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20-year-old Indian-American Singer Shreya Kaul Shines Bright – Helping in Harvey Relief

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Shreya Kaul
Shreya Kaul

20-year-old singer Shreya Kaul is donating proceeds from her new album to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.

 

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — Shreya Kaul, a 20-year-old Indian-American musician from Houston has left college to pursue her lifelong dream of singing and performing.

Kaul says she got the idea for a song and began started humming it while taking a test. Her teacher came up to her, and told her she needed to be quiet or would be kicked out of the class. “I was like, If all I can think about while I’m taking a test is music, then that has to be a sign.” She decided to take a hiatus from school in Dec. 2016, just after starting her sophomore year at Texas A&M University.

“So much blood, sweat, and tears went into the creation of this project. I dropped out of school to pursue my passion, so to finally see my music out is such an emotional experience … Eddie [Feruson] not only are you a creative genius, but you are also an incredible mentor and friend. Thank you for working tirelessly to create and manifest my vision. Thank you for understanding and pushing me to my potential. Thank you for believing in me and never letting me give up,” Kaul said on her Instagram account (@ShrayBay) which has attracted over 100,000 followers.

Kaul worked with Ferguson for nearly a year, having narrowed 30 songs down to the six offerings that appear on her debut album, “Skin.” In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Kaul is donating all proceeds from the album  to the Houston Food Bank. The album is available on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play and Tidal.

Her music combines modern R&B and pop with traditional Indian elements. One song features a few lines in Spanish. Vocally, Kaul says she sometimes echoes Ariana Grande. But she says “there’s much more bite in the lyrics,” which are quite vivid, featuring profanity and addressing many issues not commonly heard in Indian music – with a range of topics including hard drug and marijuana use, relationship struggles with her traditional parents and extra-marital affairs.

She says this album is her coming of age story. “In the beginning, I was a little more hesitant. I wanted to stay clean and cute. But after awhile, I just kinda got suffocated. I had so much to say. In Asian and South Asian culture, I feel like it’s really taboo to talk about certain things, like sensuality, relationships, love. Growing up, I didn’t know anything about it. I never had anybody to tell me, ‘It’s OK to fall in love. It’s OK to have a heartbreak. It’s OK to start being confused about your body and loving your body.’ ”

Kaul grew up drawing inspiration from Indian stars Shreya Goshal, Sonu Nigam and Shaan, as well as American singers Beyoncé, Aretha Franklin and Etta James. She joined choir at Seven Lakes High School in Katy and performed at coffee shops, clubs, weddings and “anywhere she could get her hands on a mic.”

“I’ve always known. But I was too scared to do the weird thing,” Kaul says. “Ever since I was little, I would just dance and sing and pretend I was in movies. I’d act out scenes in my room in front of my mirror and pretend I was Angelina Jolie. I would do Bollywood dances in my room.”

“I’ve never heard another woman of (Indian descent) express these struggles, and I feel like if they had, my childhood and growing up would have been so much easier.

Born in India, the Houston resident immigrated  to the U.S. with her parents when she was six. According to articles, she was was scared of her parents’ reaction of pursuing her passion for singing, but her parents have responded with open arms.

Much of this report courtesy of the Houston Chronicle.

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Rishi Sunak joins PM race to replace Boris Johnson in U.K.

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LONDON (Diya TV) — British Indian Politician Rishi Sunak has officially joined the race to replace Boris Johnson as Prime Minister. If Sunak is elected, he would become the UK’s first Asian Prime Minister. 

Sunak, 42, started his career as a politician in 2015 as he became a member of Parliament after working for Goldman Sachs and 2 hedge funds up to that point. He officially became chancellor in February 2020. While serving the chancellor position, his response to the COVID-19 pandemic has received acclaim as he launched multiple emergency spending programs to combat the economic downfall while Britain was on lockdown. 

Sunak resigned from the Chancellor position recently due to the conflict between him and Johnson. Shortly after, he jumpstarted his campaign to be Britain’s Prime Minister and supplant Johnson. While has gotten support from Conservative lawmakers, his reputation did take a hit this year. 

During the pandemic, Sunak was caught and fined for breaking Britain’s lockdown rules which did not sit well with citizens. This could make a difference when it comes to voting for the new leader of the country. However, the general consensus is that Sunak should garner a lot of support from lawmakers and citizens alike as he looks to make history.

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Shinzo Abe dies after being shot at campaign speech in Nara

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Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has passed away at the age of 67 after being shot in an assassination attempt during a campaign speech in the city of Nara. The assassination took place at approximately 11:30 Japan Standard Time on July 8. Abe was reported to be in a state of “cardiopulmonary arrest” after the gunfire and he passed away due to his injuries. 

Abe was Japan’s longest-serving prime minister and throughout his time in office, he strived to improve the Japan-India relationship and he handily achieved this goal through improved security cooperation. Japan was also able to connect with and form bilateral links with the United States, Australia and India under his control. Abe’s initiative to make these strategic links ultimately deepened the respective relationships between the foreign countries for the long term. 

On the day he was fatally shot, Abe was making a speech on the behalf of a Democratic Party candidate as the upper house elections were quickly approaching. Abe was shot from behind him up to 3 times and he collapsed on the spot. He was transported to the local hospital but showed no vital signs. Thereafter, Abe passed away.

The shooter has been taken into custody, being caught in the act, and has been identified as Tetsuya Yamagami, a 41-year-old local of Nara. US Ambassador Rahm Emanuel released a statement on the shooting, stating the United States was “saddened and shocked.”

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Sharks make Mike Grier the first Black GM in NHL history

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SAN JOSE (Diya TV) — There is a changing of the guard in San Jose and one that has made NHL history.

The San Jose Sharks have formally announced Mike Grier as their new General Manager, making the 14-year NHL veteran the first African-American to hold such a position over the NHL’s lengthy history. After the resignation of former GM Doug Wilson and the relieving of previous head coach Bob Boughner and his coaching staff, wholesale changes were bound to happen. The franchise, still without a Stanley Cup, hopes to move in a new direction and regain the success they once had.

Grier is part of a family of sports executives as his father, Bobby, has worked as a director of scouting and player personnel with the NFL’s New England Patriots while his brother, Chris, is currently the GM of the Miami Dolphins. The new Sharks GM will follow in his family’s footsteps after playing professional hockey for more than a decade. 

As a member of the Edmonton Oilers, Washington Capitals, Buffalo Sabres and San Jose Sharks, Grier played a total of 1060 games across 14 years. After retiring in 2011, he sought out coaching roles with the Chicago Blackhawks, New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers, before ultimately getting the monumental callback from the San Jose Sharks which would change NHL history. 

One of the primary tasks for Grier as a GM will be finding a new head coach for a franchise in search of stability on the bench. From there, the rebuild will be strenuous with many current Sharks players getting older with the need to infuse younger talent. The Sharks will be picking at 11th overall in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, affording Grier the opportunity to select a potential franchise cornerstone.

After being sunk in no man’s land, the Sharks decided to make a large-scale change to create a new identity and reach the goal of lifting Lord Stanley for the first time.

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