On her first English language release, Subhi Khanna hopes to win over US audiences with her intimate, slowburn pop compositions. Her new EP, Define Me, finds the Indian-American artist shedding the Hindi folk sounds of her past, and embracing moody electronics to take her songs to new heights.
For the release, she teamed up with a cast of LA based producers, including Chris G Wright, SickFlip, Evan Cline, and Goldhouse, pushing out of her comfort zone and inviting new collaborators into her process.
The result is some of her most moving work to date, her powerful voice soaring above minimalistic electro-pop ballads that shape shift from hushed whispers into glorious revelations. The mood is set with the title track, ambient samples bubbling up around Subhi as she sings about building up her own courage to accept that the process of finding oneself is no easy road.
For years, she resisted releasing the songs she’d written in English, feeling internally torn about her identity, and where she belonged. She explains that the process of making the EP helped her to accept her multicultural identity, and to embrace it.
After moving to the States at 16 for college, Khanna got a job on Wall Street in investment banking, but felt deeply unhappy. An internship with Oscar-nominated filmmaker Mira Nair lit the spark for her, inspiring her to pursue a career as a singer-songwriter more seriously.
On Define Me, Subhi realizes these aspirations and more. Already a rising star back in India, the new release has her poised to find success in the US. Her more pop minded compositions have already risen to be her most popular on Spotify, and it’s not hard to imagine the Goldhouse remix of EP highlight In My Way being a staple on post-pandemic dance floors.
The stripped down moments songs like Wake Me Up and “Burn invoke comparisons to Adele, and the stark production and delicate vocal performances bring to mind breakout star Billie Eillish.
With such a versatile catalog behind her, it’s exciting to imagine where Subhi will go from here. One thing is for certain, she’s gifted us with one of the year’s most compelling debuts.