Star Spot with Heerraa, International Singer/Songwriter
A Conversation with Heerraa, the Rising Star on Music, Inspiration, and Winning Big
Welcome to this episode of Star Spot! I’m Merry, and in this series, I interview InterContinental Music Awards winners and insiders, bringing you exclusive insights into the music industry. Today, I’m thrilled to have with me Heerraa, our 2022 Icon award winner!
Heerraa, the InterContinental Music Awards First ICon award winner. As an international singer-songwriter and performer, Heerraa is making a significant impact on the world with her music. Her talent extends beyond just singing, as she is also a skilled producer and composer, having produced a funk-soul track titled “Across the Universe” for Harvard Undergraduate Songwriter Collective’s 2022 album. In addition, Heerraa has collaborated with US award-winning singer-songwriter, Autumn Helene, showcasing her versatility as an artist.
Heerraa’s dedication to making a positive impact on society extends beyond music. She is also the co-founder of Ascendance, an international youth organization that has impacted 35,000 students across 28 countries. Her efforts in the field of social and humanitarian work have been recognized with the prestigious Diana Award (UK).
We sat down with Heerraa to learn more about her journey and insights as a musician. In this interview, she shares her experience in the music competition and contest scene, as well as her approach to creating impactful music. Join us as we delve deeper into the mind of this talented artist.
Let’s dive right into the interview summary and tap into Heerraa’s fascinating journey and insights as a musician.. The full interview is available on Instagram – click here to check it out.
Can you introduce yourself briefly?
Hi there! I’m Heerraa and I’m an international singer, songwriter, and performer. My mission is to change the world with music. I’m also an undergraduate student at Harvard University and one of the co-founders of My Sentence, which is an international youth movement that has worked with 35,000 students from 28 countries. I’ve been passionate about music since I was five years old and it has been my dream ever since. With the help of social business incubator, ET Ideas, I’ve been able to turn that dream into a reality. My music journey has been supported by many people, including the Intercontinental Music Awards, and I’m thrilled to have received the Icon Award from them this year.
How do you balance your music career and studying at Harvard?
Balancing my music career and studies at Harvard can be challenging, especially during weeks like finals week. However, one thing that helps me is having a support system. I have people I can rely on when I need help, such as when I need assistance with sending out emails or completing assignments. It’s all about supporting each other. In addition, I try to manage my time effectively and prioritize my responsibilities. It’s all about finding a balance that works for me. I’m grateful for the opportunity to pursue both my music career and studies at Harvard, and I’m determined to make it work.
Can you tell us more about the international youth organization you co-founded?
I had a pipe dream about becoming a singer at the age of five, which was fueled by watching Hannah Montana on screen. However, as I entered high school, I started taking music seriously and realized that it was not as easy as it seemed. But I persevered, and as I met people and gained experiences, I realized that music has the power to positively impact people’s lives.
My lyrics discuss everyday issues like insecurities, self-doubt, and staying busy to avoid confronting difficult emotions. Through catchy pop songs, I hope to empower and uplift my listeners.
What inspires you to make music? What is the source of your inspiration?
One of the main reasons I write songs is to capture the lessons I am going through. I want to be able to ground myself and remember the important things in life. For example, one of my songs called “Attention Island” was inspired by my mentors reminding me that the spotlight is not the ultimate goal.
It’s about being happy and positively impacting people along the way. I wrote a fictional story about a beautiful paradise island where people are living their best lives but are actually empty inside if they’re not rooted in their own happiness. My songs discuss different themes and experiences, and some are also inspired by things that inspire me.
What is your creative process like? Do you start with lyrics or melody?
My creative process is a simultaneous process of writing the lyrics and melody while keeping the end goal in mind. Each song has a specific point or message that I’m trying to convey to the audience. For example, when I wrote “Chasing Daylight,” I wanted to convey the message of holding on to hope during difficult times. The song progresses from feeling sad to regaining hope, which is what I wanted to impact the audience. While I’ve written over 60 complete songs and a bunch of unfinished ones in high school, as I’ve grown more established as an artist, I’ve learned to stick to what I’m good at and put aside my self-doubts.
Do you ever go back to unfinished songs and try to complete them?
Yes, I do. Sometimes there is one song that I started when I was 15, and up until today, the melody still comes back to my mind and haunts me, so I need to finish that song. Other times, I look back at an unfinished song and think, “I have to finish it.” One song, in particular, talks about trying to be perfect. I think a lot of times when you’re trying to be perfect, you don’t show your real self, or you put too much pressure on yourself, and then you just can’t take it anymore.
