Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

11. Susheela RamanMusic For Crocodies

I have no idea how I found Susheela Raman. This is the only record of hers that I’ve ever heard, and it was when I had just moved to Berklee in 2005, so it had just come out. Like they say, representation means so much in the grander scheme of things; I listened to this record, and I was like, “Wow, this is something. This is giving me a sense of what could be.” You want to hear and see yourself, in a way, as an example of what you may want to do, or what you’re searching to do. And if you just don’t see that, it’s not like you won’t be able to get to where you need to, but it’s harder to imagine something from scratch.

First of all, though, it’s a great record. It’s really bold, and she sounds amazing. Back then I think people weren’t really that used to hearing a South Asian female singer sing as an alto. This record is almost like the Colonial Cousins record in the sense that they were doing a fusion, and she was doing a fusion, and she’s singing in English too. She’s blending stuff, but it’s not cheesy, and it’s not bad, it’s actually really good, you can see that there’s a lot of thought put into it. This was one that definitely inspired me and gave me strength.

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