Paravi Das, 20, has skyrocketed to TikTok fame by spreading positivity and posting song covers with her rich, unique tone. She's gained over 2.4 million followers on the app, and even officially released a cover of Børns' single "Electric Love" across streaming platforms. Photo courtesy of Paravi Das.
This is the first installment of exclusive Q+As with our Shifter Fest Vol. III performers. Be sure to check out their special performances on our IGTV channel!
Logging into the Zoom call just a couple of minutes before 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time on April 15, Paravi Das turned on her camera with the brightest smile and an ever-positive attitude. Her dark hair was peacefully resting over her shoulders while her nose ring glimmered from the sunlight shining through her window. She sat in front of her bookshelf full of knick-knacks and trinkets, with splashes of pink adorning the items behind her. Her radiant energy brought ease and relaxed rapport to the conversation, allowing the interaction to flow naturally.
Das, a newly-minted 20-year-old, has quickly gained a strong following on multiple social media platforms, but specifically TikTok, where she has recently gone über viral with her trend, “I hate all men, but…” She has released three full covers on music streaming platforms, including “Falling,” “Electric Love” and “Godspeed.” The latter song has been included in Apple Music’s “Day One” editorial playlist where they highlight up-and-coming artists.
With that, Shifter Mag is pleased to introduce a Desi artist that will eventually end up on Billboard’s Hot 100, Paravi Das!
Shifter Mag: Where did your love for music first start? What fuels your musical fire?
Paravi Das: I grew up in a very musical family, so I've been singing since I was like three years old and, um, my parents are from India, so like we have a lot of festivals and like, like, you know, cultural events that we would perform at growing up. So it kind of just started from the day I was born. I didn't have an option.
SM: You're from Virginia, right? How has that background affected your musical style and where you fit into the world today?
PD: I'm very thankful for my time in Virginia, but I do know that this is not where I feel most creative or free to like, you know, be myself in that way. I'm very grateful for my high school choir and theater programs and like the way that that was structured. I wish that there was more of it, but I'm like, it made me who I am today. So I'm very grateful for where I came from.
SM: You're two years into your journey at the University of California - Los Angeles. How has that been and has it affected your music style?
PD: UCLA is literally my happy place. Like, it's everything that I've ever wanted. I have met the most wonderful human beings. I have the most wonderful professors, classes, like everything about it is just, it's home. I just love it so much.
I studied musical theater there, so I've done, like, all those singing classes and all those types of things. But ironically enough, I think it helped me find my pop voice more just because we would have jam sessions every weekend with all my friends. Like, we'd go to one of my friend's dorms and just sit there and sing a bunch of pop songs and stuff like that. And I don’t know, just like doing that around people kind of helped me find out who I wanted to be in that realm.
SM: You've recently skyrocketed to TikTok fame, but I wanted to get a take on your initial reaction to your "I hate all men, but..." trend. What was that like for you?
PD: I couldn't believe it, like, literally, I woke up and I looked at my phone and I was like, “There's a glitch. There's something wrong with my TikTok, I gotta restart it.” Like, I still can't believe it. It doesn't feel real because obviously, I'm cooped up in my house. Like it just feels like a regular day, you know, but it's not. Things have changed and I don't know. I'm just so blessed. I'm so grateful, but it doesn't feel real.
SM: What is something that you would want to tell your younger self? What is something that you wish you knew then that you know now?
PD: I think it's… if you pay attention, it's a little hint towards something [down the line]. I don't know, but I would say it gets better.
SM: You have three full covers on Spotify and other music platforms out right now — “Falling”, “Godspeed” and “Electric Love.” How has that changed your life?
PD: Oh my God. I can't even put it into words. Like, I've been singing my entire life. I've been posting covers my entire life, but that was my first time putting anything on streaming platforms. And I was so scared that it was just going to be like... nobody's going to listen. I'm going to have one stream. But I was like, there's room to grow. One is more than zero. And I was trying to stay positive about it. Then like a week later, I'm just like, that’s a lot more than one!
SM: I've noticed on every one of your TikToks, you post a little blurb saying "Thank you for being here" or something to that extent, which is amazing. Why is that something you do?
PD: I think from a young age, I just knew that obviously, everybody goes through stuff like that. That's life, you get knocked down a bunch, but from a young age, I knew that whatever I did with my life, I wanted to make a difference and try to make one person smile at something like that; just do my part to make the world a little bit happier. I think once I started gaining some friends on TikTok and things like that, I really realized that I had this opportunity to really make that immediate change. Not just like further down the line. And I comment that because sometimes, I'll be scrolling through social media, I'll be just doing my thing, and then I'll see something that resonates with me just out of the blue.
I don't know, I feel like putting that on every single one of my posts. It can either become a comfort for people who like my page and stay on there, but it can also be that one thing that somebody needed to see that day just randomly on their For You Page. I feel like it's something that we need to be saying more, like thank you for just existing. Not for doing anything, not for being productive, not for changing the world. Thank you for just being here and yeah, I think that's just something that I want to champion throughout my career, hopefully.
SM: What is one song that's just been on your mind lately?
PD: It's always on my mind: “Marry You” by Bruno Mars. It's my favorite song, like it made me believe in love again, like it's just, if I am not proposed to, with a flash mob and that song playing in the background, I don't want it.
SM: What are three artists that you've always looked up to and why?
PD: Adele, just because she's Adele and she has a lower voice; alto power! I just want to be like her. Harry Styles, because he's Harry Styles. And Lizzo. I think just because of all she does for inclusivity and positivity. I just love her vibe and her music.
SM: Are there any words of wisdom that you want to tell our audience at Shifter Mag or your audience in general?
PD: I think it goes back to like when I would say to my younger self, like it gets better. I know that everybody is going through a tough time right now because — obviously — the pandemic’s a terrible situation to be in. And a lot of people are experienced at that, experiencing that loss, whether it's a significant other or loved ones or like just losing out on their teenage years and things like that. But it will always get better. There's always a hard time and these hurdles that we have to go through in life, but you know, like I said on my TikTok, positivity is not pretending that everything is okay all the time. It's going through that hard stuff and knowing that eventually will be okay and it will be so everything will be alright.
In the meantime, catch Paravi Das’ exclusive performance for Shifter Fest Vol. III on our IGTV channel:
Parts of this interview have been condensed and edited for clarity.