In Conversation With Mallika Mehta

An Exclusive Interview with Today’s Leading Female Vocalist – Celebrating Talent, Resilience, and the Journey to Success


Mallika, what inspired you to pursue a music career, and how has your journey evolved since your early beginnings?

Music has always been an integral part of my existence. It’s been a significant part of my life, from listening to it, singing along, and eventually creating my tunes. There was never a doubt about my career choice, to be honest. I think it was evident from the beginning that music would be my path. I started playing the keyboard and singing when I was just five years old and enjoyed being on stage ever since. I think I subconsciously always knew that it was my calling. I was around 19 when I wrote and released my first original single, ‘War Solo’. Writing lyrics, adding tunes to them and making them into songs felt so therapeutic that I knew I wanted to keep writing more.

The same year, I got a scholarship for a music program at Berklee College of Music, Boston, and learned a lot about performance, theory, and music as an overall subject. I also got the opportunity to open up to Bollywood maestro Kailash Kher, and I think all these things made me believe that music was what I wanted to pursue as a career.

Since then, I have written, composed and released 10 originals, the last being a record label release under Merchant Records. I have performed at various concerts and festivals across the country and beyond.


Mallika Mehta


Your music has been described as soulful and powerful. Can you share insights into your creative process and how you craft your emotive storytelling through songwriting?

Lyrics have always meant a lot to me as a listener. So, when I started writing songs, I knew my lyrics had to be meaningful and powerful. I believe in telling stories through my music. Stories one can connect with, heal with and feel.

My creative process has been different with each of my songs. I’ve written some of them with a title in mind; some start with a tune, and I fill in the lyrics afterwards. Some of the songs are written and composed at the same time. It honestly depends on how I feel at the time. Most of my creative writing happens at night when I have all the time to myself and, most importantly, when there is zero noise or disturbance. I thoroughly enjoy writing about heartbreak, and it’s always fun.

My 10th single “You Are A Criminal” was more of an imaginative metaphor. I had the best time writing it and had fun with the lyrics, full of metaphorical descriptions throughout the song.

With a diverse repertoire of songs in both English and Hindi, how do you navigate between different languages and cultures to create music that resonates globally?

Ans: Languages have been my strong suit since I was little. I speak fluently in 4 languages and sing in 5. I always wanted to include different styles and languages in my sets. I believe it adds so much flavour and fun to a live performance. I have been speaking English, Hindi, and Gujarati my whole life, so singing in these languages was not complicated for me, but it was extremely fun and exciting.

Punjabi and Spanish come with challenges as I don’t know the pronunciations accurately, but I love working on challenging projects. That’s what keeps me interested. I want to cover many more languages in the coming years, which will help me connect with many more people and cultures.


Being labelled as the “Adele of Mumbai” is quite an accolade. How did you get it? How do you feel about this comparison, and how does it influence your approach to your craft?
Well for starters I don’t really treat it as a comparison, instead I am honoured to have received a title so great. Adele has been an idol for years, and I always look up to her and her music.

I recall a significant moment in 2016 when I shared a cover of Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’ before officially releasing my songs. To my delight, it was featured on Adele’s official website, a truly exhilarating experience. People appreciated my ability to match Adele’s exceptional vocal range, which paved the way for my career.

When I released my first original single, ‘War Solo,’ an international magazine recognized my work and titled the article, “Mallika Mehta: The Next Adele From Mumbai.” This recognition led to many media publications adopting the title “Adele of Mumbai” for me. Today, I am honoured and proud to carry this title as it represents my hard work and dedication to my music. The title is a great feeling but doesn’t influence my music or songwriting, I bring my flavor to my original music.


Mallika Mehta – Spotify


Your recent release, ‘You Are A Criminal,’ has garnered significant attention. Could you tell us about the inspiration behind this song and the message you aimed to convey?

Thank you so much; I genuinely appreciate it. ‘You Are A Criminal’ has been a fun, wholesome, yet intense songwriting experience. A record label release brings in so much validation and is a dream come true for any artist, so this one has been a super special release for me.

‘You Are A Criminal’ is a powerful and emotional ‘Orchestral Pop’ song that takes you through heartbreak and betrayal. The piece explores the darkness within relationships, where love turns into manipulation and innocence is shattered.

‘You Are A Criminal’ is one big metaphor with a different take on heartbreak, the heartbroken and the heartbreaker, the criminal.

In my opinion, heartbreak is big enough a crime. When someone intentionally, cold-heartedly plays games with you, it keeps you second-guessing, makes you question yourself and your sanity, and, above all, breaks your heart. The heart they could have saved from breaking all along, they are a criminal!


As a verified Instagram influencer with a substantial following, how do you leverage social media platforms to connect with your audience and promote your music?

