone out there who was going through the same thing I was.” What are some songs that have given you that sense of connection over the last few months?
“Be Kind” by Halsey is a song that I’ve been listening to on repeat. Personally, I have a tendency to take out my frustration and anger on the people I love the most. I guess that’s human nature, but the song has really helped me realize that in those moments I need to be kinder to the people closest to me. That song is something that makes me feel understood. Beyond that, I’d say some of Eminem’s older songs, like “Mockingbird” which I’ve been listening to on repeat, but Halsey’s “Be Kind” is a song I’ve really been connecting with. It made me look into myself like no other song has recently.
“Let There Be Love,” my first U.S. single, has given me that feeling of connection as well because the song is what I really stand for. Especially during this pandemic, I think that it helped bring me and my fans closer together. “Let There Be Love” did really well in Mexico, Japan, and America — so thank you so much to listeners there — but what was really special is the Hindi remix we just released. In less than four days, it had over 11 million views and it has been getting a lot of love. I’ve been getting some really lovely messages from all over, whether its emails, DMs, comments… It was really heartwarming to see that people really connected with that song because I think of it as part of me.
Have you been writing or recording any new music during the pandemic? What has that process looked like?
I have written tons of songs during the pandemic. I have a folder on my laptop called “project passion.” Basically, I think what I meant by that is that I was just making these songs without having the pressure of releasing any of them. I was just doing it out of passion. It really took me back to the days where I would just write music only for the love of writing music. I’ve written and come up with the concept for about 200 songs during the pandemic — some are just a couple of verses and some are just a chorus, so they’re not all complete, but I have that many stories down on paper.
I worked with a couple of up-and-coming producers on Zoom who live in LA. I’d bring the concept to them by letting them know what I wanted to write about, and they would help me pick out beats that they thought went with the song. They’d sent the beats over Zoom, then we’d put everything together on Zoom with either a guitar or piano, and I would put my vocals down in my booth by myself and then send those over Zoom. It was all done remotely, so it was this really weird but cool collaboration that was done almost entirely by Zoom or FaceTime. I’m really thankful that the industry has been able to adjust as staying creative is the only way for me personally to have some strength and move forward.
Is there anything else you want to share about your new single or what’s next for you?
“Everybody’s Lost” is the sound that I want to pursue. Even though it’s still pop, it’s a little bit left of pop, but I think people will have a better idea of what I mean by that when they listen to the song. It’s minimal, even though there’s quite a bit going on. It’s subtle and sexy. What I’m really looking forward to, though, is people being able to see me evolving as an artist and moving in a slightly new direction to what they may be familiar with. It’s a side that no one has ever seen before. I let my guard down and worked on my self-confidence. I think I’ve grown as an artist and come into myself, so hopefully people will be able to hear and see someone that is as unapologetic as I feel.
“Everybody’s Lost” is out now.