This song has been haunting me for seven years, and I need to finish it. Hopefully, it will get released, and the melody will be as clear as the day the idea came to me. Sometimes, it takes time to work on an idea, and you shouldn’t rush it. You need to let it simmer for a while and then go back to it. Suddenly, you may realize that it’s great, and maybe it will become a best-seller.
How did you hear about the InterContinental Music Awards?
It’s actually a funny story. I was looking for places to submit my song and submitted it to the InterContinental Music Awards. However, I forgot about it after submitting it for a few things. Later on, I saw someone post on Facebook about being a semi-finalist and congratulated them, not realizing that I had also submitted my song to the same awards. It wasn’t until I checked my email and saw the announcement that I realized I was a semi-finalist too. It was a surreal moment to watch someone else get excited about the awards and then realize I was also a part of it.
When the award show was happening in July, I was determined to attend even though it was at 3am where I live. I had a meeting scheduled for the same time, but I told my team that I would be disappearing for a bit to attend the awards. I even won Best in North America for pop and my team was the first to know about it since they were the only ones awake in my household at the time. It was a really heartwarming experience to be surprised each step of the way and to have my team share in my excitement.
How was your experience with the Intercontinental Music Awards and what was your reaction when you found out you were the first winner of the ICon Awards?
My experience with the ICMA was incredible. When I found out that I was the first winner of the ICon Awards, I was in shock for a day. I had just received Best in North America for my song “Feel Alive,” and I thought that was the peak of my achievement. But then the announcement came, and I was completely taken aback. My whole household was in disbelief, and we were internally screaming with joy.
The InterContinental Music Awards opened up a whole new world for me in terms of the music industry. I learned so much from the judges, mentors, and founders of the organization, including the DIY music school, which taught me about the various aspects of being a professional artist, from sync placement to marketing my brand. I realized there was so much more I could do beyond just songwriting and producing music.
Overall, my experience with the ICMA was enriching, and I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t submitted yet. Even now, I continue to learn from the best in the industry and strive towards creating impactful music.
What challenges have you faced in your music career?
One of the biggest challenges I faced was insecurity in producing my own music. I didn’t have any formal music production training, and my songs didn’t sound like radio songs. But I found the right people to guide me, and I gained confidence in my music production abilities by taking a techno musicology class at Harvard.
Understanding and confidence in my abilities helped me produce songs for the Harvard Songwriters Club, soundtracks for a documentary, and even a conference theme song. So, addressing my insecurities was essential in overcoming this challenge.
What has been the best advice you have received regarding your music career?
I’ve never been in the position to give advice because I’m always learning, but one thing that has worked for me is learning how to manage my emotions. As a creative, I have a lot of emotions, and I used to get emotionally affected by things like sad news for days, which affected my work.
But I learned to channel my emotions into my work and positively instill something in someone. For example, instead of using my emotions to worry about whether people like my song, I start focusing on how I can get more people to listen to it and inspire them. This positive mindset fuels my drive and excitement about the bigger things I can do in my career.
What are you working on right now? Any songs or albums?
This year has been phenomenal for me as I got to release 10 songs which is a tremendous leap in my career. Last year, I only got to release two songs. It’s amazing to know that my music is positively impacting people’s lives. I receive messages from people telling me that my song “Falling” helped them overcome their fear of communication and judgment from their loved ones.
I am excited to announce that there are a few projects in the pipeline, including a collaboration that hopefully will come out in the middle of next year. Also, I’m working on a lot of production stuff. So stay tuned for the announcements regarding all the songs that are about to come out.
Can you share any last words with our viewers?
First and foremost, I want to express my gratitude to everyone who has supported me throughout my career. Whether you’ve been streaming my music or supporting me on Patreon, I truly appreciate your faith in me. Speaking of my music, I’m currently working on a soundtrack for a documentary called Wanted: A Series of Shades of Life, which will premiere in January. It’s the first time I’m scoring and composing purely instrumental music, and I’m loving the cinematic vibes of it.
If you want to listen to my music, you can find me on my official website, “h-e-e-r-r-a-a,” or on Spotify. And if you have the means and are able to, please consider checking out my Patreon page at patreon.com. I firmly believe that collectively, we can make an impact, and even a small pledge of a dollar or two a month can make a big difference in people’s lives, especially mine. So thank you in advance for your support.
Heerraa’s Contact Info:
- Website: https://heerraa.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/HeerraaOfficial/
- Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/00w754f5rPht5LTVc45U4w
Click here to watch the full interview on Instagram
InterContinental Music Awards Team