The answer is simple: I post consistently. I try to post videos of me singing candidly at home, I share behind-the-scenes from my shows with my audiences, I creatively introduce segments and series on my channels to keep my audiences entertained, and I don’t only post music. I let them in, into my personal life as well, which I believe builds a genuine connection. I am a human first and then a singer, so there’s naturally a lot more to my life than music.

The fans get to see who I truly am around my friends and family, what I like wearing, watching, eating, and all in all, my social media is a highly organic and real place. The ultimate goal is to build a strong bond and reach a larger audience to whom I can introduce my music.


What does it mean to you to be recognized as one of Today Magazine’s Top 50 inspiring Indian Women to follow in 2023, and how do you hope to inspire others through your music and achievements?

It’s a huge deal; it’s overwhelming. The names on that list are all so big. I look up to most of them, and being a part of the same list as the President of my country is a proud feeling. The most prominent actors, politicians, singers and women from every field are on the same list. It makes me believe I’m doing something right and on the right path. I am genuinely grateful for the honour.

I don’t belong to a musical family. My parents have been incredibly supportive, but I have built this from scratch. I want people to know my journey, where I started, and what I am doing today. I am proud of what I am doing and who I am becoming, and I hope it inspires those starting off, regardless of the field they choose to pursue.


To be featured on the Nasdaq billboard in Times Square, NYC, is a remarkable achievement. How does it feel?

Reflecting on this surreal experience, it took me several months to fully grasp the magnitude of my achievement. This moment fills me with immense pride as I stand among the select few Indian independent artists to be featured on that prestigious billboard. This recognition validates my hard work and highlights the potential of independent artists from India.

It is a source of inspiration and motivation for aspiring musicians like myself, and I am honoured to be a part of this milestone.


Can you share some memorable moments from your performances at prestigious events like TEDx and opening for renowned Bollywood artists such as Kailash Kher and Shankar Ehsaan & Loy?

These experiences hold a special place in my heart as they have contributed significantly to my growth as an artist.

At TEDx, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to connect with a diverse audience and share my thoughts and creativity through my music. The atmosphere was electrifying, and I felt a strong sense of accomplishment after successfully delivering my TED Talk.

This experience pushed me to explore new dimensions of my artistry.

Opening for Kailash Kher and Shankar Ehsaan & Loy was a dream. Backstage energy was palpable, and I could feel the excitement as I prepared for my performance. As I stepped onto the stage, I was overwhelmed by the support and love from the audience. Their enthusiasm and appreciation for my music left a lasting impression on me, motivating me to continue pursuing my passion and striving for excellence in my performances. These memorable moments have enriched my artistic journey and inspired me to reach new heights in my career.


Mallika Mehta
Your educational background includes prestigious institutions like Berklee College of Music, Harvard University, NYU, and Kellogg University. How have these experiences shaped your musical career and artistic vision?

My educational journey through the prestigious Berklee College of Music, Harvard University, NYU, and Kellogg University has profoundly shaped my musical career and artistic vision. Berklee honed my vocal skills and deepened my musical understanding.
I got to collaborate with people from different cultures and countries, which fostered a global sensibility in my work.

Harvard broadened my intellectual horizons, enriching my marketing skills. NYU exposed me to many songwriting techniques and musical styles, and I also wrote and released an original ‘Bling & Pictures’ that I had worked on while studying there. Kellogg instilled in me the importance of marketing, innovation and entrepreneurship.

This amalgamation of experiences across such varied institutions has refined my artistic expression and equipped me with the tools to thrive as both a musician and a savvy businesswoman.


With your extensive experience in the music industry, what advice would you offer to aspiring singers, songwriters, and performers, particularly women looking to make their mark in the industry?

Ans: My advice to those pursuing a career or entering the music industry is to wholeheartedly engage in singing, writing, playing, composing, or performing out of true love for music. Consistent practice is crucial, as it is the main path to accomplishing your goals. Your passion and dedication will be the driving force behind your success in this field. To excel, you must embody an unwavering commitment to your art.

Explore different avenues and continue learning, as there is always more to discover in both the practical and theoretical aspects of music. I have spent countless hours practising until my voice couldn’t take it. I’ve listened to songs on repeat for hours and sung them over and over again tirelessly, but that’s the kind of music enthusiast I strive to be.


What are your aspirations and goals for the future of your music career, and are there any upcoming projects or collaborations that you’re excited about?

My ultimate goal is to write and release more and more music with each passing year. I want to tap into different singing styles and songwriting and work with other languages, moods and genres. I like collaborating with artists and producers to bring new flavours and techniques. I also want to perform at various venues all across the globe. Live singing is what keeps me alive.

I have recently started a series on my Instagram Channel called ‘Mallika’s Rewrites’. It’s a fun new series that will include 52 videos and is a yearlong project where I will rewrite the lyrics of an old song with a new, fresh perspective or in a different language.

All in all, there is a lot in store for my fans and audiences.