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'This is me telling you I am Tamil' - Eelam Tamil musician Pritt on music and identity

At a recent gig in London, ‘Cinnamon and Spice’, Pritt, an Eelam Tamil singer, performed alongside four female South Asian artists. Aligning with Pritt’s passions, the event aimed to celebrate underrepresented South Asian female talent and create a platform to share their music. As a part of BBC Asian Network Future Sounds in 2021, Pritt uses her platform to celebrate Tamil music and encourage artists in the UK and worldwide, particularly supporting underrepresented musicians.

Chatting to Tamil Guardian at the ‘Cinnamon and Spice’ event, Pritt explained the struggles Tamil artists like her face in the music industry. "Especially in the music industry with the lack of representation, people kept grouping me into black or Indian," she says.

"They would never give me my own identity. I shouldn’t have to ask for the bare minimum, this is me telling you I am Tamil."

Drawing on her roots as a Tamil girl from South London, Pritt’s sound is a blend of East and West, incorporating her Carnatic training and love for R&B music. Pritt is confident and proud of her identity as a Tamil woman, which she portrays clearly through her music. Her most popular piece is a Tamil Cover, ‘Unakkul Naane’, which has reached over 1 million streams and her most recent single, ‘You Love’, takes inspiration from popular Tamil song ‘Ponmagal Vandhal’ from the film ‘Azhagiya Tamil Magan’. 

Using her own experiences, Pritt creates relatable messages for other Tamil girls in her music, particularly in her single ‘Identity’, which was released in 2020.

The lyrics in this song explore the intense expectations that are often pushed onto Tamil girls, from colourism, ‘I don’t need to bleach my skin, soaking in the melanin,’ to pressures in marriage, ‘I need to find a husband, no one wants a girl who's had multiple ex boyfriends.’ Pritt’s message has resonated with young Tamil women across the globe who relate to having harder expectations than their male counterparts.


Pritt explained the thought process behind this single, saying ‘"t was my sister’s GCSEs results day when I wrote it, and all these aunties were calling that we haven’t spoken to for 5+ years and my sister was crying from the level of pressure and expectations. She was having an identity crisis, so I put all my pent-up anger put into a song."

"Next thing I know, loads of Tamil girls were messaging me saying thank you so much!"

As an Eelam Tamil woman going into an unconventional career path, Pritt had to face different obstacles compared to artists from other backgrounds and genders. Pritt told Tamil Guardian, "Compared to my friends who have people in their families or friendship groups who do music or something in the creative field, it’s harder to explain to your Tamil parents who don’t believe passion is good enough to be a drive to start something."

Despite having to work harder for her parent’s support, Pritt persisted in proving that her passion for music is not only a hobby but a successful career path. She says "I had to show my parents my passion for this via actions".

"For example, doing a programme with the Mayor of London, the NEXXT STEP programme alongside BBC 1Xtra presenter Sian Anderson in 2018 is something that’s a big thing for them in their world." Now, her successes mean a lot to her parents. Her father was even brought to tears when Pritt was given the opportunity to interview the popular Kollywood actor ‘Dhanush’ for the BBC Asian Network about acting in the Hollywood movie ‘The Gray Man.’

When asked about her future, Pritt said "new music, but I’m not putting myself in a box definitely will continue merging South Asian and Eastern vibes. Stay posted!"

Photographs courtesy of Pritt.

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